What Is Al-Anon? Should I Recommend It to My Family?


Over 14.4 million adults suffer from alcohol use disorder each year. But they aren't the only ones who are suffering.

Family members and friends of those who have alcoholism also experience pain and suffering. There's Alcoholics Anonymous for alcoholics, but what is there for loved ones?

There's Al-Anon.

What Is Al-Anon?

Al-Anon is a fellowship group for those who are impacted by a family member or friend's drinking and behavior. 

Created in 1951, it was a way to consolidate the number of groups that existed for family support. It takes the same 12-step approach that Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, has, but modified for loved ones of alcoholics, and not the alcoholics themselves. 

Meetings are conveniently available across the whole world. They can take place online, on phone, or in person, so everyone can go. 

What Is Alcoholism?

Are you unsure whether your loved one is an alcoholic? While there isn't an exact formula for what makes someone an alcoholic, there are some common signs of alcoholism that you can look out for. 

Alcoholism is a disease that experienced by those who have alcohol use disorder. It can be a mild, moderate, or severe case.

Choosing to drink over other responsibilities, in secrecy, or making excuses to constantly drink are symptoms of alcoholism. As are mood swings, unreasonable irritability, blackouts, and short term memory loss. 

You may also notice a change in physical appearance as well as behavior changes when drinking versus not drinking. 

Why Should You Be Concerned?

Alcohol use disorder has a negative impact on various components of life, including behavior and health. 

Alcohol negatively affects your brain, liver, heart, pancreas, and puts you at higher risk of cancer. 

Who Should Go?

All of those who are affected by alcoholism are welcome at Al-Anon meetings.

Whether you have a parent, a child, a sibling, friend, cousin, grandparent, or other loved one, whatever your relation, you are welcome.  

Not all of those who go to Al-Anon have a loved one in their life who is seeking treatment, some go before their family member or friend seeks help. They may want to know how to live day to day with an alcoholic, or how to get them to seek help. Family members of recovering alcoholics are also welcome.  

What to Expect at a Meeting

Each meeting is different but follows a similar flow and all aim to offer support.

The meeting you attend may be held at a religious facility, but don't worry, there is no affiliation with religion in Al-Anon. 

You can expect a reading from the 12-step program at the beginning. During the meeting, you can sit back and listen to other people's stories, or you may speak your own. Your anonymity is protected. 

Are You Ready For Your First Meeting?

Do you think an Al-Anon support group is for you? 

Help support the alcoholic or recovering alcoholic in your life, but most of all help yourself receive support from others in the group. 

The Token Shop is here for all of your Al-Anon and AA needs, like tokens, pamphlets, and books.