Should I Attend An Al-Anon Meeting?
Substance use disorder is a disorder that affects not only the patient but also their families. It has such a devastating effect on families because of the change that substance use disorder creates in the life of the person battling with it. It makes people alienate themselves, causes hardships, and can even break families up at times. This can be an incredibly traumatic experience for families, and even more traumatic for any children involved. While Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are a wonderful way to help individuals struggling with substance abuse, they have also developed a program for family members struggling to support them, Al-Anon. This is a safe space where substance users and their support systems can get help.
Benefits of Family Members Attending Al-Anon Meetings
Al-Anon meetings are extremely beneficial for helping both users and family members process the struggles that come with drinking. Studies show that when people go to Al-Anon consistently for six months or more, they are more likely to see growth within their personal lives, they are happier, able to cope with more drinking-related problems and experience fewer negative symptoms. Al-Anon is very helpful in upgrading the overall quality of life of people with substance use disorders by helping their social circle. It is a great support tool, and you should not feel like it has to be the holy grail for you, but it can be something that you use as supplemental support. It can be the basis of your treatment or however else it makes sense for you to utilize it. Everyone’s treatment is different, so you should use that to your benefit when approaching Al-Anon meetings.
Loved ones of substance users could also benefit tremendously from Al-Anon. Studies show that when family members join and consistently go to Al-Anon meetings they find they can cope with problems that arise from substance use disorders, increase their overall well-being, and build a better relationship with their family members struggling with substance use disorder. Al-Anon does require patience, consistency, and vulnerability, and those can sometimes be a lot to give. However, if users and their loved ones can dedicate at least six months to Al-Anon and be open and honest, they will gain a lot from the experience and even gain a healthier relationship.
What to Expect From an Al-Anon Meeting
Attending your first Al-Anon meeting can be nerve-wracking at first, but it is nothing to be nervous about. People at Al-Anon meetings are typically very friendly, they don’t pressure you to engage, and they don’t pressure you to stay. The format of an Al-Anon meeting is typically very open, you can come in and leave whenever you please, you are given literature, and even given the ability to stay after a meeting to socialize. There is usually a topic of the week, and all topics are focused on ways to help people heal and cope with the effects of substance use disorder. The topics that are discussed can include, but are not limited to:
- How to set boundaries
- How to process feelings about addiction
- How to process anger and resentment
- Shift your mindset from self-victimization
Al-Anon meetings and all other things involved with treatment can feel overwhelming in the beginning. However, people within the Al-Anon community are happy to help you navigate this new terrain. Gaining friends and mentors in these programs helps both the patient and their families to heal themselves from the effects of substance use disorder.
Al-Anon Meetings: Extra Support
Al-Anon meetings are very useful for family members and users. They offer a much-needed release from the heavyweight of substance use disorder. This disorder can take a huge toll on families, so everyone affected must find ways to care for themselves. Al-Anon meetings may help. If you are affected by substance use disorder in any way and are experiencing the following, you should consider Al-Anon meetings:
- Inability to cope with problems that arise from substance use disorder
- Strained relationships between loved ones and users
- Low self-esteem
- Inability to set healthy boundaries with loved ones, this includes users and loved ones supporting them
- Any form of abuse stemming from problems around substance use
Support is extremely important for substance users, but the people that support them also need support. Helping a family member with a substance use disorder is a thankless job that is very complicated to understand unless you have been through it. That is why it is very helpful to create a community with people that have been through similar situations.
It’s okay to feel you are not the perfect support system — it is not easy to support someone through a substance use disorder. Sometimes people are not able to be their best selves, and sometimes even after treatment, users need a little more help as they start to delve deeper into sobriety in their day-to-day life. If this is the case, then you and your loved ones may benefit from the support of Al-Anon meetings. Mountain Peak Recovery can help you and your loved ones connect with the necessary resources. Substance use disorder can be extremely hard for individuals and families to combat alone. It can feel even harder when you are struggling to cope with all the effects of substance use disorder. Located in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains of Utah, Mountain Peak Recovery is the perfect place to retreat to reconnect to your light. If you or someone you love is dealing with a substance abuse issue call, (801) 824-8829.