What to Expect at an Al-anon Meeting: Support Groups for Family Members

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

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So you have most likely heard of AA. Alcoholics Anonymous is famous for its 12-step program and the distinct ability to help people with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) find lasting recovery. Especially when it is combined with professional help, it’s a powerful program that leads many to successful addiction management.

However, there is another group of people deeply affected by AUD: friends and family members. Often people who live in close proximity to, or care a great deal about, a person with an alcohol addiction have experienced a certain amount of trauma of their own. If you have a loved one or family member in your life who is an alcoholic (recovering or not), Al-anon is for you.

Al-anon is a support group for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. (There are also groups of this sort specifically for teenagers and for drug addiction: Nar-anon.)

Why Is Support for Family Members Needed?

Addiction is a family problem. Like many diseases, this disorder affects more than just the person with the addiction. The difficult part about how addiction affects the family is that it is devastating. The destruction that swirls around alcoholism, the lies told, promises broken, even the violence and emotional manipulation that might occur—these are extremely damaging side effects of a disease. This is why friends and family of people with an addiction need an outlet for support and encouragement.


Al-anon offers individuals who have been ravaged by someone else’s behaviors a place to share. Venting is definitely part of it. But more important, in sharing stories and connecting on common grounds, the collective experience builds each individual and gives them strength to continue on. 

Beyond that, there is an educational aspect. Most addicts have people in their lives who enable their addiction. Usually, it is not intentional. In fact, it mostly comes from a desire to help. But the fact remains, often the actions of family members and friends help entrench an alcoholic in their unhealthy habits and patterns. Al-anon is one of the best places to gain the knowledge and insight on how to interact with a loved one in a way that is caring but also helps move them toward recovery. This means family members become part of the solution instead of the problem.

As well, this is a place to offer support to others and find a little encouragement for yourself. Possibly the most encouraging part of Al-anon is the knowledge that you are not alone AND recovery is possible!

What to Expect at Al-anon

If you decide to attend a group, you will find that there is no pressure. Feel free to test the waters for a bit. You are not required to participate. You can simply sit and listen to the insight and stories of others if that is what you want to do. If you choose to participate, you can rest assured that the meetings are confidential (or anonymous). It is a place where you can meet with others who understand and find support from those who truly understand.

How to Find: use this link to find an Al-anon meeting near you.

Does Your Loved One Need Help?

Are you concerned about a loved one who might need help with an alcohol or drug addiction? Please contact one of our addiction specialists today. At SoCal Detox, we are a drug and alcohol detox in Orange County, California, and are here to help your loved one take the crucial first step in addiction treatment. We offer full detox services and individualized guidance for every resident in their journey to lasting recovery. Call us today: tel:888-590-0777.

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