It doesn’t take much to realize that a person with substance abuse problems is struggling with and fighting serious demons. This is especially true if the person is trying his best to put an end to his addiction. From cravings and urges to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, it makes it hard to watch let alone be there for the person.
Regardless, our love for the friend or family member that is addicted makes us stay. It urges us to hold on to hope, that maybe one day, he will be free of his struggles. Being a constant support and encouragement to an individual addicted to a substance can be hard. If the person keeps throwing it back in your face and taking you for granted makes it even harder.
What about those that have to live with this person? From constantly living in fear of what might happen next to constant emotional stress, it can be difficult. They often have put up with constant abuses, dwindling finances and stress.
If you fit the above description, have you ever considered joining an Al-Anon Fellowship Group? Where people with substance abuse issues have their self-help groups and treatments, so do those that have to live with them. Families and friends can also deal with the physical, mental and emotional stress caused by their loved one.
That is through joining Al-Anon.
If you’d like to join, below are a few answers to crucial questions that you should know.
What Is Al-Anon?
Al-Anon is specifically a self-help and self-funding group. It is catered towards helping those living or have experienced life with a person with substance abuse issues.
The addicted loved one could be a friend or a loved one; regardless, their presence in your life can be strenuous. Their impact tends to take a toll on one’s overall wellbeing, and hence, leak into your daily life. Feelings of anxiety, stress, fear and even depression can lower the quality of your life considerably.
Al-Anon seeks to help you recover from the impact. Through the stories and encouragements of others in the group, your journey to recovery is certain. Of course, having others that have or going through the same experience helps to dispel any hopelessness and despair.
What Is Its Purpose?
This treatment program, also referred to as Al-Anon Family, is a part of the Alateen program. Alateen operates on the same principle: to help those living with a family member that suffers from alcoholism. Notably, Alateen, in particular, is specific to teenagers and young adults.
Both fellowship groups have one main purpose: to create a safe place and foster a spirit of trust and reliability. This safe place brings together a group of people sharing a common problem, seeking a solution and encouragement. In the spirit of trust, they are encouraged to share their experiences and offer to advise where possible.
If you’re afraid of judgement or confrontation, don’t be. Equality, respect, anonymity and privacy are the principles that govern such self-help groups. Any type of behavior that contradicts the aforementioned principles are not encouraged or condoned.
Who Is It For?
Are you constantly worried about an addicted family member? Has your social life been affected by their behavior? Are you ridden with guilt and embarrassment from their behavior? Then Al-Anon is something you should consider.
It doesn’t matter if your loved one is seeking treatment or not, you are welcome to join Al-Anon. Don’t wait until the behavior of your loved one has driven you off the edge to join. Regardless of what you’re feeling or going through, you are valuable. Seeking help is often the first step to learning how to cope with everything that is going on.
If you are still unsure, below are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Have you found yourself lying to cover up the actions of your addicted friend or family member?
- Do you constantly live in fear of what might happen next? Of what your friend or loved one might do next?
- Have the drinking problems of the loved one caused you to shrink from the public eye?
- Do you constantly have to sacrifice your time to help your help out of a problem they created?
If you’ve answered yes to the above questions, then you should consider joining the treatment program.
How Does it Work?
The meetings are very structured and organized since they operate under a set of guidelines. Hence, before joining one, you need to learn their timetable so as not to miss attending one. They usually have an opening session, where new members are welcomed and everyone introduces themselves.
Of course, they will be someone presiding over the meetings to ensure that it runs smoothly. After the new members have been briefed on the goings-on, the meetings proceed to the next section. This is where the members can now share their stories and offer advice before the meeting is closed.
Is Al-Anon Religious?
No, the program is not religious. It does, however, encourage spirituality regardless of one’s religious beliefs or lack thereof. Its inclusive nature helps foster comfort, a sense of belonging and acceptance.
How Can One Join?
In a bid to help as many as possible, these meetings are widely accessible. By easily searching one online, you can contact a group and find out their location. Be sure to find out what time the meetings are held as well.
Of course, if you are limited for time and cannot travel from one place to another, there are other options. Apart from trying to find one closer to home, you can join one and participate through an online platform. You can also have one over a simple phone call.
Whatever your needs, the groups and meetings are versatile to accommodate everyone.
Is Participation Mandatory?
It is not a must to participate during the meetings even though it is encouraged. Talking and sharing creates the opportunity to receive help and advice from others. It also helps the other members of the group get to know you better.
The group is made up of a few members, usually a maximum of twenty members. The smaller the group, the more people are comfortable to share and talk.