Addiction is a family disease, meaning that it is not only the afflicted who suffers, but everyone that he or she interacts with on a daily basis. In most cases this means the immediate family members of the alcoholic or addict — the bystanders that want nothing more than to help — are the ones that undergo the brunt of the emotional and psychological trauma that addiction causes. If you have a loved one who has been suffering from addiction and you feel as if you have nowhere left to turn, attending an Al-Anon meeting is a great idea. This is a widely accessible and completely free resource, open to anyone who cares about someone that is struggling with addiction.
The History of Al-Anon
According to the official Al-Anon website, the first “Al-Anon” meetings took place when the wives of alcoholics met together while their husbands were gathered for Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill W., one of the founders of AA, was married to a woman named Lois. Lois facilitated these meetings. The wives would gather and relate to one another, offering one another peer support and sharing their own personal experience, strength and hope.
“As early as 1939, families and friends of alcoholics attended AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings with the alcoholic,” the Al-Anon site reads. “As families shared with each other, they discovered the benefits of living by AA’s 12 Steps, and how this improved their relationships, which often remained difficult, even after the alcoholic became sober. Eventually, the relatives and friends began meeting on their own.”
No Al-Anon is a vital resource for individuals to learn to take care of themselves, transform their own unhealthy behaviors and find community with others who are struggling with similar situations.