- Mental Health
How Alanon Can Help You Change Your Life
Alanon Helps Us Take Care of Ourselves, Whether the Alcoholic Continues to Drink or Not
What Is Alanon?
Until the day my husband joined Alcoholics Anonymous, I had never heard of Alanon, and had no idea that there was an organization designed to help those of us who love an alcoholic. Started by Lois Wilson, the wife Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson, Alanon has changed the lives of tens of thousands of spouses, parents, adult children and friends of alcoholics. Alanon is not a division of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a completely unique and separate organization. However, they do have some aspects which are the same, and they are designed to complement each other. In what ways are they similar, how are they different, and how can Alanon help you?
How Alanon is Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous
Just like Alcoholics Anonymous, Alanon is also a 12 Step Program. Members use the same 12 steps as the alcoholics, with one small change. In the 12th step of AA, members are asked to share their program with “other alcoholics.” In Alanon, the words “other alcoholics” are changed simply to one word, “others.”
Another similarity between the two groups is when and where they meet. For the convenience of couples, AA meetings and Alanon meetings are sometimes held at the same time, and in near proximity. However, they are not limited to meeting in conjunction with each other. Frequently, meetings of both groups are also held completely separately. When possible, Alanon members are also encouraged to go to open AA meetings, which help them come to understand more about the problem of alcoholism.
Another similarity between the two organizations is that both members of AA and members of Alanon are trying to recover from an addiction. In AA, the addiction is to alcohol. In Alanon, the addiction is more subtle. Alanon members are often said to be addicted to alcoholics! In other cases, they seem to be addicted to “fixing” other people, whether those people have a problem with alcohol or not.
However each individual Alanon member views his or her addiction, they have to learn to accept the fact that they are not able to control other people. Indeed, it is their effort to control others which is frequently causing them so much misery and unhappiness. Just as the alcoholic has an addiction they need to kick, so does the member of Alanon.
Alanon teaches us that we did not cause the alcoholism or addiction, we can't control it, and we can't cure it. We can only work to improve the quality of our own lives and let the alcoholic or addict learn how to deal with the consequences of their own decisions.
Learn More About Alanon's 12 Step Program
Every member of Alanon will want to have this book. It will help you to understand the 12 Steps and how they apply to members of Al-anon as much as they do to members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Order the book online and you will have the opportunity to learn more about this program in the privacy of your own home.
How Alanon is Different from Alcoholics Anonymous
As mentioned above, the most obvious difference between Alanon and Alcoholics Anonymous is that the members of Alanon are not trying to recover from an addiction to alcohol but, rather, an addiction to the alcoholics. However, there are also other differences.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, the members often discuss their past experiences with alcohol, and the personal, physical and emotional problems that have resulted. In Alanon, the newcomer wants to discuss someone else’s experiences with alcohol, and the resulting problems! However, gradually the Alanon newcomer will learn that the program is not really about the alcoholic. It is about finding a better way for them to live a life that is separate from the turmoil caused by someone else’s drinking! Alanon members learn to stop talking about how to fix the alcoholic, and begin to talk about how they can improve their own life.
This approach is not always what the Alanon member expects. How does Alanon help someone who is worried about the drinking behavior of someone else? Very gradually they are taught that they cannot fix anyone else, no matter how much they worry. Instead, the only people they can change are themselves. Eventually, they learn that they can still lead a happy, productive life, whether the alcoholic is still drinking, or not. This realization can be startling to anyone who has come to feel that they will be miserable for the rest of their lives, unless someone else changes!
Can You Be Helped by Alanon?
If you love an alcoholic, whether you live with them or not, you may find great comfort in finding a group of caring people who are also going through many of the same experiences that have troubled you. Being able to share your experience with someone else can be a healthy step towards a new way of life.
Even if you believe that no one has experienced as much pain, or been through as much turmoil, you will soon discover that there are others who will understand what you are going through. They will also be there to help guide you in finding ways to enjoy real happiness and satisfaction in your life, once again.
This Book Has Helped Thousands of People with Troubled Marriages Due to Alcoholism and Addiction
If the alcoholic or addict you love happens to be your spouse, you will find this book to be very eye-opening. I read it several times when I first came into Al-anon and I have recommended it to many other people.
How to Find Alanon Meetings in Your Area
If you are considering joining Alanon, nearly every city and major county in the United States has a central office. Look in the phone book, or online, for Alanon Family Groups in your area. They will be able to help you find a meeting at a time and place that is convenient for you. In many places, you will be surprised to learn that there are dozens of meetings going on each week. In some smaller areas, there may only be one or two meetings a week. In either case, going to a meeting is the first step in getting your life back on track. If you keep going, you may be amazed at how much better you will feel!