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What Is Al-Anon?

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You can find a bunch of different kinds of meetings on Pink Cloud. But recovery isn’t just for people who have issues with alcohol and drugs. There are also recovery meetings for the people who are affected by those people. This is the Alanon fellowship.

To give you a little history of Alanon: Alanon was started by Lois Wilson who was the wife of Bill Wilson. Bill Wilson was the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Lois realized that she had been affected in many ways both by Bill’s drinking and Bill’s sobriety and needed support on her own.

Alanon is a fellowship for families of Alcoholics. Living with an alcoholic is hard. In most cases, it’s too hard for any one person to handle on their own. So groups of people affected by someone else’s drinking convene regularly to help support one another.

In Alanon, one of the main tenets of the program is to keep the focus on ourselves. Alanon meetings are not a place to come and gossip or complain about the alcoholic in our lives. It is a place that we come to regain our own serenity and sense of well being. We keep the focus on ourselves and talk about ways to practice our own self-care.

Alanon is a twelve step program just like AA. The steps are, by and large, the same as those in AA. Step One even still talks about being powerless over alcohol.

You might be wondering if Alanon is for you. Here are some examples or reasons that some of our members have sought out the fellowship.

Is someone’s drinking in your life having a negative impact on your life? Do you live with an alcoholic whose drinking is out of control?

Many people enter Alanon in crisis mode. The house is being foreclosed on. Someone just lost their job. The police have been over to the house one more time. And others just know that something is wrong and out of control in other ways. Check in with yourself and your feelings around the drinking of someone close to you. You’ll know if you should check out a meeting.

Are you single but still feel like the effects of living or growing up with an alcoholic has a hold over your life?

Many of us no longer live or are involved with the alcoholic in our lives. However, the residue of the relationship and our own behavior in it can have a lasting effect on us. For most, simply leaving does not undo the hurt or change the patterns. We need the support of a fellowship to process these emotions and amend our behavior.

Do you attempt to find ways to control the drinking of the alcoholic in your life?

People living with active alcoholism often feel like if they could control the other person’s drinking then they would be okay. They’ll count drinks, empty out bottles, use breathalyzers. These attempts are, for the most part, in vain. The only person who can stop an alcoholic from drinking is that alcoholic. In Alanon, we keep the focus on ourselves.

Do you feel like if you could just get everyone in your life to act as you’d like them to act, that then you would be okay?

A common side effect of feeling out of control with one person is to attempt to control other people. This is exhausting and nobody likes it. Alanon can help.

Is your significant other sober now but you still feel like your life is unmanageable?

Your partner or loved one might be in recovery now but you feel like you still feel the same. Or maybe some of their behavior is just dressed up in a different costume now. Just because someone gets sober doesn’t mean that you no longer need support.

This is not an exhaustive list. And many people have attended the fellowship for other reasons. If you feel like someone’s drinking or sobriety has affected you in any way, we encourage you to check out an Alanon meeting. It is recommended that you attend six meetings before deciding if the fellowship is for you. That way you can get a real sense of the program.