Are There 12-Step Programs for Families of People in Recovery?
Many recovery programs focus on the individual dealing with addiction and recovery, and understandably so. However, this leaves out family members and spouses who also need help dealing with this difficult time.
Fortunately, there are 12-step programs available for families with recovering loved ones. Here’s a list of a few of the most helpful programs.
Al-Anon Family Groups and Alateen
Al-Anon is like AA for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. The group includes family members, romantic partners, friends, and even coworkers. Alateen is a part of Al-Anon Family Groups and caters specifically to younger friends and family members.
The purpose of these 12-step programs is to provide a structured path to recovery for loved ones, like what AA provides for alcoholics. Take note; these aren’t programs where you’re encouraged to bring your recovering loved one with you. This is about you, and your own life.
As Al-Anon states on their website:
“Alcoholism is a family disease. The disease affects all those who have a relationship with a problem drinker. Those of us closest to the alcoholic suffer the most, and those who care the most can easily get caught up in the behavior of another person. We react to the alcoholic’s behavior. We focus on them, what they do, where they are, how much they drink. We try to control their drinking for them. We take on the blame, guilt, and shame that belong to the drinker. We can become as addicted to the alcoholic, as the alcoholic is to alcohol. We, too, can become ill.”
Al-Anon and Alateen meetings are free to attend. There are plenty of chapters throughout the country so that you can find one near you.
Nar-Anon Family Groups
Nar-Anon is to NA what Al-Anon is to AA. It’s a support group for family members and loved ones of people struggling with drug addiction. Like AA and Al-Anon, this 12-step program encourages participants to embrace a spiritual way of life-based on organizational traditions.
As Nar-Anon states on their website:
“With the understanding that addiction is a disease and the realization that we are powerless over it, as well as over other people’s lives, we are ready to do something useful and constructive with our own. Then, and only then, can we be of any help to others.”
Though donations are accepted, participation is free. There are numerous autonomous Nar-Anon groups, so you should be able to find one near you easily.
Families Anonymous is a 12-step program that covers alcohol, drugs, and related issues. Like most 12-step programs, Families Anonymous holds meetings centered on the twelve steps and twelve traditions pioneered by AA.
As they state on their website:
“Our focus in FA is on changing ourselves, not others; on changing our words, feelings, attitudes, actions, and reactions. When we change ourselves, serenity can enter our lives in spite of unsolved problems. Often the changes we make in ourselves provide opportunities for our addicted loved ones also to choose recovery for themselves.”
They welcome anyone concerned about a loved one who was, is, or is suspected of being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Membership does not require any dues, fees, or other obligation.