Let’s start from the beginning- Finding support for families of alcoholics can be challenging for someone who is new to this. Al-anon meetings and online Al-anon, contrary to popular belief, is not directly affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous. They have similarities in the way they operate, however they are different organizations.
Both organizations provide education about addiction and social support surrounding the difficulties that accompany having someone in your life struggling with addiction.
To attend an Al-anon meeting, the only requirement is that you are a person worried about someone in your life who has a drinking problem. This can be a partner, a parent, a sibling, extended family members, your children or a close friend.
Attending your first Al-anon meeting can be quite nerve racking, as many new experiences can be. Find a meeting in an area that is familiar to you as this may bring you some comfort knowing your surroundings.
Al-anon meetings can be an informative place for individuals who don’t know too much about alcohol addiction and what recovery can look like. Meetings can be a place where you learn about common behaviors among individuals who struggle with addiction such as tumultuous relationships, lying, and being focused on their next drink.
What to Expect With Alanon Online Meetings
An Al-anon meetings have one main goal– to help the friends and families of alcoholics cope with the alcoholic. A second goal is to provide education about Alcoholism so that everyone is more knowledgeable about common behaviors and difficulties among Alcoholics. Knowledge is power when it comes to addiction.
Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, it is recommended that main meetings a person attends are the in person meetings. While online meetings are available, it is strongly recommend that the Al-Anon meeting online not be used to replace old-fashioned meetings due to the loss of the face-to-face interaction and support available there.
However, the Al-anon organization does acknowledge that there are those who either don't have ready access to a group, have a disability or lack of child care that prevents them from getting to in person meetings.
Another barrier to attending meetings in person could be conflict with work and the available groups. Different individuals have different needs, so having several ways to access Alanon groups is a positive aspect of the organization.
If participating in an online meeting, we can be easily distracted by what’s going on around us and lose focus of the meeting and its message. We also lose out on the opportunity to engage in social connections and a deeper helping relationship.
In recent years, there has been a significant growth in the availability of Al-anon meetings available online and with other platforms. In the past, it was challenging to search and find a meeting so this is a positive development.
To look for as Al-anon meeting online, you can visit al-anon-meetings online. You will find a list of meetings available to you
Finding an Al-anon Meeting Near You
To get started, you can google An-anon meetings, or simply go to Al-anon meetings. Once there, you will see several options to choose from; Al-anon meetings, Alateen meetings, Electronic meetings and a directory of World Wide Al-anon connections.
One thing to note is that Alateen meetings are specifically for teens who have parents, guardians or other adults in their life that struggle with an alcohol addiction.
When looking for a local meeting, you should be able to choose the day of the week that you would like to attend a meeting, or filter by the time that you are available. There is even the option to look for meetings that are in languages other than English.
The hope is that this is a fairly simple search for you. Local meetings offered can vary as a result of traveling restrictions and group limitations for health and safety concerns.
The Online Al-Anon Outreach (OLA) website is where you can find links to the official Al-Anon meetings on the web. In the past, an official Alanon meeting online is done mainly in text chat format with a java script powering the Alanon chat rooms.
More recently, platforms available for meetings include:
This advancement has made utilizing electronic meetings simpler and more accessible to individuals who would like to participate. Email groups tend to provide more consistent support compared to a meeting, so this is a slightly different experience than the other options.
There are several groups available through online platforms, some of which offer support 24 hours a day 7 days a week. With this availability, it is difficult to think of a reason why someone would not be able to participate in Alanon if they wanted to.
When searching for a meetings, have an idea of what kind of support or characteristics of a group you would like. As we experience in everyday life, different personalities react differently to situations. What are some characteristics of a person whom you feel comfortable opening up to and talking to?
Be mindful of what groups you feel comfortable in and continue attending them. Talking and sharing in these groups are recommended as it is in AA meetings. It allows you to say you thoughts out load as well as receive feedback on them. You may feel validated for your thoughts and feelings regarding your loved one.
Unofficial Alanon Meetings
A simple google search will likely provide you with a list of other online meetings that are not affiliated with Al-anon. These meetings function in a similar format as Alanon, however are not included in the same organization. Exercise caution if you choose to take this route. This can be for both in person and online meetings.
You should be able to find an Al-Anon meeting online that uses video conferencing so that there is a more realistic atmosphere to the meeting. Other options will utilize similar online platforms as the official Alanon meetings.
While the meetings listed on OLA will follow the usual protocols of an offline meeting, the unofficial Al-Anon meeting online may not which is important to be aware of when participating in them.
Your best bet would be to try several different meetings, in several different formats, until you figure out which one is most comfortable for you to participate in.
Finding meetings, both in person and online, could help you cope with the alcoholic in your life more easily as you'll be able to get support almost around the clock on the internet. Taking care of yourself is just as important as your loved one taking care of themselves. There are similarities among the family and friends of alcoholics because there are common characteristics and behaviors associated with Alcoholism
There are some who, for their own reasons, like to cause problems during Al-anon meetings. This tends to be more common in online meetings where a person is behind their own computer compared to in the room with others. They may be hostile and insult participants during the meeting. This type of act is called 'flaming' in web-speak.
If this happens during a meeting you have joined, then it is up to the moderator of the meeting to sort out the 'flamer'. There is no need for you to intervene.
Dealing with an alcoholic, then opening up about your struggles in a group with strangers is a challenge in its own. Having some someone making light of such issues is quite inappropriate and not worth your trouble.
If you feel that this experience was not handled correctly, the good news is that there are plenty of meetings available to you. Choose a different meeting and keep trying until you find a batch that you like participating in.
Loving an alcoholic is one of the most painful things you will ever have to cope with. Yet, it doesn't need to be, C.P.Lehman in his book, Help Me! I'm In Love With An Addict gives you the strategies that will enable you to find happiness and get your life back on track...as well as other skills that are crucial when attempting to cope with an alcohol dependent
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