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What Happens at an Al-Anon Meeting?

Millions of people either struggle with an unhealthy relationship with alcohol or have a relationship with someone who does. Alcohol addiction is a serious condition that can cause serious damage to a person’s health, safety, and community. It also directly impacts the well-being of friends, family, and loved ones.

If you love someone who struggles with addiction, you likely need support, yourself. Al-Anon meetings are a popular and reliable way for people who love someone with an addiction to get the support they need. But what exactly happens at Al-Anon meetings?

You may have an idea of what happens at Al-Anon meetings from TV or movies. It’s likely that you don’t have the full picture of what happens and who attends these meetings. Here’s what you can expect.

What is Al-Anon?

Al-Anon is a 12-Step fellowship that was developed from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) but is dedicated to helping people who are affected by someone else’s addiction. Al-Anon meetings use a 12-step approach that is supported by AA. It is a non-profit organization that has chapters in every state and many countries around the world. Al-Anon meetings are available every single day, including holidays, in thousands of cities and towns.

You do not have to pre-register to attend Al-Anon meetings, and attending is completely free. Your attendance and the information you share will be kept strictly confidential.

During Al-Anon meetings, the group leader often opens and closes a meeting with a reflection or something to focus on. People are invited to share their stories about loving an addict and give support to others by listening to their struggles. They may talk openly about their own experience dealing with a loved one struggling with addiction or share their experience loving someone in recovery. This non-judgmental space allows people to tell their stories and unburden themselves without fear of shame.

Who Can Attend Al-Anon Meetings?

Al-Anon meetings are open to anyone who has been affected by alcohol abuse. Many people who live with an alcoholic or have been harmed by someone else’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol attend Al-Anon meetings to get the support they need.

Anyone affected by alcohol abuse or alcoholism is allowed to attend a meeting. Al-Anon meetings provide valuable support and education for mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, and friends of alcoholics and addicts. Family and friends can benefit from getting free, reliable, regular support and education whether or not the person with addiction chooses to attend 12-Step meetings.

Is Attending Al-Anon Meetings Helpful?

Attending Al-Anon meetings can be a good way to cope with your loved one’s drinking habits and improve your quality of life. People who attend meetings find benefits in the therapeutic effects of peer support and having a safe space to talk about their loved one’s addiction and recovery. The meetings allow people a regular, reliable source of support so they can better learn how to support their alcoholic loved ones.

One of the best parts of Al-Anon meetings is how accessible they are. If you are traveling or move to a new city, you can find an Al-Anon meeting. You can attend as many as you want without cost or obligation.

What Happens During an Al-Anon Meeting?

Al-Anon meetings follow the same format as AA meetings do. They usually last 1-1.5 hours in total and include several different aspects.

Opening the meeting: Al-Anon meetings are opened with the 12-Step prayer. The leader of the meeting may also read an excerpt from Al-Anon literature. Any new members are encouraged to introduce themselves and the meeting leader will explain the format of the meeting.

Discussion or speaker: The majority of the meeting is dedicated to either a topic discussion or a speaker. Topic discussion meetings involve all willing participants. Individuals can share their thoughts, experiences, or struggles regarding the topic at hand. Speaker meetings, on the other hand, involve 1-2 speakers who share their experiences dealing with a loved one’s alcoholism. Speaker meetings often reserve 5-10 minutes at the end of the meeting for sharing and discussion from the audience.

Closing the meeting: Al-Anon meetings come to a close with a group prayer of the meeting leader’s choosing. Many people like to connect with other meeting participants one-on-one after the meeting is over.

No two Al-Anon meetings are exactly the same, and each meeting may follow a slightly different format. Regardless, it’s important to keep an open mind so you can reap all the benefits of these meetings.

Find Help Today

If you or someone you care about needs addiction treatment or support during recovery from addiction, please know that you are not alone. At the Mandala Healing Center, we believe that anyone can recover from a substance use disorder if they have the right support and care.

We offer a range of programs that have been carefully designed to support whole-self healing from addiction. If you are curious about attending Al-Anon meetings, require residential or outpatient addiction treatment, or are unsure of where to begin on your healing journey, reach out to the Mandala Healing Center staff for more information.

Don’t wait another day for the treatment you need. Call now.