What You Need to Know About Al-Anon

Established in 1951, Al-Anon is a well-known organization based off of the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous. The major difference between the two non-profit services is that Al-Anon aims to help family members and friends of those struggling with alcoholism. Here are some facts about what Al-Anon does, who they help and why so many people find the organization helpful.

Al-Anon Helps Family and Friends

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While Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are for alcoholics, Al-Anon meetings are for friends and family of an alcoholic or heavy drinker. During meetings, Al-Anon members share experiences and support in order to help each other solve their problems.

Al-Anon Has a Special Group Just for Teens

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Alateen is very similar to Al-Anon, but it’s specifically designed for preteens and teenagers who are affected by a family member or friend’s drinking. Adult members of Al-Anon act as Alateen Group Sponsors and help teens stay focused in the program.

Al-Anon is Not Associated With Any Religion, Institution or Political Party

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Although spirituality plays an important role in the Al-Anon literature, Al-Anon is not associated with any sort of institution, religion or political belief. Instead, Al-Anon encourages their members to find their own method of spiritual growth that works for their personal beliefs.

Al-Anon Has Three Legacies

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The Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions and the Twelve Concepts of Service are Al-Anon’s three legacies. The Twelve Steps are adapted from the famous Alcoholics Anonymous’ Twelve Steps while the Twelve Traditions summarize those principles that help Al-Anon groups function effectively within the main organization. The Twelve Concepts of Service outline the principles followed by the overarching Al-Anon service.

Al-Anon Views Alcoholism as a Family Disease

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There are many different theories when it comes to alcoholism, including whether or not it should be considered an illness. However, the official Al-Anon stance is that alcoholism is a family disease and that changed attitudes can assist in recovery.

There Are Over 24,000 Al-Anon Groups

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Al-Anon is a truly global organization. There are over 24,000 Al-Anon groups and nearly 1,800 Alateen groups in 131 countries. All of these groups are funded by private donations as Al-Anon doesn’t charge membership dues or take any money from outside funds, grants or donations.

Al-Anon is Based on Anonymity

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Al-Anon and Alateen are all anonymous organizations that protect the identity of their members. The confidentiality of Al-Anon allows participants to feel safe enough to open up about the problems they struggle with.

Most Members Find Al-Anon Very Helpful

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2015 survey conducted by Al-Anon found that 76% of Al-Anon members reported a significant improvement in their mental health and well-being due to Al-Anon.

Al-Anon and Alateen Has Members from Many Different Backgrounds

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According to Al-Anon’s survey, approximately 87% of members are from the U.S., Bermuda and Puerto Rico while 13% are from Canada. For American members, 93% are white, 83% are female, and 61% are married. Among the parents, 12% have children under the age of 18 living with them while 15% have children over the age of 18 who live at home.

Feature Photo: Cristina Cerda