Al-Anon is for people who know someone addicted to alcohol. Nar-Anon is for people who know someone addicted to drugs. These meetings are not for someone who has substance use issues. That would be Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are support groups that are vital to the recovery process. Not just for the person who is dealing with addiction issues, but their family and loved ones.
Al‑Anon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. Moreover, by sharing common experiences and applying the Al-Anon principles, families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations, whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help. The goal of Al-Anon is to help each member find positive solutions for change, even if their loved one refuses to seek help. As with AA, membership is free.
Nar-Anon was established in 1968 by Robert Stewart Goodrich and offered a 12-step program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s narcotic addiction. Like Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous, it is separate from Narcotics Anonymous but operates with them in mind to match their goals. Misusing a drug affects decision-making, impulsivity, nutrition, and sleep and puts people at risk for trauma, violence, and injury. However, drug use does not only impact the individual. The friends and families of drug users are deeply impacted as well.
What is Alateen?
Alateen, a part of the Al-Anon Family Groups, is a fellowship of young people (mostly teenagers) whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking, whether they are in your life drinking or not. By attending Alateen, teenagers meet other teenagers with similar situations. Alateen is not a religious program, and there are no fees or dues to belong to it.
What is Narateen?
Narateen is a 12-step program for teenagers that have an addict in their lives. Each group has two Nar-Anon facilitators who have passed a background check, verified for their region, and guided the group of teens. In addition, they offer each other support and learn coping mechanisms.
How Alcohol Abuse Impacts Family
Alcohol abuse has the potential to destroy families. Research shows that families affected by alcoholism are more likely to have low emotional bonding, expressiveness, and independence. In addition, couples with at least one alcoholic have more negative interactions than couples who aren’t affected by alcoholism.
Addiction is an expensive disease. Depending on the type of alcohol a person drinks and how much they drink, a person addicted to alcohol may spend between $300 and $1,000 on alcohol each month. That can be a major drain on a family budget.
In addition to emotional abuse, drinking problems always have a connection with intimate partner violence. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) , some studies suggest that alcohol makes the frequency and severity of domestic violence worse. However, it’s unclear if alcohol abuse is a cause of domestic violence or a risk factor.
Why Families Attend Al-Anon and Nar-Anon
Families of addicts, including both immediate family members, are affected in some way by the individual’s substance abuse. In addition, addiction impacts a family’s finances, physical health, and psychological wellbeing. Our families experience extreme stress due to our addiction. They understand we’re not intentionally trying to hurt them and they want to provide us love, encouragement, and support. However, our lies, manipulation, and abuse create nothing but pain.
In the case of one parent being a user, sometimes children act as surrogate spouses for the clean parent. Like abuse victims, children of addicts often believe it is their fault for their parent’s addiction and feel guilty. They also may feel like they are doing something illegal by being aware of their parent’s illicit activities.
Children whose parents have a substance use disorder are at an increased risk for developing their substance use disorder as they get older. In addition, if mothers use while pregnant, their child is at risk for low birth weight, sexually transmitted diseases, and a wide range of congenital disabilities.
Goals of Al-Anon and Nar-Anon
Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are based on a belief that “letting go” of the substance abuser; thus, learning to detach instead of enabling, is the best way to heal the harmful effects that addiction has on loved ones. This is to potentially motivate the substance abuser to progress through the stages of awareness, decision, and action in the change process.
The basic principles that guide the Twelve Step fellowships of Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are:
- Acceptance of the loss of control over the substance abuser
- Surrender to some Higher Power as an entity other than individual willpower in which to place one’s hope and faith
- A decision to pursue the Twelve Step program of personal growth and renewal
Find the Right Group for You
If you think that someone you love struggles with addiction, you must try to get them help. And although it can be tough to come to terms with the fact that someone you love works with addiction, it can save their life. You may even resort to denial and look the other way when you see the warning signs. There’s also a chance that you have no idea how to get your loved ones the help they need, which is typical. One of the best ways to motivate your loved one to begin the road to recovery is through intervention.
You do not have to take on the weight of living with an addict alone. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon bring people together who have the same experiences and remind members to take care of themselves before trying to care for someone else. Many drug users try to hide their addiction from friends and family for as long as possible. If you believe someone you love has an addiction, contact We Level Up Florida as we can guide you on how to intervene.
You do not have to take on the weight of living with an addict alone. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon bring people together who have the same experiences and remind members to take care of themselves before trying to care for someone else. Many drug users try to hide their addiction from friends and family for as long as possible.
Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up West Palm Beach Rehab. For some primary behavioral health treatment clients, medical detox and or addiction rehab may be required first. If you have a co-occurring severe substance abuse diagnosis, please contact us prior to beginning inpatient mental health therapy. Treatment services may vary. Please call us to learn which treatment options are most suited for your individual needs.