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Al-Anon is a support group designed specifically for the loved ones of those struggling with addiction. When we have a family member or friend in the grips of addiction, we have a unique set of challenges that can be difficult to contend with, to say the least, in part because we might not have other people in our lives who understand what we’re going through. We feel so alone, so overwhelmed and confused, unsure of how to support our loved ones. We want to help but aren’t sure how. We might be caught up in patterns of enabling them, making excuses for them, justifying their behavior or covering up for them. We might be taking on too much of the responsibility for the recovery work they need to be doing. We might not be holding them accountable for the ways in which they’ve hurt us. Becoming involved with Al-Anon can help us to address these and many other issues.

With Al-Anon, we benefit from being surrounded by people who are in very similar situations to ours. We can all relate to the incredible pressure and stress we’re under. We know from personal experience just how depressing and painful it can be to watch our loved ones suffer. Having other people who can truly understand us and our experiences can be profoundly comforting and reassuring. We feel less alone. We stop isolating ourselves, which is something we tend to do especially if the other people in our lives lack compassion and understanding for what we’re going through. In meetings, we receive guidance and wisdom. We’re inspired and encouraged by our peers. This support is invaluable to continuing onward on this very difficult journey.

One critically important lesson we learn from Al-Anon is that the responsibility for recovery belongs to the addicts in our lives and them alone. We can no longer blame ourselves or hold ourselves accountable. We each are responsible for figuring out how to live our lives in the healthiest way possible, no matter what cards we’ve been dealt in life. Addicts have a particularly challenging set of cards to play they’ve been dealt, but we can’t do the work for them. We can’t take on their recovery for them. While this is a very tough realization to come to, Al-Anon helps us to come to terms with this truth, so that we can free ourselves from the clutches of self-blame and the patterns of enabling we’ve fallen into. The relief and reassurance we feel from coming to this new understanding can be life-changing and can allow us to focus on our own healing, something we often neglect when trying to support our loved ones. 

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Reach out for support. The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and recovery, and we’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.