It’s not only the alcoholic that needs to recover from alcoholism.

An alcohol use disorder, or any addiction for that matter, is an insidious sort of illness that isn’t confined solely to the body and mind it’s destroying.

Addiction also affects the loved ones of an addict: the parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and friends.

The blast radius of substance abuse stretches far and wide, affecting everyone you know and care about.

It is tough to watch someone you care about fall deeper and deeper into the drink, seeing their personal and professional lives disintegrate into a ceaseless pursuit of alcohol. Tough isn’t strong enough of a word.

Helplessly bearing witness to a person you love becoming a shadow of their former selves is a uniquely devastating position to find yourself in.

That’s where Al-Anon and AA come into play.

But what is the difference between Al-Anon and AA?

What Is the Difference Between Al-Anon and AA?

The primary difference is who these meetings are designed to help.

Simply put, AA is for alcoholics, Al-Anon is for family and friends of an alcoholic.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem.


Al‑Anon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. By sharing everyday 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.

Another thing to take note of is that even if your family member or friend doesn’t admit to a drinking problem, you can still find a great deal of benefit and help from a group like Al-Anon.

Under the umbrella of Al-Anon is something called Alateen, which is “a place just for teens affected by someone else’s alcoholism.” A parent struggling with alcoholism, for example, isn’t the easiest thing to deal with. Being with other teens who can relate ends up being very helpful for some.


How To Get Your Loved One Help with Addiction

Help with addiction is most likely to stick and be effective when a person voluntarily chooses to embark on that recovery journey. Getting them to take that helping hand in the form of rehab is often easier said than done.

It’s just a tall order for most people to admit they have a drinking problem which they can’t control.

That’s where an intervention can potentially work wonders.

The overarching point of an intervention is to turn a mirror on your loved one’s addiction. To get them to truly see the damage, they’re doing it not just to themselves but also to everyone around them. To shake them from their delusion and denial.

Doing something like that can’t be on a whim, though. You shouldn’t set out to do an intervention on your own. There are many more moving parts than just getting the person into a room. Planning every aspect is critical to success. That planning includes who will participate, what they will say, what the ultimatums – a vital intervention component – will be, how to keep it a secret, and which rehab they will be getting treatment from.

On top of that, it takes a trained interventionist to conduct the whole program.

Give us a call and learn more about how Footprints of Serenity can help your loved ones get the assistance they need.

Recommended Posts