Alcoholism Support Groups
Alcoholism Support Groups
The most common mutual support groups are 12-Step groups. These groups emphasize total abstinence and embrace 12 core steps to overcoming addiction. Additionally, 12-Step groups urge alcoholics to take esponsibility for their actions, share personal experiences with group members, help other addicts and recognize a higher power. 12-Step groups also encourage family members and friends of the alcoholic to attend their own support group meetings in order to gain a deeper understanding of their loved one’s struggles. Often, 12-Step group participants become lifetime members.
There are many alcohol support groups, and each promotes recovery in distinctive ways. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), perhaps the most widely known alcohol addiction support group, is known for helping millions of recovering alcoholics worldwide. Many groups, such as Al-Anon, are also available to support families and loved ones of alcoholics.
The core principles of 12-Step groups.
The most prevalent alcohol addiction 12-Step program, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), has more than 100,000 groups worldwide and nearly 2 million members. AA does not charge dues or ally themselves with any political, social or religious group. Members are united by nothing but a common problem: alcohol. As with most 12-Step programs, AA encourages recovery through sharing and support and offers resources and meetings not only for alcoholics, but also for family members and friends affected by addiction.
12-Step programs for alcohol addiction are based on the 12 steps developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob. These 12 steps are a set of guiding principles intended to lead members through the recovery process. Though they can differ slightly from group to group, most steps involve admitting there is an addiction; recognizing the strength of a Higher Power; examining past wrongs and making amends for these wrongs; moving on to live a new life with a new code of behavior; and helping others who also suffer from addiction.
AA’s 12 Steps are:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Al-Anon Family Groups
Al-Anon is an excellent resource for families and friends of alcoholics. Al-Anon and Alateen, collectively known as Al-Anon Family Groups, is an international fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experiences, strength and hope in order to cope with the negative impact that alcohol addiction has made on their lives.
Al-Anon Family Groups help families of alcoholics by practicing the Twelve Steps; welcoming and comforting family members of the addicted person; and encouraging the alcoholic’s recovery in a safe, understanding environment. Programs focus on spirituality but are not tied to any particular religion. Whether or not the addicted person continues treatment, Al-Anon can be hugely beneficial for family members’ well-being.
Alateen, part of Al-Anon, is the 12-Step program of recovery for young people (generally aged 13 to 19) affected by another's drinking. Alateen groups are sponsored by Al-Anon members.