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Difference Between AA and Al-Anon

Alcoholism or alcohol abuse is a serious problem that not only affects the individual but also the loved ones and the people around him/her. The addiction of alcohol can negatively impact an individual medically and socially. Fortunately, there are several groups that are operating to help individuals deal with alcoholism. The earlier alcoholism is addressed, the greater the chance of successful recovery and the prevention of long-term negative consequences. Two such groups are AA and Al-Anon, which are very different groups that operate under the same context – to help individuals with a drinking problem.

What is AA Group?

AA, short for Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience to deal with their drinking problems. It is a worldwide organization founded in 1935 by two recovering alcoholics, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, who were able to cope with their common problem and maintain sobriety. Anyone with a drinking problem or addiction can join the group, with the exception of private meetings which are mostly reserved for members.

AA is based on a 12-step program that follows a predefined set of guidelines or structured approach for dealing with problems related to alcoholism, drug addiction, and substance abuse. AA meetings are usually held in groups, and members are encouraged to share their experiences and offer support to one another by discussing on common topics.

What is Al-Anon Group?

Al-Anon is an international organization created by and for family and friends of alcoholics. The group is for anyone who is affected by the drinking related problems of somebody else. The support group is specially designed for members of the family of a person with alcohol addiction. Like AA, Al-Anon is based on the 12-step program, but it is tailored to the needs of those affected by someone else’s alcoholism. The group was founded in 1951 by Lois Wilson, the wife of Bill Wilson, one of the co-founders of AA.

The idea is to provide a safe and supportive environment where family members and friends of alcoholics can share their experiences. The organization helps them to understand the nature of alcoholism and how it affects both the alcoholic and their loved ones. Members extend support and guidance to each other through group discussions, and learn how to better deal with alcoholics and the effect of alcoholic addiction on their lives. 

Difference between AA and Al-Anon

Target Audience

– One of the primary differences between the two organizations is their target audience. AA is for individuals struggling with alcoholism or alcohol addiction, while Al-Anon is for family and friends of alcoholics. While both organizations are based on the 12-step program and share a common goal of recovery from alcoholism, their approaches are different.

Focus

– AA focuses on helping individuals take responsibility for their addiction and find the strength to overcome it. Members of AA are encouraged to share their experiences and support each other in their journey to sobriety. Al-Anon, on the other hand, focuses on helping family and friends of alcoholics cope with the effects of alcoholism on their lives.

Approach

– AA organization places a strong emphasis on developing a relationship with a higher power and finding spiritual guidance. It is a topic discussion meeting wherein the person leading the meeting chooses a topic to share his/her experiences and then members take a turn to speak up. Al-Anon, on the other hand, places a strong emphasis on self-care, setting healthy boundaries, and developing a sense of detachment from the alcoholic in their lives.

AA vs. Al-Anon: Comparison Chart: Comparison Chart

Summary

While the concept behind both the groups are same and they both play an important role in the recovery process from alcoholism, they have different approaches and target audience. AA provides a supportive environment for individuals coping with alcoholism and finding strength to overcome their addiction, while Al-Anon provides a supportive environment for family and friends of alcoholics to cope with the effects of alcoholism on their lives. AA and Al-Anon meetings are free, confidential, and open to anyone who needs support.

Is Al-Anon the same as AA?

No, they are not the same. Al-Anon group is specially designed for family members of individuals with alcohol addiction whereas AA group is for individuals struggling with alcoholism or alcohol addiction.

Is Alano the same as AA?

No, Alano is not the same as AA. Alano is kind of a facility that provides a permanent space for AA meetings and other support group meetings. These facilities are often run by members of the AA community or other support groups and provide a safe and supportive environment for people to attend meetings

What is an idea behind Al-Anon?

The idea is to provide a safe and supportive environment where family members and friends of alcoholics can share their experiences and extend each other support

What are the rules of Al-Anon?

While Al-Anon does not have strict rules, there are certain guidelines that members are encouraged to follow, such as anonymity, no cross-talk, respect and tolerance, no affiliation, no dating or relationships, and so on.

What is AA called now?

The organization hasn’t changed its name or purpose since its founding in 1935.  It is still called AA today and follows the same 12-step program to help others cope with alcoholism.

How do you know if you need Al-Anon?

If someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, it can be a difficult and emotional experience. If you are not sure about how to support them, Al-Anon can be a helpful resource for you.


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References :


[0]W., Bill. Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2019. Print

[1]Lessa, Nicholas and Sara D. Gilbert. Living with Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. New York, United States: Infobase Publishing, 2009. Print

[2]Dodes, Lance and Zachary Dodes. The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry. Boston, United States: Beacon Press, 2014. Print

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