Helping Your Family and Friends Understand AA
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, programs like AA “can be particularly helpful during recovery, offering an added layer of community-level social support to help people achieve and maintain abstinence and other healthy lifestyle behaviors over the course of a lifetime.”
However, it can be hard to attend the program if your family and friends do not understand it or approve of your attending it. Here are some ways to help your loved ones understand AA and your journey with the program.
Attend 12-step Facilitation Therapy
There is a treatment program known as 12-step facilitation therapy, the goal of which is to “increase the likelihood of a substance abuser becoming affiliated with and actively involved in 12-step self-help groups” (NIDA).
Therapists who practice this approach can also help dispel false rumors about the program that may be causing your family and friends hesitance. If you decide to attend this therapy program with your loved one, it may be able to help them understand the program better and feel more at ease with your attending it.
Encourage Them to Attend Al-Anon
As stated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Al-Anon “helps family and friends recover from the effects of someone else’s drinking through a 12-step program including regular attendance at group meetings.” If you believe your loved one may benefit from this program, encourage them to attend a meeting.
In many cases, they will not only be able to work through some of their own issues associated with your drinking, but they will also be able to learn more about what its like to attend a 12-step program. If they are able to see how these meetings can be helpful to them, they may also be able to understand their benefit to you.
Take Them to a Meeting
Many AA groups have open meetings where anyone can attend and learn more about the program. You can usually bring your friends or family members to one of these meetings at least once a month. Members are prepared for this kind of change in attendance and understand there will be others attending the program who are not themselves members. This can be an excellent way to help your loved one understand the program better by taking them straight to the source.
Talk to Them
If you can start an open and understanding dialogue, it may be helpful to just talk to your loved one about why you like attending AA. If they have questions, answer them to the best of your ability. It can be difficult to help your loved ones understand AA if they do not realize why the program is helpful to you, but in essence, treatment for addiction should reflect the needs of individual who is being treated. Therefore, if AA is helpful to you, your loved ones should understand and be supportive as much as possible.