Al-Anon is a free international program founded by Lois Wilson, the wife of one of the men who founded Alcoholics Anonymous. She thought that a separate group needed to be formed, one that would focus on the loved ones and family members of those who suffer from addiction. As a result, it helps create a support group for families, one that will help them move and grow together through addiction. These 12-steps have been adapted from the program created by Alcoholics Anonymous, but have been adapted for family use.
The biggest change comes in the final step: instead of specifying reaching out to people who just struggle from alcohol addiction, it focuses Al-Anon on reaching out to other family members and friends of addicted individuals. That helps separate Al-Anon from other recovery programs.
- Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Acknowledging the problem is the very first step to regaining control over alcohol addiction. While members may find this step challenging, it is possibly the most important step on the road to recovery.
- Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
By placing hope in the hands of greater power, addiction can be viewed from a more dynamic perspective. The journey to sobriety has a guiding hand to help aid in struggling. While Al-Anon is not affiliated with any religious organization, faith is an integral part of the program. Understanding that everyone interprets God differently allows members to find their own higher power and release some of the burdens to him.
- Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Categorizing your positive and negative aspects can prove challenging. The idea of accountability for negative behavior can also be met with the good in every member of Al-Anon. Opening up about wrongdoings can help people in recovery achieve accountability for their actions. Admitting fault can lead to a dedicated improvement in the lives of someone struggling with alcohol addiction.
- Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Surrendering control over the past while moving forward helps members to focus on recovery. Having a higher power to answer to and rely upon is an important step. While accountability is imperative, freeing oneself from the total burden is thought to encourage growth.
- Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Finding peace after wrongdoing is an important step. Making amends can free those suffering from addiction and allow members to realize spiritual growth. In addition, those on the receiving end may feel more at ease with what has happened, potentially rebuilding the relationship.
- Step Eleven: 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.
- Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Spiritual growth is a key element in the Al-Anon program. Seeking answers from a higher power, members can receive personal guidance through prayer and meditation. A will to find spiritual enlightenment can open the door to other endeavors for those in recovery. Helping others may provide a purpose to the individual, boost esteem, and aid overall life improvement.