Alcohol-Anonymous are a fellowship of friends and relatives of alcoholics who are sharing their experience to help solve their common issues. They believe that alcoholism is a family illness and that having a changed attitude can help greatly towards working towards recovery. Al-Anon is not associated with any particularly denomination, sect, organization, institution, or political entity, which means that everyone is welcome to attend a meeting and get involved with the program. There are no dues for membership and the group is considered to be self supporting based on voluntary contributions.
For some people, getting involved in Al-Anon is one fo the main ways that they are able to deal with their addiction problem or with the stress of having someone in their family who is addicted instead. It can be comforting to know that there are other people in the area who are dealing with the same experiences and having the same concerns. However, there are other people who may feel that they are having more results if they combine Al-Anon meetings with other rehab programs available within the area. Ultimately, it varies depending on the individual's addiction and their concerns.
Although interaction is highlighted with these types of meetings, there are plenty of people who never speak up or get involved. For these individuals, it's generally enough for them to be able to listen to the stories of other people who they can relate to. All of the information that people provide in these meetings is voluntary. Therefore, if someone doesn't want to verbally get involved, they can just enjoy the meeting quietly and reflect on whatever they feel they can learn from listening to other people's experiences. Other times, some people find that they have better results from being able to share their experiences and know they are impacting other people facing the same challenges.
A lot of people who are dealing with an alcohol addiction but lacking support or understanding from their family tend to go to these meetings because it can provide them with the encouragement and understanding that they need in order to find success with overcoming their addictions. For some people, these meetings become almost like ""another family"" for them because they are surrounded by individuals who understand what it's like to deal with addiction and those who also know what it's like to have a loved one who is addicted to a substance such as alcohol.
Membership is open to anyone who is affected by someone who has been drinking. The only requirement for membership is that there is a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend. The goal is to help families of alcoholics, as well as those who are struggling with alcoholism also. Al-Anon members do this by working on practicing the twelve steps of recovery, welcoming and comforting families of alcoholics, and by giving encouragement to those who are working on getting their sobriety. Finding a meeting can be a great way to get some support to help resist any current addictions.