Women for Sobriety: 35 Years of Challenges, Changes, and Continuity
This chapter summarizes Al-Anons history and current membership and describes its theoretical basis and helping approach. It reviews evidence for Al-Anons active ingredients and outcomes. The chapter discusses opportunities for research on Al-Anon using this framework, and examines the potential synergy between Al-Anon participation and the identified substance misusers participation in mutual-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It suggests that mutual-help and professional communities work together to facilitate early participation in Al-Anon by shortening the time between problem recognition and seeking help from the fellowship. Al-Anon members are encouraged to attend face-to-face meetings, work the 12 steps, obtain a sponsor, read Al-Anon literature, and develop spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation. The focus of Al-Anon is relief from the pain and suffering that result from living with an alcohol- or drug-dependent person. Literature from both AA and Al-Anon acknowledges that relationship difficulties often arise when the identified substance misuser and/or the concerned family member seek recovery.