Can Friends and Family Members Use the 12 Steps?
One of the largest predictors of success in recovery is having the support of friends and family members to help the addict stay focused and provide emotional support during tough days. Friends and family members are affected by an addict’s behavior and often what the addict is involved in makes little sense to these individuals.
There are many support groups available to friends and family members including Al-Anon, Narc-Anon, and Gam-Anon. In these meetings the friend or family member will find the support they need to fully understand the addict and their behaviors. The meetings are also a place for the friends and family members to be educated on the addiction process and why addicts do the things they do during the addiction. Many people known to the addict do not realize that they need help as well in changing attitudes and expectations about the addict and their addiction.
Friends and family members often do not understand why their love is not enough to change the addict’s behavior. Through caring and compassion friends and family members believe that caring will make things better. They do not understand that enabling the addict’s behavior only makes things worse.
In 12-step meetings, friends and family members will share their stories, knowledge, and experience of living with an addict. Through this collaborative sharing, other friends and family members can learn about addiction and how to effectively work within the addiction to support the addict’s recovery. Friends and family members can also learn how to recognize possible triggers and offer ways to support the addict through difficult situations.
Friends and family members have unique thoughts and feelings about addiction and 12-step meetings offer a safe place to express these emotions. There is no judgment, as each person there is dealing with an addict. In addition, friends and family members realize they are not alone and there are others who share in their journey of recovery.
All 12-step meetings are confidential and typically only first names are used. The friend or family member will not have to worry about someone talking about them to another person outside of the meeting environment. Meetings are offered at various locations and at different times and dates to accommodate those who wish to attend. There is no cost to attend and there is absolutely no pressure to speak. Many who attend these 12-step meetings for friends and family meetings find them beneficial due to the number of suggestions given by other members. Most meetings are offered at the same time as the addict’s group and it is a great way to show support to the recovering addict.