Support group meetings can be very helpful to families of addicts, as they are with those struggling with addiction. Families benefit from the support of others, and are able to express themselves in a safe space.
5 Benefits of Family Anonymous Meetings When You Have an Addict in the Family
Addiction can have an isolating effect on the family as well as on the addict. Feelings of shame and guilt can drive family members to secrecy and isolation in an effort to hide the ongoing turmoil that addiction brings.
Families struggling with addiction also tend to have certain ingrained behavioral and communication styles that make it difficult to move forward in the recovery process. In effect, families must go through their own version of recovery in order to be free of addiction’s hold.
Family Anonymous meetings are modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization created in the 1930s to help alcoholics manage the day-to-day challenges of recovery. Like its predecessor, Family Anonymous meetings follow a 12 Step program designed to promote growth and personal development, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The principles and practices employed by Family Anonymous meetings offer a range of benefits for families living with addiction. Through regular attendance at Family Anonymous meetings, family members can obtain the support and direction needed to live full lives regardless of where the addict is at in his or her recovery.
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The 12 Step Support Group Model
Family Anonymous meetings operate according to the 12 Step support group model. The 12 Step model follows a series of steps that walk members through the various developmental stages in the recovery process, according to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.
Family Anonymous meetings offer a type of long-term treatment solution for dealing with the effects of addiction in the home. People who attend these meetings share the same obstacles and stressors, which creates an environment of mutual support among members.
Through the sharing of hardships, experiences and triumphs members can learn new ways of coping with and handling tough situations. Over time, Family Anonymous meetings become a valuable source of strength and support as families work through their own recovery issues.
Family Anonymous Meetings
Family Anonymous meetings have no formal membership requirements or monthly dues to pay. According to Samuel Merritt University, meeting moderators are not trained professionals or counselors, but individuals working on their own recovery path.
Much like the name implies, Family Anonymous meeting attendees can choose to remain anonymous with all members taking a vow to maintain the privacy of the group and the topics discussed during meetings. Ultimately, the purpose of Family Anonymous meetings works to help families better cope with the effects of addiction and learn ways of living happy, fulfilling lives in the process.
The 12 Steps for Family Anonymous Meetings
According to the Families Anonymous resource site, the 12 Steps (as adapted for Family Anonymous meetings) act as a framework upon which the principles of the program rest:
- We have found that our success in this program is determined by how well we accept and apply the following suggested Steps:
- We admitted we were powerless over drugs and other people’s lives—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
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5 Benefits of Family Anonymous Meetings
1. Redefining the Family’s Role in the Addict’s Life
More oftentimes than not, family members spend much of their time and effort reacting to the addict’s behavior rather than being individuals with their own lives. Addiction’s effects on the family create a defensive atmosphere of blame and distrust. Family Anonymous meeting help families redefine their roles in the addict’s life and in the process take back their own lives from addiction’s influence.
2. Letting Go of the Past
Families living with addiction tend to develop destructive communication patterns that make it difficult for members to move past addiction’s hold. One such communication style takes the form of the “blame game.”
This “blame game” only works to keep family members firmly grounded in the past through the rehashing of past hurts and mistakes. Family Anonymous meetings help family members learn to be accountable for their own actions and choices at all times irrespective of the addict’s behaviors, both past and present.
3. Support Network
Whether a loved one is currently using or making steps towards recovery, a family’s recovery process can start at any time. Establishing a healthy support network becomes an essential part of the family’s recovery process. Family Anonymous meetings act as a support network for families living with addiction.
4. Living for Today
The “one day at a time” motto not only applies for addicts in recovery, but also their families. Worrying about the addict’s next move and taking steps to keep the addiction hidden from others can be exhausting. Living for today remains a guiding principle in Family Anonymous meetings. Over time, family members learn to stop making excuses for the addict’s behaviors or trying to hide the problem.
5. Letting Go of Judgment
The addict’s behaviors take place in plain sight, making it easy to pass judgment. Family Anonymous meetings stress the importance of taking a personal inventory of one’s strengths and shortcomings. By doing so, family members can better see their own shortcoming. From this perspective, family members can allow the addict to grow and change at his or her own pace without passing judgment.
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Families function as complex, interdependent members of a whole, with each person’s behaviors and choices affecting the overall health of the family as a whole. This means the addict’s well-being (or lack thereof) can potentially disrupt the well-being of other family members.
Family Anonymous meetings help loved ones take back their lives from the damaging effects of addiction. Recovery in any form takes time and requires a certain degree of patience and resilience. Over time, the support and guidance available through Family Anonymous meetings becomes an ongoing source of strength and encouragement for families in recovery.