Al-Anon focuses primarily on the family member and their recovery from being with someone who abuses substances.
The 12 steps of AA guide this process of self-discovery and healing. Al-Anon stresses our lack of control over someone else’s drug or alcohol use. They believe that there is nothing to be done until the Loved One hits bottom, admits the problem, and stops using. In the meantime, the family member is supposed to detach with love.
At AiR we agree there is no controlling someone’s substance use, BUT we differ on a crucial point: a family member does have influence. A family member is part of the immediate environment and can create the conditions that promote sobriety and recovery.
So it follows that at AiR, we teach the family member a set of skills for better responding to a Loved One’s behavior. When they are using, you’re going to allow natural consequences, detach yourself, and remove rewards. When they aren’t using you're going to reward that behavior.
This set of principles applies to the present moment, and can also be applied to the larger decisions that hang over many families: housing, financial support, use of the car, help with the logistics of getting treatment.
Our approach teaches that there are actions you can and should take while your Loved One is still using. By doing so, you will help to unblock the situation, moving your Loved One towards treatment and recovery.
On this important point, AiR is different from Al-Anon. However, the support you may gain from a group of people with a shared experience can be so very helpful. If you find Al-Anon helps, by all means seek out meetings BUT also learn the skills we teach at AiR.
70% of families trained in our program succeed in getting their Loved One to enter treatment — this is a critically important outcome that confirms that taking action works. It is proof that you play a role.
It is evidence that intervening before a Loved One hits bottom is successful in helping them towards treatment and recovery.