It’s completely understandable that you might want to support your loved one by attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with them. But there are guidelines to abide by when doing so. AA is widely recognized as inclusive and welcoming to those who seek help for alcohol addiction. However, the rules are a bit different for non-alcoholics who want to provide alcoholism support.
At New Start Recovery, we are here for both those in recovery and their loved ones. When your loved one attends our alcohol addiction rehab program, we provide them with care and support while you have access to our family support program. If you’re wondering how you can provide alcoholism support to your loved one in their recovery, other than attending AA meetings with them, please reach out to New Start Recovery today at *DM_DirectNumber format=period linked=true*.
Open Meetings vs. Closed Meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous welcomes anyone who is seeking help for their alcohol addiction. They don’t discriminate by age, gender, education, or race. That said, AA insists that non-alcoholics not attend their meetings unless it is an open meeting. Open meetings are generally open for anyone to sit in on. They welcome those in recovery, their friends and family, and anyone else wanting to learn about the AA fellowship.
Closed meetings, on the other hand, are for those working to recover from alcoholism only. Closed meetings preserve anonymity and give the members a safe sharing space. They also create a setting in which the sharer is surrounded by an audience that can both relate and empathize.
“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”
– Tradition Twelve of Alcoholics Anonymous
From its origin, Alcoholics Anonymous has stressed the importance of anonymity. Anonymity provides safety and alcoholism support for AA members who might face judgment or discrimination in their lives. It also promotes a sense of equality among members. So while your intentions behind attending a meeting as a supporter may be good, you should be aware that your presence challenges the tradition of anonymity. Some members may be hesitant to share at an open meeting because of the fear of judgment from someone who can’t relate. They might also avoid an open meeting altogether in order to protect their anonymity.
The best thing to do is to remain aware that your presence may make some people in recovery uncomfortable. However, don’t avoid attending an open meeting if your loved one wants your alcoholic support. Just remain considerate, open-minded, and unassertive while you’re there.
Providing Alcoholic Support Your Loved One
Many people in recovery want their friends and family to attend meetings with them. They may simply want the support, or they may want to help their loved ones better understand their struggle. However, some people in recovery don’t like the idea of their friends and family seeing such an intimate part of their life. They may see it as an intrusion. Many people in recovery come from backgrounds where they could not open up to share their stories. A person in recovery might also feel the need to filter what they’re saying for your sake.
It’s important that you support your loved one in the way that best suits them. That can mean attending a meeting with them if they ask you to. But it may also mean respecting their privacy if they decline your company.
If your loved one does not want your company, but you’re still interested in sitting in, you can find an open meeting that your loved one doesn’t attend. Al-Anon and Alateen also offer meetings specifically designed for family and friends of alcoholics if you yourself need support.
Find Alcoholic Support at New Start Recovery
If your loved one is suffering from addiction and hasn’t found a treatment program yet, we are here to help. Our team offers a range of treatment options at our alcohol rehab, including:
- Alcohol detox
- Residential treatment
- Partial hospitalization programs
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Outpatient programs