Are parents required to go to Al-Anon meetings?


Are parents required to go to Al-Anon meetings?

Chaplain Joe HerzanekThis is worth sharing. I just received a request from a loving, concerned mother who wants to do the right thing to support her son, but is puzzled about some “information” she recently received.

Let us know what YOU think:

Are parents required to go to Al-Anon meetings?

Hi ,
I have a son that is in rehab for alcohol for the third time. He seems to be doing well this time. He is choosing to live in another state and wants to keep in touch as little as possible. As his Mother this is difficult for me to accept but I want to do what is best for him. I have attended A-Anon and not found it helpful–only more depressing. I have a very strong faith and find strength through that. My son is hurt that his Father and I aren’t attending Al-Anon. Any suggestions?

Dear RM,
It can be a challenge to find a good Al-Anon group but well worth it if you do.

You might also find it helpful to attend an occasional Open AA meeting.

Lots to learn there. Maybe it will help your son to see you want to be more involved. Anything that will encourage him is great.

Strong faith is a wonderful asset (-:


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Dear Joe,
Thank you for responding so quickly.
I am willing to try again and have wanted to attend an AA meeting , so I will look into doing that. My husband and I understand that he will feel supported if we go, but isn’t Al-Anon for us? We do not feel responsible or blame ourselves in any way for his choices. He is 27 and grew up in a loving supportive Christian home. His choices have been his and he owns up to them.

His fiance lives near us and has been close to us for 5 years. She attends our Bible study class we have in our home. However, we received an email telling us she can’t be around us unless we attend Al-Anon and work the program! We were hurt and are confused as to if they are being guided to separate from the family.

I love my son with all that I am and although it is so painful to be away from him and not talk to him it saddens me to no end. However, knowing he is working on getting healthy and staying sober is all I can ask for right now.

I lost my Mother this past summer, my daughter married and moved away and so did my son. I am currently looking for a counselor to help me with all of this loss in my life and understand my son’s addiction. Thank you for the email.

Hi RM,
I would ask your son where he came up with the idea that you must attend meetings. You could–if you felt a need for a therapy group but it is not written anywhere that you must.

Ask him if his sponsor agrees with him on this. (If so, he should look for another). I’m 31 years clean and sober and I haven’t read anything that REQUIRES family members to attend groups.

It may be helpful but is optional.

It’s like the patient/recovering person telling the Dr./healthy person how to get well. If anybody needs to cut anybody some slack it should be the other way around.

He’ll mature over time.


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2 thoughts on “Are parents required to go to Al-Anon meetings?

  1. jherzanek Post author

    Job number one for your husband is to SHOW YOU that he can live the 12 Step program in the real world. Many people do well in prison but the real test comes when he gets out.

    If you feel a need to go to Al-anon then go. If you find a good group it could be a benefit. Living with an addict does harm most family members.

    Do they all need therapy and how much? God only knows. One thing for sure is that he is in no position to dictate to you the rules of the game.

    You are the one that may or may not take him back–not the other way around. You might just let him know that.

    Wasn’t he the one sent to prison for his out of control drug use and criminal behavior????

    Chaplain Joe Herzanek/Boulder County Jail
    President/Changing Lives Foundation

  2. bincita

    I also am receiving letters from my husband telling me he will not get back together with me unless I attend Al-anon. He is in prison due to a drug deal gone bad. When I attended Al-anon they encouraged me to focus on ME while he was in prison instead of supporting him. He begged me to stick with him and support him. I got him NA workbooks. Now he is telling me that I should have been focusing on myself through Al-anon. I am very confused. Is Al-anon and NA “self” centered?

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