Helping Families Embrace Their Own Recovery

Part of the pre-intervention process is bringing family members to a local Al-anon meeting. I want them to see what Al-anon is and know there’s nothing to be afraid of. The intention, of course, is for them to attend these meetings regularly following the intervention.

Surprisingly it’s almost as difficult to get family members to attend Al-anon meetings as it is getting addicts and alcoholics to Alcoholics Anonymous and NA meetings. Al-anon is a support group based on the principles and twelve-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous for people impacted by another person’s addiction to drugs or alcohol. Its purpose is to show its members how they can have happy and productive lives regardless of another person’s continued substance addiction; Al-anon is NOT intended to teach people how to make another person stop drinking or control another person’s behavior.

Addiction is a disease that affects anyone who is closely impacted. I have seen chemically-sober family members behave like their addicted kin, without ever having picked-up a drink or a drug.

Living with a using addict will cause you to question your sanity; you’ll ask yourself, is it them who’s crazy or is it me?

I once advised a mother not to call the police on her drug-addicted son, because I was afraid when they arrived and witnessed her behavior she would end up in the psych ward. The same mother also displayed symptoms of suicidal tendencies - but she too refused to attend Al-anon meetings.

Marc Kantor is the founder of South Florida Intervention which helps families struggling with the devastating effects of addiction. He can be reached at

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