The Other 12 Steps: How Loved Ones Can Cope with Addiction

How-Loved-Ones-Can-Cope-with-AddictionIf you have a loved one with the disease of alcoholism, you may know about the 12 Steps for him or her. But did you know that there are a set of 12 Steps just for you? Just as the one you love needs a set of tools to work with, so do you. The 12 Steps of Alanon were written to help family members and friends cope with addiction.

Alanon came from the specific story of Lois Wilson, wife of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Lois learned that just as her husband and his fellow sufferers were addicted to alcohol, wives and other family members could be just as addicted to their suffering loved ones – addicted to fixing, controlling and manipulating them. Lois adapted the 12 Steps of AA to her own recovery needs

Mirroring the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Alanon steps help friends and family members to detach from their loved ones and from the disease of alcoholism. Just as someone must recognize powerlessness over alcohol in order to recover from the disease, an Alanon member admits the same powerlessness over the loved one and over the alcohol he or she consumes. Everything suggested in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is suggested in the 12 Steps of Alanon.

It is estimated that about 65% of families in the U.S. are affected by the disease of alcoholism, and many of them come together regularly to support each other in Alanon meetings. The same kind of support offered at an AA meeting comes in Alanon meetings, where participants can talk about their situations with others in similar situations. Here, family members can learn to take the steps that many have taken to make life easier, whether their loved ones are still drinking or not.

For more information about Alanon Family Groups, go to

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