A solid support system is one of the most important factors for recovery for a person in need of help for alcohol addiction. If you have a family member who is an alcoholic and is undergoing treatment for alcohol abuse, you can have a huge impact on their recovery by being supportive and making yourself available. 

But watching a loved one go through the throes of addiction and recovery can be emotionally trying. Many family members are unaware of whether or not there are support groups for families of alcoholics and wear themselves down or are not able to offer support to the best of their ability. The emotional side effects are experienced by spouses, children and other people who care. Each person in the family can experience lasting change in their lives, attitudes and behaviors as a result of alcohol addiction. Shame, anxiety and depression may also be experienced by family members of an alcoholic in addition to the changes experienced by the person addicted to alcohol, such as tension, disruptive behavior and strained relationships.

Furthermore, many support groups and professionals consider alcohol use disorder to be a family disease since it has a negative impact on not only the person battling the addiction to alcohol but also the people around them. 

The Different Types of Support Groups for Families of Alcoholics

Fortunately, there are several different types of support groups for families of alcoholics.


Al-Anon is a support organization for family members and friends of problem drinkers. It was founded in 1951 by Lois Wilson after her husband founded Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Lois experienced difficulty while supporting a recovering alcoholic in her personal life so she created an organization for people with an experience like hers. 

Al-Anon provides support and resources for those who need help while they provide support for a loved one with alcohol addiction. Family members and friends can attend meetings to help them cope better and learn how to best serve their loved ones, whether their loved ones have recovered or not. The primary focus of Al-Anon is to offer support to members, while letting them know they are not alone in their struggles.


Alateen is part of the Al-Anon fellowship and is geared toward teens or adolescent family members of people affected by alcohol use disorder. Alateen offers meetings to allow young people to interact with others their own age who are also affected by alcoholism. Adolescents can benefit by making the experience of living with an alcoholic more relatable. Alateen provides literature that focuses on problems common to family members of alcoholics, including self-esteem problems, undue guilt and blame and excessive caretaking.

Adult Children of Alcoholics

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) is a twelve-step program of adults who grew up in a home with an alcoholic. The program was originally formed based on the belief that the disease of family dysfunction during childhood continues to affect adults. Members meet and discuss how their childhoods affected them and how they continue to impact the present, while taking steps to encourage healing with their Twelve Steps solution, learning to have a relationship with a Higher Power who loves and cares for them in order to break free from the bondages of the past and to pursue a better future. 

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) is for parents of children addicted to alcohol or drugs who need support. PAL was founded by Michael Speakman, who worked as an inpatient substance abuse counselor in Arizona and is a Christian-run nonprofit organization that holds to the motto: “People helping people through the woods.” PAL meetings are typically held weekly and are run by peers, consisting of education and sharing about one another’s struggles and successes.

Reach Out to My Recovery Source Today

If you have a loved one battling alcoholism and have wondered if there are support groups for families of alcoholics, My Recovery Source can help. We can help you find support groups near you that will help you while you help your loved one through the burdens of addiction. 

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