• For 24/7 Treatment Help Call:

    (800) 526-5053

  • Al-Anon Vs. AA | What’s The Difference?

    Al-Anon Vs. AA | What's The Difference?

    When discussions of alcohol abuse take place, many are concerned about the alcoholic and their well-being. Rightly so, since there are numerous complications and health hazards to be worried about when it comes to substance abuse.

    However, alcohol problems extend far beyond just the person drinking. Not only will the person abusing alcohol see harmful side effects to their physical and mental health, but their loved ones will also likely experience negative effects as well. 

    Al-Anon Vs. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

    Many people with drinking problems may need behavioral health care, a 12-step program, or a support group to help them stop drinking. These options have proven to help those suffering from alcohol or drug addiction.​​​​

    Thankfully, there are two major support groups as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Al-Anon. While AA focuses on 12-steps for those struggling with alcohol, Al-Anon focuses on family members of loved ones struggling with alcohol use.


    Al-Anon is a mutual support program for those worried about someone with a drinking problem. If your life has been affected by someone else’s drinking, you may want to consider joining Al-Anon by visiting al-anon.org.

    Those who participate in Al-Anon can share common experiences, find local support, and learn more about other Al-Anon members. This can be beneficial to your mental health and help you cope with a family member’s alcohol or drug abuse. 

    Family and friends of alcoholics will likely find that Al-Anon meetings can help you process the struggle of addiction. These meetings can offer insight into common problems that families of alcoholics must solve together.


    Al-Anon is part of Al-Anon Family Groups, which also offers another support program known as Alateen. Alateen is a group for mostly teenagers whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. 

    Teenagers who attend Alateen meetings can sit down and speak with other teens who have a loved one dealing with alcohol abuse. 

    The Alateen program is an excellent way for teenagers and young people to learn more about alcohol and the dangers it can cause to both individual health and family life.

    Al-Anon/Alateen are both self-supporting due to volunteer support and donations. Meetings are nonprofessional and you aren’t required to pay any fees.


    While Al-Anon and Alateen focus on those hurt by a family member’s alcohol addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous focuses on those with the drinking problem. AA offers membership to anyone. 

    AA groups are located all across the world. You and other AA members can attend AA meetings to discuss your progress in stopping your substance use. 

    AA meetings are an excellent way for you to maintain accountability and receive support whether you’re still trying to quit drinking or you’ve already quit.

    The primary purpose of AA is to stay sober and help those struggling to achieve sobriety. AA offers that support to all.

    AA Meetings & The Twelve Steps

    AA offers open meetings in which you’ll learn about the twelve-step program they follow. Some of the twelve steps include:

    • We admitted we were powerless against alcohol.
    • We came to believe in a Higher Power than ourselves. 
    • We humbly ask the Higher Power to remove all shortcomings.
    • We continue to take personal inventory over our lives.

    As you attend more AA meetings, you’ll better understand the Twelve Steps or Twelve Traditions that can help you with addiction treatment. Now that you know more about Al-Anon and AA, you can choose which program of recovery is right for you. 

    Find A Treatment Center For Alcohol Addiction

    For those of you struggling with alcohol use, don’t hesitate to contact our hotline to speak with one of our healthcare specialists. We’ll fill you in on our many treatment programs and answer any questions you may have. 

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2021 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Al-Anon - What is Al-Anon and Alateen?
    Al-Anon - Who are Al-Anon Members?
    Alcoholics Anonymous - Information for AA Members
    Alcoholics Anonymous - What Is AA?

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on August 22, 2022
    Questions About Treatment?

    Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.

    100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
    Prefer Texting?
    We've got you covered.

    Receive 24/7 text support right away.
    There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.


    For Immediate Treatment Help Call 800-526-5053