Growing up in an alcoholic home, I didn’t have much of a social life. I chose not to invite friends over because I feared that my father would be drinking and embarrass me in front of them. So, I turned to isolation as a means of self-preservation. That way, I could keep the family secret, and nobody would know what was going on in my home.

Even as an adult, I found myself actively avoiding a social life because it was so far out of my comfort zone. In my early 20s, with the emergence of the internet, I found a way to have a “social” life within my comfort zone. “Welcome! You’ve got mail” was my gateway between isolation and socialization. I had the ability to chat with people all around the world who had similar interests in music, sports, and hobbies. I was still alone, but I was no longer lonely.

Today, I have a new family in Al‑Anon, and as I work my program, I have learned that I need to actively avoid the isolation that has been and continues to be my default. With the Al‑Anon Family Groups Mobile App, I have more than 70 opportunities every week to connect with my Al‑Anon family, to make new friends, to add to my Al‑Anon toolkit, and to remind myself that I am worth the effort.

Here at the World Service Office, the AFG Mobile App project has been an example of “Progress Not Perfection.” We have learned so much about the needs of the fellowship, the needs of our members using the App, and the technical needs of the App itself. Since its launch in August 2020, we have added or improved many features, such as:

  • Converted the “Timeline” into a social feed where members and newcomers can share socially in a safe space.
  • Added reactions and comments to allow for loving conversations to take place.
  • Added protections to ensure the App is a safe environment for everyone.
  • Added a “Resources” section with links to various service documents and other important resources.
  • Enhanced the Premium Content to include a wide variety of content that is both timely and thought-provoking.

The AFG Mobile App is a lifeline for over 75,000 members, so with meetings starting every few hours, I know that I can more easily connect to friends in Al‑Anon and avoid isolation.

By Scot P., Associate Director—Brand Communications

The Forum, February 2022

Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.