I came to Al‑Anon sure that I was different. I immediately compared myself to the five members of my first home group. They were married. Three had husbands who were sober in A.A., and two had husbands who were still drinking. My “Not me—I’m different” list went on and on. My thinking turned a corner, however, when a member encouraged me to identify with other members, rather than compare myself to them. I began listening at meetings for what I had in common with them. I realized that, while our backgrounds and circumstances varied, it was as if we had all been living in the same house with an alcoholic. I could see that our differences in terms of age, relationships to alcoholics, and other factors actually helped us to relate to each other.
I was one of 13,392 members who responded to the questions in the 2018 Membership Survey. To me, the questionnaire was like taking an inventory. The questions asked me to reflect on my physical, emotional, and mental health, as well as my spiritual inclination before and since attending Al‑Anon. It also asked me whether I sought or had received professionals’ services, such as therapy and counseling, and if I had been referred to Al‑Anon by a professional. The changes that have occurred in my life are a direct result of this program. I was filled with gratitude when I clicked the button that confirmed my participation in the 2018 study; I was happy to be of service by helping increase Al‑Anon’s outreach to professionals.
The 2018 Membership Survey Results are now posted on the World Service Office (WSO) website at al‑anon.org/surveyresults. I am excited to see where I fit into the Al‑Anon family!
Below is a list of several facts that the Survey revealed about our members who responded:
- Seven in ten members have been affected by alcoholism that spans two or more generations.
- Forty-four percent of the members with zero to one year of continuous attendance in Al‑Anon meetings reported a significant improvement in their mental health.
- Twenty-eight percent of members said that a professional had recommended Al‑Anon to them, and 84 percent of those referred began attending meetings because of that referral.
- Seventy-eight percent of members have sought professional treatment, counseling, or therapy, and 69 percent started or continued to utilize these services after joining Al‑Anon.
- Ninety-nine percent of members attend one or more face-to-face meetings per week. Although Al‑Anon also offers telephone and online meetings, only nine percent of members attend phone meetings and only seven percent attend online meetings on a weekly basis.
There is no doubt in my mind that the WSO’s 2018 Membership Survey results confirm that, like me, other members are experiencing the joys of recovery and improvement in their lives because of Al‑Anon. I hope you will also consider sharing the results with professionals.
By Claire R., Associate Director—Professionals
The Forum, January 2019