Alanon members say they get a lot out of working the steps of the program which are pretty much the same for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) only they apply the principles to how alcoholism affects their own lives.
Step 6 states “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” This is about not imposing one’s will on others. For Alanons, this means relinquishing control freak behaviors over the alcoholic. (Source: Southwest Group). Your entire focus and obsession throughout the day is no longer on the alcoholic and you can actually have a conversation with friends without it being about “what he did today to me.”
Step 7 says “Humbly asked Him to Remove Our Shortcomings.” Alanon also has a workbook that goes into extensive detail regarding working the steps of the program. Some say it is in this step that Alanon members get some kind of peace and it is a relief to “not be trying to run the world in our household.” In Alanon the name of the game is detachment as you will notice on any online support groups you find for the program.
Step 8 reads “Made a List of All Persons We Had Harmed and Became Willing to Make Amends to Them All.” Many Alanon members are surprised to learn that the first person on their list is the alcoholic, according to alcoholism.about.com. Anger is common for Alanons who are typically referred to by old-timers in Alanon as “untreated Alanons.” What that term means is that this is a person who has not worked the steps of Alanon and can only talk about the problems instead of the solution.
Step 9 reveals “Made Direct Amends to Such People Wherever Possible Except When to Do So Would Injure Them or Others.” One Alanon member writes that this step is a “Put your money where your mouth is step” with no expectations. It has been said that living with an alcoholic is like living in a “half-world” and you can’t count on anything.
In Step 10 you “Continued to Take Personal Inventory and When You Were Wrong, Promptly Admitted It.” Newcomers in Alanon typically see themselves as saints at first before ever getting a sponsor, attending their first meeting, or doing an inventory, according to a few Alanon members. But as they grow they begin to see “where they themselves start the ball rolling.” Some people just coming to Alanon might say that their husband just smokes pot, nothing major and that it never bothered them until recently. Some might say this is “hitting a bottom in Alanon” when you realize that you need help dealing with your emotions surrounding your spouse’s addiction.
Step 11 says “Sought Through Prayer and Meditation to Improve Our Conscious Contact with God as We Understood Him, Praying Only for Knowledge of His Will for Us and the Power to Carry That Out.” What this means is you discover the plan your Higher Power has for you. A lot of times the recovering alcoholic is in denial about what went on when she drank – what it did to her family, kids, husband; etc.
Lastly, in Step 12 Alanon members “Having had a Spiritual Awakening as the Result of These Steps, We Tried to Carry the Message to Others and to Practice These Principles in All Our Affairs.” This is the only step of Steps 1-12 of Alanon where the wording is different than AA. In AA the word “others” is substituted for “the alcoholic who still suffers” in Step 12.
All of the steps of Alanon result in a changed attitude toward the alcoholic. You see him or her as a sick person on an emotional level, not just an intellectual one. (Source: Maggie Rowe).