What Are the Three Cs of Al-Anon?

Family members and friends close to an addict often go through their own traumas caused by their loved one’s addiction. This is why there are many support groups to help loved ones of addicts talk about what they are going through and to help heal. One such group is Al-Anon, which is a 12-step program that provides a space for healing the traumas caused by a loved one’s alcoholism. These 12 steps break up the healing process so it is less daunting, and the program has shown much success. A great feature of Al-Anon that helps loved ones realize they are not responsible for the addiction is the three Cs. Oftentimes, addiction can cause family members and friends to feel guilty as if they have caused it to happen. The three Cs help get rid of this fear by explaining addiction and how it is no one’s fault.

What Is Al-Anon?

Al-Anon is a support group for the loved ones of alcoholics. It is self-supported by the members of each group. The goal is to help with healing the traumas and depression caused by a loved one’s alcoholism. Through the group, members can learn about addiction and how it affects not only the person struggling with it but also those closest to them. They are also taught how addiction progresses over time, as it is a chronic disease. Oftentimes, many friends or family members feel guilty when they find out a loved one is struggling with addiction. They may feel responsible, wondering if there was something they could have said or done differently to prevent it from getting so bad. Al-Anon helps alleviate these feelings by teaching the three C’s as well as their twelve steps.

What Are the Three Cs?

Al-Anon’s three Cs are reminders in family recovery that help loved ones realize they are not the cause of the addiction that their friend or family member is struggling with. Al-Anon teaches these three Cs as well as how to apply them to everyday life.

I Didn’t Cause It

The first C of Al-Anon discusses step one of the program. Step one states, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” This first C shows the friend or family member that they didn’t cause their loved one’s addiction because they don’t have the power to do so. Addiction acts on its own because it is a chronic disease. There is nothing a person can say or do to stop their loved one from using or drinking. This is extremely important and can relieve the person of a lot of grief and misplaced responsibility.

I Can’t Control It

As much as a person would love to wave a magic wand and have their loved one stop drinking, this is not possible. The second C explains this through the use of step two in Al-Anon. Step two states, “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” This is important because the friend or family member realizes there is nothing they can do to control the addiction. Instead, they can leave it in the hands of a higher power or anything that gives them hope, which can be extremely reassuring.

I Can’t Cure It

The third C of Al-Anon is explained through step three, which states, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” After the friend or family member realizes there is nothing they can do to control the addiction, they can take on the step of turning it over to their higher power. This is usually when the person accepts that addiction is a chronic disease and therefore cannot be cured. This can be hard to accept, but it usually helps the individual become more understanding and in a better place to help their loved one.

What Are the Benefits of Going to an Al-Anon Meeting?

Going to Al-Anon meetings are highly beneficial for both the addict and their loved ones. This is because of the many areas of addiction that the group addresses, such as education, coping strategies, what treatment looks like, family roles in addiction, and more. If you are experiencing a loved one going through addiction and feel lost, Al-Anon may be right for you to gain some insight and healing.

Better Understanding

Al-Anon will teach you about addiction, how it progresses, how it changes people, and how it affects everyone it touches. Learning more about what your loved one is going through will put you in a better position to help them through their recovery. However, it will also help you heal as you realize that you were not the cause of the addiction nor could you do anything to help your loved one stop. The entire experience can be extremely gratifying as you heal and become more aware of the impact addiction can have.

Learn About Family Roles

When a family member is struggling with addiction, it is common for other family members who live with the person to take on certain roles. These can include codependency and enablement, which can actually cause the addiction to worsen. Codependency is when a person takes on the savior role, taking care of the addict in any way possible. They often thrive off of the feeling of being needed, which can cause the relationship to become toxic and actually enable the person’s addiction even further. Enabling is when you shield the addict from the consequences of their addiction, prompting them to keep using since they have no negative consequences as a result. Learning about these roles and how to stop the behavior can be beneficial both for you and the addict.

Al-Anon was created to help those close to alcoholics cope with their loved one’s addiction. It provides education, support, and community in a private and healing space. The three Cs of Al-Anon help members to realize they are not guilty of their loved one’s addiction. They did not cause it, they cannot control it, and they cannot cure it. Realizing these things can take a lot of weight and stress off of a person, as guilt can leave them broken inside. The goal of the group is to help a person come to a place of understanding and healing, which is crucial because those close to addicts can suffer trauma too. The benefits of attending meetings are vast, but being able to better understand what your loved one is going through and learning about the role you may be playing are two of the biggest ones. If you are struggling with a loved one’s addiction, call Northstar Transitions at (303) 558-6400. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Search Blog Posts
Back to blog
Call 866-407-2240
Verify Insurance