Alateen: Support for Siblings

One of the most insidious things about addiction is its impact on everyone in the substance user’s life. Watching a sibling struggle with his mental health and well-being can make you feel helpless or anxious. The chronic stress will gradually take its toll on you and leave you more vulnerable to issues like high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Scientific evidence indicates addictive behavior and mental health disorders run in families, so you may also be worried about your likelihood of developing the same challenges as your sibling. 

While these concerns are crucial, don’t let their combined burden overshadow your need for self-care. The destructive nature of substance abuse causes extreme stress and tension, and families stricken by the disease of addiction need to find healthy coping mechanisms.

What Is Alateen?

Alateen is a nationwide support group for teenagers struggling with the effects of a family member’s substance use disorder. Through Alateen, you can meet new friends who can encourage you to find positive ways of dealing with your sibling’s unhealthy behavior. Attending meetings will also help you understand your loved one’s illness from different perspectives. 

Alateen, an offshoot of Al-Anon Family Groups, is free and confidential for participants. It relies on the 12 steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program, which have helped thousands of people achieve lasting freedom from addiction. While the 12 steps specifically mention a higher power, Alateen is not a faith-based program, and groups welcome all participants, including agnostics and atheists. 

How Can a Support Group Help You?

Often, siblings of people living with substance use disorders feel isolated and misunderstood. Your needs and goals might have had to take a backseat to your brother’s worsening addiction. Perhaps you’ve found yourself lying to cover for a sibling’s repeated absences from school, or avoiding spending time with your family because the tension is too much for you to bear. A support group can teach you the valuable lesson that you are never alone in these troubles, and that things can get better.

You may be reluctant to start attending Alateen meetings if you have social anxiety or think it would be too embarrassing to talk about yourself and your family with strangers. However, trying something new is an opportunity for personal growth, which is what Al-Anon Family Groups are all about. Don’t worry that other people will pressure you to speak up if you aren’t ready, or that you’ll need to meet specific criteria to benefit. Be yourself, keep an open mind and remember you may want to visit several different meetings to find a group you feel comfortable with. 

Family Therapy for Teen Substance Abuse

At ARCH Academy, we recognize that addiction is a family disease. Here, your entire family can benefit from our therapeutic services to ensure everyone can begin healing together. You may have a significant amount of anger, shame, frustration and other complex emotions to work through, and our family programming will help you start to process those. You will also learn about the factors contributing to adolescent substance abuse and how to address any dysfunction in your family dynamic. 

To learn more about what we offer, including how we treat teen substance use disorders in a community that promotes well-being for young men, make the call that could change your family’s lives by reaching out today.