The Ponoka chapter of Al-Anon has started face-to-face meetings once again to better fill the needs in the community.
While the group continued to have Zoom meetings during the pandemic, for the last two months now, they’ve held in-person meetings as well, and they want to spread the word.
Al-Anon is a 12-step recovery program for those affected by someone else’s alcoholism. While it isn’t a religious program, there is a spiritual component.
According to Al-Anon, over one-half of adults are affected by someone’s alcoholism, and that’s why the support group has been considered an essential service.
“Alcoholism is a family disease,” said Ponoka Al-Anon member Rosemarie B., adding that for each alcoholic, there is typically a circle of at least 12 people who are affected by it. (Last names are not used in Al-Anon.)
Rosemarie added returning to in-person meetings has allowed the group to be accessible to more people.
“Not everyone is connecting well with Zoom,” she said. “The newcomers who need to be there aren’t there. That’s why we feel it’s important to get back to face-to-face.”
Wendy S., a five-year member of the Ponoka Al-Anon group, says you can grow up around alcoholism and not know what’s wrong until you come to Al-Anon.
“You find the person you were created to be,” said Wendy.
Rosemarie said when she was affected by a loved one’s alcoholism, while she knew her children were being affected, she was in denial at the time and thought if she tried harder, she could make the situation better.
She added the addicted person doesn’t mean to cause trouble, but because they’re addicted, their first choice will be to go to the addiction.
Wendy said in her experience, the healthcare system isn’t always equipped to respond appropriately to a person addicted to alcohol either.
The in-person meeting is being held every Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Ponoka United Church, located at 5020 52 Ave. Enter through the south-facing small brown door.
Meetings are about one hour long.
For further information or directions, call Rosemarie at 403-704-4234.
The weekly Zoom meeting for the Ponoka group will continue to be from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday nights. To get connected, call 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666) or visit al-anon.org in order to find a meeting closest to you.
Al-Anon recommends those attending meetings for the first time commit to attending for six weeks before making a decision if it’s right for you or not.
“They say to come and wait for the miracle,” said Wendy.
While Al-Anon’s focus is on those affected by someone else’s alcoholism, everyone is welcome, young and old.