In May 2022, a small group of sober alcoholics and drug addicts saw a need for additional resources to support recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. This group of people, sober alcoholics and drug addicts from the local community got together to establish and serve as board members of a new non-profit organization called the Utah Valley Alano Club.
After buying the old Masonic Temple in Provo, the organization created a place for 12 step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to hold regular meetings. The Utah Valley Alano Club is an independent and autonomous organization that supports 12-step groups, but is not affiliated with them. It is run entirely by volunteers who are working on their own sobriety whether it be two years or two decades. It is funded through rent from groups, member contributions, donations, and other fundraising efforts. It is important to note that the Utah Valley Alano Club is one of the many Alano Clubs in locations across the United States including one in Salt Lake City and St. George.
Meetings are held at the Alano Club seven days a week. In addition to Alcoholics Anonymous, groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics and others all hold 12-step meetings at the club. Currently there are 30 meetings each week with available space to triple that number. The people who attend meetings at the club come from all walks of life, backgrounds, and circumstances. A wide range of ages, as well as individuals from each gender, education level or socio-economic group are represented in meetings.
In any given meeting you might see anyone from the bank president to the bank robber. Each person has one thing in common: The desire to remain free from active addiction and improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
The 12-step model, which forms the basis of these meetings, focuses on the importance of admitting powerlessness over one’s addiction and recognizing a higher power. This helps individuals achieve sobriety by taking responsibility for their actions, developing humility, and accepting that they cannot overcome their addiction on their own. Furthermore, the program emphasizes the importance of making amends for past mistakes, and living a moral and ethical life, which can help individuals develop a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.
The meetings also provide an opportunity for individuals to connect with others who are going through similar experiences, which can be very important in building a sense of community and belonging. The fellowship and camaraderie that can be found in these meetings can provide a sense of hope and encouragement, which can be especially helpful in the early stages of recovery when the person is still struggling to stay sober.
Studies show that regular attendance at 12-step meetings can double or triple the odds of the addict achieving and maintaining long term sobriety. Additionally, substance use disorders can have a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of not just the individual struggling with addiction but also their loved ones. Family members and friends of people with substance use disorders often struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and responsibility for the addict’s behavior, many developing their own mental health issues.
The need for recovery from drug or alcohol addiction has never been greater in the state of Utah.
According to the Utah Department of Health, Substance Abuse in Utah is a major public health concern that costs the State $1.2 billion annually. These costs are from various sources such as health care treatment, criminal justice, work loss and other social services. Addiction can also have a detrimental effect on the individual’s ability to maintain stable employment and support themselves and their families, leading to financial insecurity and poverty. Substance use disorders also contribute to a range of social problems, such as homelessness, child abuse and neglect, and relationship problems. Studies suggest that up to 60% of incarcerated people have a history of substance abuse. For the homeless population, this number varies and can be up to 50%.
“There are still countless individuals and families in the community who suffer from effects of addiction and have yet to find recovery” according to Neal Wagner, Director of Operations. “We are happy that the Alano Club can increase the availability of 12 step meetings for those seeking recovery from the disease of addiction.”
For more information about the schedule or to make a donation, please go to the website utahvalleyalanoclub.org or phone the club at 801-214-1430.
Submitted by Alice Johansen