The recent season of holidays, where families and friends gathered together to celebrate and to enjoy being with one another, may have been a time of dread and despair for people affected by the behavior of a problem drinker.
I am writing this article for those who are saying, “Never again, I can’t do this anymore. I need help.”
After many years of broken promises, broken resolutions and disappointments, it was an article in our local newspaper that gave me the courage to finally do something different about the drinking that was tearing our family apart: I walked through the door of my first Al-Anon meeting, and our family began the process of recovery from the devastating effects of the disease of alcoholism.
Those of us who live or have lived with alcoholism often live in fear: fear of abuse, fear of anger, fear of trusting others. Al-Anon Family Groups (including Alateen for younger members) are a source of understanding, help and hope to families and friends of alcoholics.
Al-Anon is a safe, confidential place where it is understood that people might love and hate the alcoholic at the same time. Al-Anon helps to make sense out of the confusion and feelings of guilt that families are consumed with when living with or caring about a problem drinker. Through its 12 steps, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon members learn to focus on themselves. They learn that they did not cause the alcoholic to drink, they cannot control the drinking, and they cannot cure the alcoholic.
If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking, Al-Anon members suggest that you ask yourself the following questions:
Have you refused social invitations out of fear or anxiety?
Does it seem as if every holiday or vacation is spoiled because of someone’s drinking?
Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
Have you been hurt or embarrassed by the drinker’s behavior?
Are you afraid or embarrassed to bring your friends home?
Do you feel that if the drinker loved you, he or she would stop drinking to please you?
Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, Al-Anon might be a place where you can find help.
The following personal stories were written by local Al-Anon members. They are the children, parents, spouses, partners, family members and friends of problem drinkers.
Because Al-Anon is an anonymous program, the letters are unsigned.
A grateful member of Al-Anon.
I walked through the door of my first Al-Anon meeting, and our family began the process of recovery from the devastating effects of the disease of alcoholism.