How Al-Anon Can Help the Alcoholic’s Family and Friends
When your world is falling apart and you have tried to reach out to an alcoholic loved one who in turn turns you down, ignore your feelings, or lie and cheat, then Al-Anon can help.
Al-Anon and Al-Anon Family Groups both refer to a fellowship that offers recovery program for friends and families of an alcoholic. There’s also Alateen which provides support to teenagers whose lives are affected by their loved one’s drinking, regardless of whether that person still lives with them or not. Al-Anon conducts group meetings which often consist of five to twenty-five members. There are readings and sharing similar to AA meetings.
Al-Anon can help you deal with your loved one’s alcoholism and its effects on your life by guiding you in practicing the Twelve Steps, and by welcoming you and giving you comfort, encouragement and understanding.
Al-Anon was designed to provide support and encouragement to friends and family of an alcoholic. You can also attend Open AA meetings which welcome anyone who’s interested in AA. You can find someone you can identify with. It can help you understand your alcoholic loved one simply by listening to the stories of other members.
If your loved one is in a rehab, the counselors will encourage you to find an Al-Anon group. Many newcomers feel a sense of peace during the sharing because they are able to identify with the sharers. While you may only know their first names, you may realize that it is a lot easier for you to share problems with total strangers whom you may grow and care about as you continue to attend the meetings.
Many individuals come to Al-Anon tired, depressed, angry and sometimes suicidal. Some feel a strong sense of guilt because they are unable to control their loved ones drinking behavior and other issues in their lives.
During Al-Anon meetings, it is not uncommon to hear stories from members who complain that their alcoholic spouse, children or parents put them at the wrong table and treat them badly. They feel helpless, weak and they need strength because they are fed up and they need reasons to continue living normal lives around an alcoholic. Al-Anon meetings help them take a reality check of their current situation and expectations.
If your loved one is an alcoholic, there is a strong possibility that you need help coping with being a spouse or adult child of someone with drinking problems. Al-Anon can help you admit even to yourself that you are suffering so you can confront your depression and conflicting emotions. There is hope to inner healing as long as you acknowledge that alcoholism is a disease that you cannot cure or control and that it is normal to feel what you feel and you should not be guilty about it.
Improvement begins when you recognize the problems in your family and identify that they are because of alcoholism. Al Anon meetings will encourage you to forgive yourself as you accept that you are affected by the other person’s drinking problem. Finally, you may learn to accept his or her shortcomings.
While it is natural for someone who’s affected by the alcoholic’s behavior to focus on that person, Al Anon helps you focus on yourself. While your changed attitude can help an alcoholic in his or her recovery, you will begin to realize that you did not cause the other person’s alcoholism. Therefore, you cannot cure it and you cannot control the alcoholic’s behaviors.
Attending Al-Anon can be your first step on the road to recovery. It will not be easy but as you continue to attend meetings on a regular basis, you may learn and discover a lot of things about you and it will help you focus on yourself and not on your alcoholic loved one. Gradually, like many other Al-Anon members, you may begin to understand why you feel that way and why you are not a failure despite the fact that people in your life are not living the way you expect them too.