Al-Anon – Sharing A Common Experience

Al-Anon is an organization that is available on an international level to assists those that suffer as a result of someone else’s alcoholism.

As well as the spouse or life partner the people they can help may be coworkers, relatives or friends.

This organization was created as a spin off from Alcoholics Anonymous in 1951. On a world-wide basis they have worked with large numbers of individuals that suffer from the effects of a loved ones alcoholism.

Similar to AA in their approach Al-Anon have a program that consists of twelve steps that new members are introduced to.

Should you seek help?

Have a look at the following questions and answer as honestly as you can.

  • Do you have a parent, close friend or relative whose drinking upsets you?

  • Do you cover up your real feelings by pretending you don’t care?
  • Does it seem like every holiday is spoiled because of drinking?
  • Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking or what’s happening in your home?
  • Do you stay out of the house as much as possible because you hate it there?
  • Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout?
  • Do you feel nobody really loves or cares what happens to you?
  • Are you afraid or embarrassed to bring your friends home?
  • Do you think the drinker’s behaviour is caused by you, other members of your family, friends, or rotten breaks in life?
  • Do you believe no one could possibly understand how you feel?
  • Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
  • Are meal times frequently delayed because of the drinker?
  • Have you considered calling the police because of drinking behaviour?
  • Have you refused dates out of fear or anxiety?
  • Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?

If you have answered YES to some of these questions, Al-Anon may be for you.

The one proviso I would make here is that you must be prepared for their tough love approach. Many times I have heard complaints from clients that when they first contacted them they were told to “kick him or her out” as the first step without knowing the circumstances.

Whilst this stock response is understandable, in a large number of cases it is the only sensible course of action to take, this is advice that should be given after ALL the facts are considered and not as a generic solution.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, simply put, is a need to consume beverages that contain of traces of alcohol. There are several different characteristics that identify the alcoholic.

Despite popular belief, it does not matter how long an individual has been drinking, or how much is consumed on a regular basis. It has everything to do with the following:

  • The desire to drink or feeling as if one needs to drink to function, cope, or simply manage day to day activities.

  • The recognition of an increased need to consume more and more in order to get the same physical and mental effects.
  • The inability to exert control over the amount that is consumed.
  • Physical symptoms that become highly uncomfortable.

Alcoholics Anonymous works with individuals who are experiencing these characteristics in order to help make the transition from addiction, to relief of addiction, easier.

Al-Anon helps those who are affected by someone else’s alcoholism.

How Can Al-Anon Help?

One of the things that makes Al-Anon effective for some is that you are with a group of people who share a common experience. All of you will have had experience of being affected by someone else’s drinking problem.

It is common for the individual to have felt isolated, living with what they perceive to be the ‘guilt’ of being effected by someone else’s alcoholism. It is also common to lie for a loved one, to cover for them and therefore not to have anyone to tell about the horror of living with the alcoholic.

Alcoholism is a serious condition that is damaging emotionally, mentally, and physically. It is a condition that sometimes requires more help and support to overcome than just a simple shoulder to cry on, or someone to listen. The effects of this condition can result in serious health consequences.

Give Al-Anon a go – you have nothing to lose. However if you are one of those who feel uncomfortable with Al-Anon then