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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at drfrisch@aliveandwellnews.com  or at
(847) 498-5611.

Learn how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. series of Recovery books.

What is the Support Group, Alateen?

ear Steve:

I feel so responsible for all that’s gone wrong with my life the last ten years. I’m sure you’ve heard this story a thousand times before but my husband is an alcoholic. The longer he drinks the worse it gets. He used to be a good-natured drunk but all of that has changed in the last five years. He’s become mean, abusive, and down right cruel. It’s impossible to know who’s going to walk through the door each night. His mood swings are unreal. I blame myself because I should know better. I grew up with an alcoholic father. Yet, I’ve put my three kids exactly through what I went through growing up. The shame, the fear, the terror of watching my husband completely out of control, you can’t imagine the guilt I feel for putting them through it all. I know exactly how confused they are. I watch them go through life like zombies just like I did. What can I do to make things better for them than they were for me as a child?

First, stop blaming yourself for what your life is today. You didn’t cause your husband’s alcoholism. His alcoholism is a fact of life that you can either deal with or remain paralyzed by and bury your head in the sand. If you can, consult a qualified healthcare provider. Tell the healthcare provider about your concerns for yourself and your children. You can make a difference for your children, but you have to take action. Get them the help that they need. Talk to them about what they’re going through. Encourage them to express their feelings. Finally, get them out of their isolation. There are support groups available for them where they can go and talk about their experiences. At these support group meetings, they can express in a safe environment all that they’ve bottled up inside of themselves. Most importantly, your children’s active involvement in a support group will normalize their feelings and empower them to cope with their father’s alcoholism.

The name of these support groups is Alateen. Alateen, a part of Al-Anon, is for young people whose lives have been affected by someone else's drinking. At Alateen young people can:

1.) Share experience, strength and hope with each other
2.) Discuss their difficulties
3.) Learn effective ways to cope with their problems
4.) Encourage one another
5.) Help each other understand the principles of the Al-Anon program
6.) Learn how to use the Twelve Steps and Alateen’s Twelve Traditions

At Alateen young people can learn:

1.) Compulsive drinking is a disease
2.) They can detach themselves emotionally from the drinker's problems while continuing to love the person
3.) They are not the cause of anyone else's drinking or behavior
4.) They cannot change or control anyone but themselves
5.) They have spiritual and intellectual resources with which to develop their own potentials, no matter what happens at home
6.) They can build satisfying and rewarding life experiences for themselves

Alateen is based on the following Twelve Steps which members discuss and apply to their own attitudes and relationships with others. This can help the Alateen member develop strength to deal with problems maturely and realistically.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The above information about Alateen was reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.

You can contact Alateen at Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.:

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, Va. 23454
Tel # 757-563-1600
Fax # 757-563-1655
1-888-425-2666 for meeting information
Monday-Friday, 8am to 6 pm ET except holidays

Learn how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. series of Recovery books—From Insanity to Serenity.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
1.) Consult with a qualified healthcare provider in order to assess and evaluate the extent to which you’ve been affected by alcoholism.
2.) Contact your local chapter of Al-Anon to get information about local Alateen meetings.
3.) Teach your children as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism .
4.) Teach your children as much as you can about Recovery.
5.) Teach your children how to integrate the Twelve Steps of Alateen into their lives.



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