What is the Support Group, Al-Anon?
Dear Dr. Steve:
been married to my husband for 5 years. To put it bluntly, hes an alcoholic.
However, if you ask him, he would tell you that hes not an alcoholic. Time after
time I reach my breaking point with him. But no matter how much I kick and scream,
threaten and cajole, nothing changes. And Im just as patheticI never follow
through on my threats to leave him. We have two children under the age of five. What
concerns me most is what living with an alcoholic will do to my children. Although my
husband does not physically abuse us, hes getting nastier and nastier. Hes
more sarcastic and hurtful than ever. He blames me for all of his problems. That is if
there is even a problem because to listen to him, there are no problems, except for me.
According to him, Im the one thats crazy and needs help. Well, hes part
right, I do need help. If I keep living like this I may actually become crazy! He says he
enjoys drinking and has no plans to quit. I tell him I cant live like this forever!
I come home from work and there he is watching the kids. I can tell hes been
drinking. Im afraid for their safety. What if he trips and drops the baby, or passes
out and the kids get into trouble? I could never forgive myself. Part of me says I should
leave. Maybe if he has some time alone, then hell want to get the help he needs. I
know I cant change him or make him get help. But I cant accept our lifestyle
as it currently is. We have children whom we both love very much. And we need to raise
them the best way we can, I dont find him capable of doing this when he is slurring
his words, being nasty to me, stumbling around, and scarring the kids. Please help me. I
need a change.
that you have a problem and asking for help is the first step towards sanity for you.
Although the path ahead of you is long and filled with many unknowns, you dont have
to travel this journey alone. There are self-help groups in your community that can
provide you what you need mostsupport, love, wisdom, and tools to cope with an
of these self-help support groups is Al-Anon. The only requirement for membership in
Al-Anon is that you have experienced a problem in the past or are currently experiencing a
problem with a friend or relative who abuses or is dependent on alcohol and other drugs.
In these support groups, friends and family members share their feelings and experiences
about the impact on their life from either a friend or family member abusing alcohol
and other drugs. At an Al-Anon meeting, you are able to talk about your experiences with a
friend or family member who abuses or is dependent on alcohol and other drugs, learn from
the experiences of other people who have been equally affected by a friend or family
member who abuses or is dependent on alcohol and other drugs, develop coping mechanisms to
deal with an active abuser of alcohol and other drugs, and heal from the love and support
of others who struggle with many of the same problems.
Al-Anons program of recovery is adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous and is based upon
the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of Service. Integrating the
Twelve Steps into every area of your life is an essential aspect of coping with a friend
or family member who was or is currently abusing or dependent on alcohol and other drugs.
admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
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.
Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
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.
direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
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
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.
can contact Al-Anon at:
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
how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of
chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. series of
Insanity to Serenity.
1.) Consult with a qualified healthcare provider in order to assess and evaluate the
extent to which youve been affected by alcoholism
2.) Contact your local chapter of Al-Anon
3.) Read as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction
4.) Read as much as you can about what Recovery is
5.) Meet as many people as you can at Al-Anon meetings
6.) Integrate the Twelve Steps of Al-Anon into your life