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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
(847) 498-5611.

Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.

What is the Support Group, Al-Anon?

ear Dr. Steve:

I’ve been married to my husband for 5 years. To put it bluntly, he’s an alcoholic. However, if you ask him, he would tell you that he’s 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 I’m just as pathetic—I 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, he’s getting nastier and nastier. He’s 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, I’m the one that’s crazy and needs help. Well, he’s 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 can’t live like this forever! I come home from work and there he is watching the kids. I can tell he’s been drinking. I’m 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 he’ll want to get the help he needs. I know I can’t change him or make him get help. But I can’t 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 don’t 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.

Admitting 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 don’t have to travel this journey alone. There are self-help groups in your community that can provide you what you need most—support, love, wisdom, and tools to cope with an active alcoholic.

The name 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-Anon’s 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.

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.

You can contact Al-Anon at:

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

Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series—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
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



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