What is the Support Group, Alateen?
I feel so responsible for all
thats gone wrong with my life the last ten years. Im sure youve 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. Hes become mean, abusive, and down right cruel. Its
impossible to know whos 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, Ive 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
cant 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?
stop blaming yourself for what your life is today. You didnt cause your
husbands 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 theyre 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
theyve bottled up inside of themselves. Most importantly, your childrens
active involvement in a support group will normalize their feelings and empower them to
cope with their fathers alcoholism.
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:
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 Alateens Twelve Traditions
Alateen young people can learn:
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
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.
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.
information about Alateen was reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group
Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
can contact Alateen at Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.:
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
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. Frischs, Psy.D.
Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to Serenity.
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 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.