Heavy drinkers commonly say that their drinking is not as serious a problem as some people may think. People who are close to them also have a tendency to minimize how seriously the drinker’s alcohol abuse has affected them. They are trying to keep things as normal as possible under conditions that are sometimes unbearable.
How Can Al-Anon Help?
A Member Shares Her Story
In November of 2011 I picked up a pamphlet in the doctor’s office titled “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism” and browsed through it. Words began to leap off the pages at me and aroused feelings that I was familiar with but had not faced. I realized I had been in denial for too many years and that it was time to act on these feelings and seek help. I went to my first Al-Anon meeting thinking I would find solutions to make the alcoholic in my life stop drinking. I was amazed to find out that this program was for me and not for the drinker. I could not believe what I was hearing as members spoke of their experiences. Much of what was said had occupied my thoughts, causing me anguish and helplessness. Being the parent of an adult alcoholic was too much to cope with and I had no control over the situation. She had been abusing alcohol for 25 years before I finally embraced this program. I purchased a daily reader that offers words of wisdom between meetings. When the meeting ended the members approached me with encouragement and suggested that if I kept coming back I would find strength and hope. As I drove away I knew in my heart and in my mind that I would return to the next meeting. A feeling of serenity came over me knowing that I was not alone in this nightmare of existence. As the weeks passed, Al-Anon members spoke of sponsorship and how to select a sponsor. This would be the start of a relationship with someone who could guide me, as she too had experienced living with alcoholism. A study of the 12 steps adopted from Alcoholics Anonymous restored my life to sanity. My relationship with my daughter has greatly improved thanks to the Al-Anon program. I realize I attend meetings for ME. We now communicate in a sane and loving way and there is hope for a better future.
These questions can help you decide if you could benefit from visiting a few Al-Anon meetings.
Do you worry about how much someone else drinks?
Do you have a money problem because of someone’s drinking?
Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking?
Do you feel that if the drinker cared about you, he or she would stop drinking to please you?
Are plans frequently upset or canceled because of the drinker?
Do you make threats, such as, “If you don’t stop drinking, I’ll leave you!”
Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout?
Have you been hurt or embarrassed by a drinker’s behavior?
Do you search for hidden alcohol?
Have you refused social invitations out of fear or anxiety?
Do you feel like a failure because you can’t control someone else’s drinking?Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?
If you answered “YES” to one or more of these questions, Al-Anon or Alateen may be helpful. For meeting information call 239-263-5907 for Collier County or-1-888-4AL-ANON, or visit www.al-anon.org.