It is a typical day at the practice. I prepare the materials for the substance abuse support group and open the door for clients. They begin sitting down and talking loudly among themselves. Once everyone signs in, I present the following topic: the impact of parental alcoholism and/or other family members’ problem drinking. The loudness subsides, and nobody can hear a pin drop.
The silence and attentiveness of the group members, here and in the past, have led me to continue talking for the past 17 years about the impact of drinking on family members. Through it all, some clients hold back tears; others cannot. No matter how they express their emotions, I can see the unbearable pain in their eyes.
After giving clients an opportunity to express themselves, I discuss solutions for their problems, especially Al‑Anon with all its helpful components (i.e., Sponsorship, the Steps, Traditions, Concepts and the Slogans). I share how the fellowship can aid anyone impacted by someone else’s drinking.
Most importantly, I discuss in detail the program’s gentle approach. Talking about Al‑Anon’s gentleness attracts clients who may otherwise be skeptical about seeking help. At the end of my group sessions, a few clients often ask me for a “Where & When” list of Al‑Anon meetings in the area. Their request warms my heart, and I am reassured, time and again, of the importance of sharing Al‑Anon with those coping with alcohol abuse in friends and/or loved ones.
One day at a time, the various program components provide individuals with tools to decrease—and hopefully heal—the unbearable pain caused by someone else’s drinking. Al‑Anon is one of the most valuable resources available for family and friends of problem drinkers.
Dr. Daniella Jackson, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Researcher
My son is alcoholic and I feel lost and alone and with no hope. I have absolutely no one to confide in and he has become increasingly verbally abusive and many times I fear him. I am alone with no one to turn to. Sometimes I’m feeling despondent with the way he lashes out at me I need a group or sponsor to trust.
My sister and I are 16 months apart, we are 49 and 50, we are the oldest of five. I’ve never typed these words – my sister is an alcoholic, has been for years. She looks old, shakes if she goes too long without a drink, and the white of her eyes have a yellow tint now. She cannot keep a full-time job because by 11:00 am, she is usually perched at the bar in a restaurant where she will sit for hours. She has become unbearable to be around this past year, she becomes defensive and verbally abusive after… Read more »
I’m an adult now who grew up in an alcoholic home. I’ve been attending Al-Anon for a few years and I too like you wondered what on earth was I going to do the 12 steps for. I now know I only start them when I’m ready and at my own pace to access my own recovery from the affects of someone else’s drinking on me. Wow it’s been an amazing journey discovering so much about myself. Giving me the emotional tools to cope with many situations in a kinder gentler way on myself. My recovery has had the ripple… Read more »
I am nearly 50 years old. When I was a child my mom drank herself silly and my parents divorced when I was 9. One day, she almost killed me with the car. She knew if she had had the accident in the opposite direction of the way she did go, she would have killed me… that made her stop drinking cold turkey. I was 15 years old then, when she stopped… and I enjoyed her sober until she was 80 and then she passed away in 2015. My stepson is now a drug abuser and drinker. He can’t be… Read more »
Hi I grew up in an alcoholic home and boy did I think I knew it all. I was so much in denial that I couldn’t see how I had been adversely affected. I came to Al-Anon on my knees, a doormat. I know today how badly affected I was and will always be. However now I have a support system and my life has changed beyond my wildest dreams. No matter what it’s a safe place to talk and listen. I am so very grateful that I found this wonderful programme. I would suggest going to a meeting for… Read more »
I have an alcoholic mother, my childhood was chaos and my adult life is still showing the consequences. I understand the 12 steps for the alcoholic but I don’t understand the purpose for the child to work the 12 steps. Not criticizing, I am truly curious. I want to start attending meetings I am wondering what that will be like.