Fear, rage, and isolation brought me to Al‑Anon

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are defined as abuse, neglect, or household challenges, including alcohol abuse, that occur between the ages of 0 and 17 years old. The 2021 Al‑Anon Family Groups Membership Survey results revealed that the effects of those experiences follow children throughout their lives.

In the survey, Al‑Anon members who identified as children of alcoholics were four times more likely to experience four or more ACEs than those who had not been affected by a parent’s alcoholism/addiction. In addition, members with four or more ACEs are 71% more likely to be diagnosed with mental illness than members with three or less ACEs.

Nick, an anonymous Al‑Anon member, shares how the effects of his dad’s alcoholism and rage affected him as a child and followed him into adulthood and how becoming involved in a local Al‑Anon group helped him.

You can find out more about the family disease of alcoholism and its effects on children by checking out the new “Perspectives: ‘Growing up with the family disease of alcoholism'” playlist on the Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. YouTube channel. It includes interviews with Al‑Anon and Alateen members and professionals that specialize in the field of addiction medicine.

Perspectives: "Growing up with the family disease of alcoholism"

Disclaimer:

This interview was recorded at the 2018 Al‑Anon International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Members were asked to share about various aspects of the Al‑Anon program and their personal experience.

Members’ anonymity is protected so that they can share openly and honestly about their experience with a loved one’s drinking and with the Al‑Anon program.

The opinions expressed in this video were strictly those of the person who gave them.

Video Transcript

Fear, rage, and isolation brought me to Al‑Anon

INTERVIEWER: Could you share with us a little bit about what brought you to Al‑Anon?

MEMBER: Yeah, I, I was so fearful and full of rage, which is something that I learned growing up in an alcoholic home. I was displaying the same traits that my father had when I grew up. And I was absolutely emotionally devastated. I didn’t have any sense of my own personal identity anymore. That was gone. And I was so fearful. I just didn’t have the tools to cope. Certainly, there was no happiness.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MEMBER: And I was, you know, every night after work, I still would go to work. Dad went to work. So, I went to work. And every night after work, I would just absolutely sob full of isolation and fear and and my sister recommended Al‑Anon. And I had my Higher Power put a meeting three blocks away.

INTERVIEWER: Wow.

MEMBER: And so I went to my first Tuesday night meeting and really started a recovery journey and realized that my rage and fear was something that I don’t know that I was ever taught it at home, but I learned it from my father. I call him an alcoholic because he calls himself an alcoholic. And he has been a longtime member of the other fellowship.

And so, you know, I can tell you that today I have a happiness, a joy, and a freedom that I absolutely know came from Al‑Anon.