Vancouver Recovery Day September 9 includes opportunities for families and friends of alcoholics to find help and hope in Al-Anon Family Groups. “Sometimes it is easy to see what alcohol is doing to the drinker,” Al-Anon Communications Specialist Mona Dougherty said. “It may be more difficult to see what it is doing to the rest of the family.”
Barb Metcalfe, Director of Family Programs at Orchard Recovery Center on Bowen Island, said, “We treat clients from age 18 all the way up to their late 70s. We recommend that family members attend Al-Anon and Alateen meetings, so they can hear other family members’ stories and begin to relate what they hear to their own experience. They will recognize there is support for them in Al-Anon. Also, in Al-Anon there are no dues or fees.
“Sometimes family members have ideas about alcoholism. They might think it isn’t an illness. They wonder, why can’t the drinker just stop drinking? So, through the education that we provide along with Al-Anon, there is a place that families can find their own support and recovery. We come from the premise that everyone in the family has been impacted. So, in some ways, everyone needs healing. I’ve seen people who have attended Al-Anon and really benefited from it.”
An anonymous Al-Anon member said, “I live in a small community and many people know each other through many connections. I was worried about being recognized and identified. I was also concerned that if I was recognized then the drinker in my life would be labeled as an alcoholic and possibly get into trouble. It took a life-threatening crisis to make me feel completely out of control and scared for my own sanity. Finally, I went to my first Al-Anon meeting to save myself. Because my identity has always been protected in Al-Anon, I feel safe to share my story.”
Al-Anon Family Groups are for families and friends who have been affected by a loved one’s drinking. In British Columbia, 194 Al-Anon Family Groups meet every week. Nearly 16,000 groups meet weekly throughout Canada, the US, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Al-Anon Family Groups meet in more than 130 countries, and Al-Anon literature is available in more than 40 languages.
For more information about Al-Anon Family Groups or Alateen for young people, go to al‑anon.ca to view a copy of “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2018” or to listen to a “First Steps to Al‑Anon Recovery” podcast. To find a local meeting, call toll-free: 1-888-4AL-ANON.