Helping Young People Cope with Alcoholics

Alcoholism is a worldwide issue, causing problems not only for the drinker but for everyone else connected with that person as well.

Every alcoholic affect at least 4 other people, many of them children troubled by their parents’ drinking. Often, these young people have nowhere to turn for help.
This is where Alateen comes in. Alateen is fellowship of young relatives and friends of alcoholics who come together to discuss their difficulties, encourage one another, and learn how to cope with their problems. These young people are often introduced to Alateen by concerned friends, neighbors, school counselors, and clergy.

Alateen is part of the Al-Anon Family Groups which helps those whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. Alateen members learn that compulsive drinking is a disease, an incurable illness which they did not cause, cannot cure nor control.

One of the most important lessons Alateen teaches is how to detach oneself emotionally from the drinker’s problems while continuing to love the person.

Like Al-Anon, Alateen is based on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous which members discuss and apply to their own attitudes and relationship with others. This can help the Alateen member develop strength to deal with problems maturely and realistically.

Alateen members meet in church halls, school rooms, or other suitable places, often in the same building as an Al-Anon group but in a separate room. What is said there and who attends the meetings are held in the strictest confidence.

With anonymity the watchword, Alateen members share their experiences, strengths, and hopes.

“I used to get so angry all the time. It just made me feel like a crazy person,” said one Alateen member.

“I’d want to grab somebody and squeeze the life right out of them. Then somebody in one of my Alateen meetings suggested that we try safe ways to express our anger.

“I didn’t even know there were safe ways to be angry. He suggested that when I got real mad at somebody I could try writing their name on the bottom of my shoe. Then, I could spend the whole day walking on them. It works.”

The Alateen program has worked for the tens of thousands of youngsters who meet in over 2,300 groups worldwide. Refer to your local telephone directory or visit the Al-Anon/Alateen web site at www.al-anon.alateen.org

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