Do You Love an Alcoholic?

Alcoholic couple arguing on street There Is Help for Families and Friends of Alcoholics

Do you know, care about, or love someone who suffers from the disease of alcoholism? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. For every alcoholic out there, there can be dozens, perhaps hundreds of people who have been or are affected by his or her disease as well. Family members, relatives, friends, and co-workers can all suffer as a result of loving, caring about, or depending on the alcoholic in some way.

The good news is that there is help for us, too. While most people realize there are rehabilitation and 12-step programs available for those suffering from the disease, not everyone knows about the programs designed to help those suffering from the effects of alcoholism in a relative or friend. Among these is Al-Anon, which was adapted from the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Al-Anon was founded in 1951 by two women who were married to alcoholics. One was the wife of Bill W. who co-founded AA. Today there are nearly 25,000 Al-Anon groups (of untold sizes) in 131 countries and its literature is translated into over 32 different languages. In its 2006 U.S. and Canada Member Survey, 94 percent of its members said they would definitely recommend Al-Anon to others and 81 percent said that their lives were “much improved” by attendance at Al-Anon meetings. Why is Al-Anon so popular?

The behaviors we develop as a way of coping with the disease of alcoholism in a loved one can ultimately threaten our own well-being. When we care about an alcoholic, our good intentions can lead to caretaking, sometimes called “enabling.” This detrimental process often results in our attempts to spare the alcoholic from having to face the consequences of his or her behaviors. Even though our actions come from a place of love or goodwill, they can in fact prevent the alcoholic from experiencing that which may ultimately lead to his or her decision to get help.

Full story at Anchor Web

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