Troubled by the drinking of someone else? Al-Anon can help provide support and encouragement. These family groups are made up of others who have walked the same path.
Al-Anon family groups meet in many communities throughout the US and Canada and there are international groups as well. If for some reason you are not able to find and attend a nearby meeting, there are telephone meetings and online groups available.
Al-Anon groups are made up of people just like you. These group members have been impacted in one way or another by the drinking habits of a loved one. Members share their experiences and what strategies have worked for them. They offer understanding, not advice, guilt, or recrimination. When an Al-Anon family group member shares, you are invited to take whatever lesson you need from their experience, and if it seems like a good fit, try some part of their strategies.
Al-Anon is a mutual support group, not group therapy. It is not lead by a counselor or therapist at any level. It is a gathering of like minded people who are struggling with problem drinkers or alcoholics in their lives. Personal contact with others in similar circumstances gives the member understanding and encouragement to make positive choices in a difficult situation. This does not mean that Al-Anon takes the place of counseling or is opposed to people receiving professional help. Al-Anon groups provide support and understanding to families and friends of problem drinkers and alcoholics. Many counselors and therapists and other professional care providers encourage participation in Al-Anon because it is complementary to their helping professions.
Those who attend Al-Anon benefit because they learn that they are not alone in their experiences with problem drinkers and alcoholics. By hearing personal experiences of others in similar situations they are encouraged. Experiences and stories from members' lives give insight into the stress that may be occurring in the home or workplace of others.
Adults who are facing challenging drinking behaviors of others should consider becoming a family group member. Al-Anon is a non-professional, non-critical place for people who are involved with problem drinkers or alcoholics. They meet in many communities as well as online and even on the phone. Times will vary by the needs of community members and there are many flexible options to participate in a supportive group. Find an association near you by looking in the phone book or consulting community directories. Search online for more information and locations. This may be one of the best gifts you give yourself, learning that you can cope with problem behaviors and that you do not have to only survive, but that you can thrive with some help from your friends