DID YOU GROW UP WITH A PROBLEM DRINKER OR CURRENTLY LIVE WITH ONE?
Alcoholism is a family disease. Those who have lived with this disease as children sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help them resolve. If you answer yes to some of the following twenty questions, Al-Anon may help.
- Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation?
- Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments?
- Do you fear criticism?
- Do you over extend yourself?
- Have you had problems with your own compulsive behavior?
- Do you have a need for perfection?
- Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?
- Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
- Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the problem drinker in your life?
- Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself?
- Do you isolate yourself from other people?
- Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people?
- Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you?
- Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?
- Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker?
- Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to be compulsive and abusive?
- Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone?
- Do you mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others?
- Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions?
- Do you think parental drinking may have affected you?
HAS YOUR LIFE BEEN AFFECTED BY SOMEONE ELSE’S DRINKING?
The following questions are designed to help you decide whether or not you need Al-Anon:
- Do you worry about how much someone drinks?
- Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
- Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking?
- Do you feel that if the drinker cared about you, he or she would stop drinking to please you?
- Do you blame the drinker’s behavior on his or her companions?
- Are plans frequently upset or canceled or meals delayed because of the drinker?
- Do you make threats, such as, “If you don’t stop drinking, I’ll leave you”?
- Do you secretly try to smell the drinker’s breath?
- Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout?
- Have you been hurt or embarrassed by a drinker’s behavior?
- Are holidays and gatherings spoiled because of drinking?
- Have you considered calling the police for help in fear of abuse?
- Do you search for hidden alcohol?
- Do you ever ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking?
- Have you refused social invitations out of fear or anxiety?
- Do you feel like a failure because you can’t control the drinking?
- Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?
- Do you ever threaten to hurt yourself to scare the drinker?
- Do you feel angry, confused, or depressed most of the time?
- Do you feel there is no one who understands your problems?
WHAT IS AL-ANON?
Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope, in order to solve their common problems. They believe alcoholism is a family illness, and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.
Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.
Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. They do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.
Al-Anon’s program of recovery is based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Steps are the foundation for personal recovery and the traditions help Al-Anon groups sustain their unity and fellowship. The Twelve Concepts of Service provide guidance for service in the Al-Anon fellowship.
Many who go to Al-Anon are in despair, feeling hopeless, unable to believe that things can ever change. They want their lives to be different, but nothing they have done has brought about change. They all go to Al-Anon because they want and need help.
In Al-Anon, members share their own experience, strength, and hope with each other. They meet others who share their feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. They go together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.
IS IT RELIGIOUS?
Al-Anon Family Groups is a spiritual fellowship, not a religious one. They avoid discussion of specific religious doctrine, and members of all faiths (or of none) are welcome. Their Twelve Steps ask them to find a “Power greater than ourselves” who can help them solve their problems and find serenity. Each member is free to define that power in their own way.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
There are no dues or fees in Al-Anon meetings. Most groups pass a basket for voluntary contributions. Members are asked to contribute what they can afford, so that the group can pay rent, provide literature, and offer support to local and worldwide service centers.
It is your choice to speak or not during the meetings. Newcomers are welcomed to meetings, usually provided with literature and a local meeting list, and invited to listen and learn. Some meetings offer beginners’ meetings, specifically for newcomers. Members are available to answer questions before or after the meetings.
HOW DO ALCOHOLICS AFFECT FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
Alcoholism is a family disease. The disease affects all those who have a relationship with a problem drinker. Those closest to the alcoholic suffer the most, and those who care the most can easily get caught up in the behavior of another person. We react to the alcoholic’s behavior. We focus on them, what they do, where they are, how much they drink. We try to control their drinking for them. We take on the blame, guilt, and shame that really belong to the drinker. We can become as addicted to the alcoholic, as the alcoholic is to alcohol. We, too, can become ill.
IF I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SOMEONE’S DRINKING OR DRUG USE, SHOULD I ATTEND A MEETING?
Al-Anon Family Groups have one focus: to help families and friends of alcoholics. The discussion at meetings and their literature support members’ recovery from the effects of someone else’s drinking. Individuals concerned about a relative or friend’s drinking and use of drugs can attend Al-Anon meeting for problems related to the alcoholic’s drinking.
WILL ANYONE SAY THAT I’VE BEEN TO A MEETING?
One of the Al-Anon program’s basic principles is that of anonymity. Meetings are confidential, and they do not disclose whom they see or what they hear at meetings to anyone.
For more information about Al-Anon and to find meetings near you, please visit www.al-anon.org