What is Al-Anon?
Addiction is not an individual problem, but a problem that affects entire families. Whether an alcoholic is in treatment or not, or even recognizes or admits they have a problem, their addiction will have a profound effect on their families, friends, loved ones. And sometimes even co-workers or employees. Al-Anon is a support group that exists to help provide both emotional support and guidance. Al-Anon is for anyone who has a direct relationship with an addict. Regardless of whether they admit to being one or not.
Things You Will Learn
Many times, families can become unwitting allies in enabling their loved one’s addiction. Rather than helping them to seek treatment for it. Here are some ways families often help their addicted loved one avoid facing their addiction.
When alcoholics get drunk, they often miss important events, including work, important business trips, and family time. Families are often expected to call bosses, coworkers and other family members to make excuses for the addict.
Addicts develop a very complicated system of denial and lies to keep themselves from having to face the truth of their addiction, which they expect their loved ones to participate in. Many times, the families of addicts will participate in reinforcing their own denial because they fear if they don’t, the addict will leave them.
At some point in time, most addicts will no longer be able to support their addiction and still meet their other fiscal responsibilities. In many cases, they won’t ask others to actually purchase the substance of their addiction, but will instead ask to borrow just a few dollars (which they will rarely pay back) or to cover other bills instead.
Finding A Meeting Near You
There are are thousands of support groups that take place all across the country. Finding a meeting near me is as easy as using our list of meeting places near you. There you can find a wealth of information about both what the group is about and for finding a meeting near me. Living with an alcoholic is something no one should have to endure alone. These groups can help make sure you don’t have to. Click here to see, “What’s It Like Attending An Alanon Meeting?”.
Breaking The Cycle
Addiction also creates an addictive cycle, which can often be passed down from parents to their children. This is also why it is particularly important to address the issues surrounding having an alcoholic parent in the teen years, in order to break this cycle. Support groups are an important part of not just receiving emotional support but in breaking the cycle of addiction.
Al-Anon And Children
Even when an alcoholic is not abusive, children can grow up learning to tiptoe very cautiously around their alcoholic parent and often feel abandoned by them, even if they continue to live in the same house. For this reason, there is a special branch of Al-Anon, called Alateen, which deals very specifically with the issues that teenagers face when one or both of their parents is an alcoholic.
These are just a few of the ways in which addicts build very complex and complicated relationships with their families and loved ones. Perhaps the hardest thing for the family and friends of addicts to understand is that they cannot change the addict, they can only change themselves. Support groups help the families and friends of alcoholics to coexist with the alcoholic without becoming ensnared in the complexities of their addiction.
Living with an alcoholic can be an exhausting and soul-draining experience, no matter how much you love them or depend on them. Some alcoholics do not even drink constantly or can even be sober for years, but when they do drink it can create absolute chaos and madness. Spouses and children of alcoholics are in a particularly vulnerable position because alcoholics can also be very controlling. In many cases, they will slowly encourage their spouse to become more and more dependent on them, sometimes over the course of years.
The alcoholic may be very financially successful and spend years encouraging their spouse to quit working and cease more and more professional activities. This can make it hard for them to re-enter the job market if they decide to leave the alcoholic. Alcoholics can also often drive a wedge between their spouse and their family and friends, making them almost completely socially and emotionally dependent on the alcoholic as well.
In other cases, the sober spouse may be the main breadwinner and might feel as if the alcoholic is helpless and incapable of taking care of themselves. This can engender deep feelings of guilt when they think about leaving. In many cases, the sober spouse grew up taking care of an alcoholic parent, so they are conditioned to feel it is their responsibility to care for the “helpless” alcoholic.