Helping you to cope with – and recover from – loving an alcoholic.
Al-Anon is a 12 Step fellowship for people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking. It was founded by Lois W, the wife of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill W. And its main aim is to help people recover from the anxiety, fear, depression, and codependent thinking which arises from living with, caring about, or being in love with an alcoholic.
As an Al-Anon member, this is a fellowship that’s very close to my heart. I’ve found its rooms gentle, loving places where I could share my worries, troubles and pain.
After leaving an ACoA partner who had developed an undoubted drinking problem, it’s where I turned to get myself back into a healthier mindset. What I discovered there were principles, slogans, readings, stories and people who together helped me build myself back up. Al-Anon helped me to become stronger, more self-aware, and more empathetic than I had been before.
It’s a common misconception that at Al-Anon, people sit around and complain solely about the alcoholic. (In fact, that misconception is especially popular amongst alcoholics!).
I won’t say that Al-Anon doesn’t include some of that. After all, people often walk into the rooms for the first time in despair. Usually, they’re hoping to find a way to ‘cure’ the alcoholic.
Al-Anon can’t and doesn’t teach that. Nobody but an addict can decide when it’s time for them to get clean. (Though God knows, many Al-Anon members will have tried before finally seeking their own recovery!).
How Al-Anon works.
In Al-Anon, members mostly talk about subjects that can help them rediscover their identity and self confidence. Detachment, boundaries, self love, letting go, control, powerlessness, sarcasm, anger, denial and pigeons (yes, pigeons!) have been the subjects of some of my favourite shares in Al-Anon rooms.
In Al-Anon meetings, and through its 12-Step programme and sponsorship model, you learn to put down passive controlling behaviours, become aware of your own impulses, and relate to people in a more healthy way. You also learn to let others be who they choose to be, take their actions less personally, and take responsibility for your own choices.
You can find help.
More than anything, in Al-Anon you find a place where people understand how painful it can be to care about an addict who is seemingly hell-bent on self-destruction.
The people in those rooms understand how damaging it can be to worry and obsess over what an addict may do next. And they’ll all tell you the same thing: you didn’t cause anybody’s alcoholism, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it. But you can focus on getting yourself well, so that you can live the best life possible, whether the alcoholic stays drinking or not.
If that kind of support, understanding and compassion sounds like something you could use right now, please do click the links below and get to an Al-Anon meeting. You’ll be more than glad you did.
All the best,