There are support groups available for friends and families of alcoholics called Al-Anon groups.
Al-Anon meetings can help those close to alcoholics who find themselves caught up in an overwhelming whirlwind of frustration and disappointment.
What is Al-Anon?
Al-Anon meetings are not based on any particular religion.
They focus on a spiritual fellowship in which members ask a Higher Power to help them heal and find inner peace over situations for which they have no control.
Al-Anon meetings also incorporate the Serenity Prayer and a Twelve Step Program.
Al-Anon groups meet for one hour, at least once a week.
However, there are often enough separate groups nearby, that it is possible to attend a meeting every day if desired.
There are no membership dues or fees involved in attending Al-Anon. You can, however, purchase optional literature at the meetings. There is plenty of free literature on dealing with alcoholics available, too.
Those who attend Al-Anon meetings remain on a first name only basis, for anonymity.
If they happen to run into each other outside of a meeting in everyday life, the situation must be handled with discretion.
Disclosure or discussion of Al-Anon meetings or those who attend outside of a meeting to nonmembers is not allowed.
This is to protect the privacy of those who don’t wish the general public to be aware of their attendance in the support group.
During a meeting, everyone typically sits in a circle so that open discussion is easier.
There is a facilitator who has had an alcoholic in his life.
He typically starts the meeting by briefly telling his story of dealing with alcoholism for the sake of newcomers.
Then he opens the floor to whoever wants to talk next.
The next speaker starts by introducing herself by first name only and then describes her situation.
If you attend a meeting, it is your choice whether or not you decide to speak. You may go to as many Al-Anon meetings as you like just to listen to other people facing similar situations.
Many find listening to others comforting enough.
Just knowing you are not the only one dealing with alcoholism can be helpful.
However, many others appreciate being able to get their feelings out in front of an audience that understands what they are going through while dealing with an alcoholic.
There are Al-Anon ground rules if you speak.
For example, no swearing or vulgar language is allowed and you can only use the alcoholic’s first name so that his privacy is also protected.
If you struggle daily with an alcoholic friend or family member, you may find much needed support by attending Al-Anon meetings.
There are no dues, you will not be judged and you can go or not, as you please.
The meetings are there to give members a supportive hub from which to heal and grow at their own pace as they deal with alcoholism.