"Sounds of Silence"
The Al-Anon Focus
For Al-Anon/Alateen Members
who are also Recovering Alcoholics
For those who are recovering alcoholics and are concerned about someone else with a drinking problem, the Al-Anon program offers a unique message of hope.
The special attraction of the Al-Anon program to recovering alcoholics lies in its offer of help to ALL those whose lives have been affected by the problem of drinking in ANOTHER person. Because it is not unusual to have more than one problem drinker in the family, an increasing number of AA members are also turning to the Al-Anon program for help in learning that they are as powerless over other alcoholics as they are over alcohol. They are welcome to join Al-Anon and Alateen groups where the focus is on letting go and getting another perspective.
Why Al-Anon and AA Membership?
Recovering alcoholics who belong to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous live by the Twelve Steps, which Al-Anon was permitted to adopt with a minor change, so you might ask, "Why bother with a second program based on the one which I already use to stay sober?"
Well, for one thing, Al-Anon presents a view from the OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE. Alcoholism affects members of a close relationship in different ways; some are often caught up in the behavior of others. Recovering alcoholics, having dealt with their drinking problem, may still react to the compulsive drinking of wives, husbands, parents, children and friends, in spite of what they know about the disease. Before they know it, they are confused, frustrated and angry. Ready to begin a sober, new life, they may feel cheated of a loving companion, robbed of respect by a drinking son or daughter, overburdened with responsibilities, unwanted, misunderstood and alone.
AAs React to Someone Else's Drinking Problem
PEGGY: I became obsessed with his drinking--just as obsessed as I had once been with alcohol. Every waking moment was spent trying to think of ways to get him to AA. You would have thought that I didn't know one thing about alcoholism! I blamed my drinking years for making him an alcoholic. I decided I must be a horrible example of AA, or else he would want to join. My obsession with his drinking made me crazy!
MARY: I spent a lot of time just thinking. I didn't like what I saw. It is so easy to pretend we don't care, just to cover up. It really hurts but when we begin to hurt enough and to care enough we can do something about it.
Responsibilities to Al-Anon and AA
All Al-Anon and Alateen members have their priorities. Recovering alcoholics see Al-Anon as a program which enlarges the scope of recovery, but does not conflict with the need for sobriety.
PEGGY: AA taught me how to live with me--to accept me for what I am. It taught me that I didn't have to drink in order to do that. My first responsibility is to AA for my continued sobriety. With sobriety I have a chance to live.
MARY: My husband objected to my attendance at Al-Anon and AA. I go despite the objections. I attend regularly because through these meetings I have achieved a more personal contact with my Higher Power and my life has become much more meaningful.
BILL: I go to AA to stay sober, to remind myself that I am powerless over alcohol; I go to Al-Anon to learn more about living with other people. I'm powerless over them, too.
Feeling Comfortable at Al-Anon Meetings
BILL: When I go to an Al-Anon meeting, I do not say I am alcoholic. I concentrate on identifying as a concerned family member. At Al-Anon, my focus is on letting go and getting another perspective.
PEGGY: In the beginning I had some trouble deciding to attend Al-Anon. If I had known there were others with the same story, I might have come sooner. Then too, I had quite a hang-up left over from my early days in AA. I was afraid they all felt as I did--that a female drunk is the lowest of all creatures! I was sure that only an alcoholic could understand another alcoholic. The love and understanding my Al-Anon friends gave me has helped me to lead a life of relative peace and serenity even though my husband continues to drink. Now I have the best of both worlds, AA and Al-Anon.
The 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. We 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 nod dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.
Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We 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.