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You can’t choose your family and you can’t ignore real love - which is all very good news for the struggling alcoholics and drug addicts of the world, because there’s no denying that living with an addict can be heartbreaking…and a real pain in the behind.

This is why so many family members find the support of Al Anon meetings so helpful, and the wisdom and experience of the group so authentic, hard earned and truthful.

Does someone you love abuse drugs or alcohol? Does this substance abuse dominate the family dynamic, cause tension and discord and have you behaving in ways you never imagined you would?

Well, if so, you owe it to yourself to at least give Al Anon a try, because as they say to newcomers, “Try Al-Anon for six meetings.  If you are not 100% satisfied, we'll gladly refund your misery!1

The three main reasons why people go to Al Anon meetings are:

  1. To learn more about the disease of alcoholism and to dig into how alcoholism in the family has affected your own physical and mental health
  2. To gain friendship, emotional support and wisdom from other people going through some very similar familial trials
  3. To improve yourself – by working the 12 steps for yourself you can change the way you think and act in your dealings with others2

If you’re not sure if it’s right for you, spend a minute with the following quotes to get a taste for the kind of thinking you’ll find at a meeting near you. If what you read makes sense on at least some level, then you might as well give a meeting a try.

Al Anon Quotes and Wisdom

  • Alcoholism: You didn't CAUSE it, You can't CONTROL it, and You can't CURE it!
  • You Can Control Yourself, You Can Change Yourself, You Can Cure Yourself3
  • Anger can be constructive in telling me that someone else is stepping on some boundaries that I need to enforce.
  • I am not responsible for other people’s happiness.
  • My Happiness is My Responsibility
  • I cannot give other people the status of my Higher Power
  • I want to be able to respond, not react.
  • The difference between pity and compassion – pity elevates me, compassion is empathy for another’s humanness.
  • Pain is something that comes and goes, suffering is something we hold on to.
  • When I blame someone else for something, I give up my power to them.
  • What you think of me is none of my business.
  • Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t be mean when you say it.4
  • Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires.5
  • I didn't cause it, but if I recognize that I may have contributed to it, then I need to own that part: only that part!6
  • I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day…Tomorrow's not looking good either!
  • Lord, put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth7

Is Al Anon Right for You?

Well, you won’t know for sure unless you give a meeting a try, but according to Al Anon’s publication literature, people who may find meetings helpful include:

  1. People who grew up with a problem drinker in the family
  2. People who are currently troubled by someone’s drinking

Some signs that a loved one’s drinking negatively affects you (and that you might find a meeting helpful) include

  • You lie about or cover up for a loved one’s drinking
  • You worry about the drinking
  • Drinking in the family causes money problems
  • You blame your loved one’s friends for the drinking
  • You’ve made threats to end a relationship unless the drinking stops
  • You secretly try to see if your loved one has been drinking, such as by smelling his or her breath
  • You often have to change or cancel plans because of the drinking
  • You sometimes search for hidden alcohol
  • You worry about upsetting your loved one lest you set off his or her drinking
  • Drinking sometimes spoils holidays or family get-togethers
  • You sometimes get in a car with a loved-one who has been drinking
  • Sometimes you turn down social invitations because you’re worried about what might happen if you attended8
References
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Page last updated Jan 07, 2013

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