Alcoholism is a terrible affliction that affects up to 13% of the population. Although many people have heard of A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) for those who are alcoholics, not as many know about Al-Anon, a support group for those who are closely involved with an alcoholic (spouse, child, or parent). Adopting the twelve step recovery program that A.A. promotes, Al-Anon has a twelve step program of recovery.
Al-Anon is incredibly useful for COA’s (Children of Alcoholics). It is estimated that 1/5 American children grow up with an alcoholic parent, producing about 26.8 million COA’s living in America today. Growing up as a COA creates a very different childhood than one that is not a COA. These children are four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves, more likely to marry into an alcoholic family, and more likely to get a divorce. Also, because there is a strong genetic link in alcoholism to mental disorders, children of alcoholics are much more likely to have anxiety or depressive disorders.
If you have any of the following tendencies that commonly afflict those who grew up with a problem drinker, then Al-Anon may be helpful for you:
- You constantly seek approval and affirmation
- You fail to recognize your accomplishments
- You fear criticism
- You overextend yourself
- You have had problems with compulsive behaviors
- You have a need for perfection
- You are uneasy when your life is going smoothly, and you continually anticipate problems
- You feel more alive in the midst of a crisis
- You feel responsible for others as you did for the problem drinker in your life
- You care for others easily, but find it hard to care for yourself
- You isolate yourself from other people
- You respond with fear to authority figures and angry people
- You feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you
- You have trouble with intimate relationships
- You confuse pity with love
- You attract or seek people who tend to be compulsive and/or abusive
- You cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone
- You mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others
- You find it difficult to identify and express your emotions
- You think someone’s drinking may have affected you
- You are afraid of alcohol
The important thing to remember is: you are not alone. There are many other people who share the same experiences that you have, and Al-Anon is an anonymous place for you to learn how to cope with survivors just like you.
To find a local Al-Anon meeting place, you can search the internet, look at through the local white pages, or call 1-888-425-2666.