Al-Anon Reminds Those Affected by Someone Else’s Alcohol Abuse or Alcoholism to Find a Meeting this Holiday Season

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For many families, alcoholism and alcohol abuse will darken the holidays with grief and loneliness. Al-Anon Family Groups can help.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

I don’t know where I would be today, especially during the holidays, if I hadn’t found Al-Anon.

Don’t let someone else’s alcohol abuse or alcoholism ruin your holidays this year. Al-Anon Family Groups are meeting in your city to provide support and understanding during this holiday season, and all year-round. Read on for a highlight from Al-Anon about one person's struggle with family members' drinking problems during the holidays.

Mary Ellen preferred to launch the holiday season with her husband and beagle around a cozy fire. Lights from the fireplace and Christmas tree made her living room sparkle. The scene matched an image Mary Ellen had of her house in a painting. Everything was perfect, until her husband started drinking.

Today, Mary Ellen is an anonymous member of Al-Anon Family Groups. She shares her first name and story to help people who are experiencing the impacts of a loved one’s alcoholism this year.

Mary Ellen recalls the way the holiday season affected her long ago. All of her cozy feelings dissolved until she felt isolated and abandoned. Her husband’s drinking created a vast distance between them. Eventually, Mary Ellen was completely alone.

“When I found Al-Anon Family Groups, I started to come back to life,” Mary Ellen said. “People in Al-Anon understand because they have lived through similar situations. Our experiences might be different, but our feelings are the same. I don’t know where I would be today, especially during the holidays, if I hadn’t found Al-Anon.”

Mary Ellen has managed to draw insights and even humor from her experiences with other people’s problem drinking. “Even the Christmas tree in our living room died prematurely,” Mary Ellen said, “because our dog kept drinking all of the water out of the tree stand.”

In Al-Anon, Mary Ellen came to understand herself better, realizing how her parents’ drinking problems helped shape her attitudes and expectations about the holidays. While she accepts that drinking problems occur in many families, recovery is readily available. Today, Mary Ellen no longer feels angry or alone.

Al-Anon Family Groups are for families and friends who have been affected by a loved one’s drinking. Nearly 16,000 local groups meet throughout the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico every week. Al-Anon Family Groups meet in more than 130 countries, and Al-Anon literature is available in more than 40 languages. Al-Anon Family Groups have been offering strength and support to families and friends of problem drinkers since 1951. Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. acts as the clearinghouse worldwide for inquiries from those who need help or want information about Al-Anon Family Groups and Alateen.

For more information about Al-Anon Family Groups, go to, or find a local meeting by calling toll-free: 1-888-4AL-ANON, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

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Pamela Walters
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