Al-Anon's Suggestions Minimize Holiday Conflicts Caused by Alcoholism

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Alcoholism can often conflict with family members’ expectations over the holidays. Al-Anon Family Groups offer support and hope.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

I thought my wife should take care of her own drinking problems, even though I was the one suffering from her behavior.

During this holiday season, your friends or family members may be suffering from the effects of someone else’s alcoholism. Support is available in Al-Anon meetings during the holidays, and all year-round. One Al-Anon member tells about the troubles he faced during the holidays due to his wife's drinking, and the help he found in Al-Anon at a friend's recommendation.

Holiday gatherings can be soothing and comfortable, or they can provoke irritation and conflicts. Relatives of problem drinkers often wish they were somewhere else.

Ronald, an anonymous member of Al-Anon Family Groups, used to endure his wife’s wild behavior at parties. Her boisterous antics included hurting people on the dance floor with her flying elbows. She caused constant apprehension and embarrassment. Ronald never knew what was coming next.

Finally someone suggested Ronald might try a local Al-Anon Family Group. He had never heard of Al-Anon, but the idea that he needed help because his wife had a drinking problem didn’t make sense to him. “I thought my wife should take care of her own problems,” he said, “even though I was the one suffering from her behavior.”

Al-Anon functions on a first-name-only basis for privacy, safety, and confidentiality, “Shame is what brought me to my first Al-Anon meeting,” Ronald said, “but anonymity and confidentiality is what kept me coming back.”

Ronald compares his holiday experiences today with some of the experiences he had in the past. “Today I can choose safe ways to celebrate the holidays. Although accidental situations might still feel embarrassing, I don’t have to take them personally. In Al-Anon I have learned simple ways to take care of myself.”

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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