New Survey Shows Al-Anon Members Seek Help When Faced with Abuse from an Alcoholic

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Recent results of Al-Anon’s membership survey shed light on abuse experienced by people who have had close relationships with alcoholics.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

The survey shows that living in an abusive situation is not unusual for people in close relationships with a problem drinker.

Fifty-nine percent of Al-Anon members have experienced some kind of abuse from a person in their lives with a past or present drinking problem. This troubling statistic comes from Al-Anon’s most recent membership survey, which provides a statistical portrait of Al-Anon Family Group members.

Of the Al-Anon members who reported they have experienced abuse, 96% said they have experienced emotional abuse in their relationship with an alcoholic, while 93% said they have experienced verbal abuse.

Al-Anon members also reported physical abuse (45%) and sexual abuse (20%).

“The survey shows that living in an abusive situation is not unusual for people in close relationships with a problem drinker,” says Pamela Walters, Information Analyst with Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. “This experience can have long-term effects that are not always evident while the abuse is still taking place.”

The good news is that many Al-Anon members sought professional help for health and emotional issues related to their abuse. Relatively few of those who reported they have experienced abuse are still experiencing emotional abuse (14%) and verbal abuse (15%). Even fewer continue to experience physical (1%), and sexual (2%) abuse.

“Al-Anon Family Groups provide peer support for people who have faced common problems related to the alcoholism of someone close to them. For many, the process of recovery also includes seeking professional help. The combination of professional help and the shared strength and hope available in Al-Anon is a powerful one,” says Ms. Walters.

From September to October of 2012, the Al-Anon Family Groups World Service Office (WSO) conducted the Membership Survey of its members located in the U.S., Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Canada. More than 3,200 Al-Anon members participated.

The survey has been conducted every three years since 1984. It provides data on the demographic characteristics of Al-Anon’s membership, and the health benefits members may come to realize in learning to cope with the negative effects of someone else’s problem drinking.

For the full results from Al-Anon’s most recent Membership Survey, refer to the “For Professionals” section on Al-Anon’s Web site, http://www.al-anon.alateen.org.

Al-Anon Family Groups are for families and friends who have been affected by the problem drinking of someone close to them. Nearly 16,000 local groups meet every week throughout the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. 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, its program for teenage members.

For more information about Al-Anon Family Groups, go to http://www.al-anon.alateen.org, or read a copy of "Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2013." 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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