Self-Assessment Available for the Friends and Families of Alcoholics During Alcohol Awareness Month

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Alcohol Awareness month can be a good time for the friends and families of alcoholics to get the help they need from Al-Anon Family Groups.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

Whether or not the drinker comes to realize they have a problem, friends and family members can find the support they need in Al-Anon Family Groups meetings.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. It is estimated that 18 million Americans have a drinking problem, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). According to commonly accepted healthcare provider estimates, each problem drinker can significantly affect the lives of at least four other people. “Alcohol Awareness Month may be the catalyst for those who have been affected by someone else’s drinking, to get help,” said Pamela Walters, Information Analyst at Al-Anon’s World Service Office in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “Whether or not the drinker comes to realize they have a problem, friends and family members can find the support they need in Al-Anon Family Groups meetings,” Walters said.

During Alcohol Awareness Month, friends and relatives may agonize over the condition of their loved one. They may hope that the problem drinker in their life gets the help they need.

There are four simple questions the friends and family members of problem drinkers can answer in the “Family CAGE test” to identify if someone else’s alcoholism is contributing to any of their problems.*

The CAGE gets its name from the first letters of the words capitalized below. It asks if anyone in the family has:

  • Tried to CUT down their drinking?
  • Been ANNOYED by complaints about drinking?
  • Felt GUILTY about drinking?
  • Had an EYE-OPENER – a drink when first waking up in the morning?

An answer of yes to any of the above questions indicates the likelihood that the family disease of alcoholism is present. One person’s problem with alcohol can negatively impact his or her family, friends, co-workers and more.

“We urge anyone who is troubled by someone else’s drinking to visit Al-Anon’s website for local Al-Anon meeting information,” said Pamela Walters. “There are many helpful resources on the site including podcasts with anonymous Al-Anon members, many of whom are dealing with the same problems.”

Throughout Alcohol Awareness month, more than a thousand community based organizations, colleges and military installations worldwide will be offering anonymous self-assessments for alcohol use disorders at in-person events and online.

Al-Anon Family Groups are for friends and families 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 alcoholics since 1951. Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., also known as the World Service Office, 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, 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.

*S.H. Frank, A.V. Graham AV, S.J. Zyzanski, S. White, “Use of the Family CAGE in Screening for Alcohol Problems in Primary Care,” Arch Fam Med. 1992 Nov; 1(2):209-16.

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