Sixty Eight Percent of Americans are Aware That Al-Anon is for Friends and Families of Alcoholics

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As the disease of alcoholism ravages lives, increasing numbers of friends and family members are aware that help is available, as they are forced to witness the seemingly senseless self-destruction in a loved one.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

Awareness is the first step for people suffering from the devastating effects of a loved one’s alcoholism to get the help they need.

New results from a survey of the American public, conducted by the Al-Anon Family Groups World Service Office, reveal an increase of 6 percentage points, from 62% to 68%, in awareness of Al-Anon. Pamela Walters, Information Analyst at the Al-Anon Family Groups World Service Office said, “This awareness is the first step for people suffering from the devastating effects of a loved one’s alcoholism to get the help they need.”

Walters said, “Awareness is also important for people who are in a position to refer others.” Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist, Susan Masterson, of Virginia Behavioral Medicine, said, “A lot of the patients I refer to Al-Anon have heard of the organization, but they are unaware of the unique support it provides to people who are dealing with a loved one’s alcoholism. I tell them that Al-Anon meetings provide a safe and anonymous environment for people to talk with others who are going through similar, difficult situations.”

“Even when people are aware that help is available, there are other obstacles,” said Walters. Denial, shame, and fear were among those obstacles identified by the survey. Masterson said, “Alcoholism is often deeply threaded into the dynamic of some families. When people live in an alcoholic home, they may think the behavior is normal. They become desensitized, and the abuse and neglect just become a way of life.”

Masterson says she advocates awareness of the peer-to-peer support found in Al-Anon, along with professional counseling, for her patients who are dealing with someone else’s drinking. “Without a question, I believe that Al-Anon is a valuable resource; the more support and demystification of the problem, the better.”

Al-Anon Family Groups are for families and friends who have been affected by the drinking problem 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. 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, and read a copy of "Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2014." Find a local meeting by calling toll-free: 1-888-4AL-ANON.

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