In Al-Anon a Woman Overcomes the Effects of Her Father’s Drinking

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An article in the July issue of Al-Anon's "The Forum" magazine features a woman who grew up in an alcoholic family. She talks about how, with the help of Al-Anon, she came to understand herself and to become a better mother.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

My father drank and my mother was the crazy one who tried to control it all.

The July issue of "The Forum" magazine from Al-Anon Family Groups features the story of a woman who always felt there was something wrong with her. When people laughed, she assumed they were laughing at her. She always walked with her head down and did not look at people she passed on the street. She felt terrified of anyone in a position of authority.

Information Analyst Pamela Walters from Al-Anon Family Groups said, “The story, ‘I am finding out who I am—One Day at a Time,’ was written by an Al-Anon member who grew up in an alcoholic family.” Walters said, “According to Al-Anon’s membership survey, the author is not unique. Almost half of all Al-Anon members grew up with an alcoholic father, and 20 percent had an alcoholic mother.”

Sharon is the anonymous Al-Anon member and author who grew up in an alcoholic home. “My father drank and my mother was the crazy one who tried to control it all,” Sharon said. “I grew up with a lot of shame and guilt. I never believed I was good at anything. I still have a hard time talking in front of people today. I do not blame my parents. They did the best they could with what they had at the time.”

Sharon said, “My husband and I got married right after high school. He was well on his way to becoming an alcoholic, but I knew nothing about alcoholics at that point and thought his drinking was normal. When my son was three months old, I went back to work because the bills were not being paid. My husband would watch the baby while I worked evenings. After my second son was born, the financial pressures got worse. I didn’t know how I was going to survive. I felt trapped in a marriage that was not good and knew I had nowhere else to turn.”

Sharon said, “I heard about Al-Anon through one of my jobs. I had no idea what it was and thought it was for falling-down drunks. I kept up with the façade that I had the perfect family. But whenever someone was willing to listen to my troubles, I would spill my guts, cry, and then feel guilty. Al-Anon taught me to look in the mirror each morning and tell myself that I am a good person. I took self-inventories and learned to put the good with the bad. I had a hard time finding anything good about myself at first."

“I have a daughter who is 15 and is doing well,” Sharon said. “She grew up not knowing the old crazy me. I think I was more available to her. My husband does not drink and was involved in A.A. for quite a few years. Today, I can ask questions. It’s okay if I answer something only to find out that it is wrong. That is how I learn. I am finding out who I am—One Day at a Time.”

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, its program for teenage members.

For more information about Al-Anon Family Groups, go to and read a copy of “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2015.” Find a local meeting by calling toll-free: 1-888-4AL-ANON.

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Pamela Walters
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