April Alcohol Awareness Month Sheds Light on the Misconceptions of Alcoholism

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Al-Anon Family Groups provide hope and support for anyone who is troubled by someone else’s drinking. Nevertheless, many avoid help for fear of judgement by others.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

He was supposed to pick me up from the airport. He didn’t show up. I called him and everyone I knew who would know where he was. We found him passed out in the car in the airport’s parking lot.

During Alcohol Awareness Month, misconceptions about the disease of alcoholism are addressed, reducing the barriers for those who need help. “I have isolated myself from my friends and relatives,” said Janie, an anonymous visitor who commented on a “First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery” podcast. Janie said, “No one knows what I’m going through. I’m depressed and totally stressed out. I think I’m afraid to seem weak and let my guard down, or I don’t want to admit that he has a problem.”

Living with the effects of a loved one’s alcoholism is a serious problem for many. Results of a recent Gallup Poll reveal that 36% of Americans report family-related problems due to alcohol. Pamela Walters, Al-Anon Family Groups Information Analyst, said, “Studies show that mental, physical and emotional health can be significantly impacted when trying to cope with a friend or family member’s alcohol problem. A person’s performance on the job can be affected, as well as their daily functioning in other areas.”

Janie said, “He was supposed to pick me up from the airport. He didn’t show up. I called him and everyone I knew who would know where he was. We found him passed out in the car in the airport’s parking lot.”

While many are aware that alcoholism is a disease and not a moral failing, there is still much confusion. Walters said, “It is difficult to understand why one person can pick up a drink and put it down, and another cannot. Our lack of awareness only serves to compound the problems faced by a problem drinker’s loved ones, when they will not speak of their troubles or seek help for fear they will be judged.”

“With more than one in three Americans in 2015 struggling with someone else’s problem drinking, it is important for people to know there are resources available that can help, ” said Walters.

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 al-anon.org and read a copy of Al-Anon’s annual public outreach magazine “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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