In Newly Released Interview, NIAAA Director Expresses Benefits of Al-Anon Participation for Friends and Families of Alcoholics

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In an interview released this month, Dr. Robert Huebner, Director of Treatment and Recovery Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), sat down with Pamela Walters, Marketing Information Analyst for Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., to talk about current research on the treatment options for alcohol use disorders, including alcohol abuse and alcoholism, as they pertain to the drinker and to the drinker’s family members and friends.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

I think the general pattern of evidence suggests a real and genuine benefit to participation in Al-Anon meetings, and we believe at NIAAA that it represents a great option for family or friends of people with alcohol use disorders.

Representing the leading funder of alcohol research in the world, Dr. Robert Huebner, NIAAA Director of Treatment and Recovery Research, said in a “First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery” podcast interview, “I think the general pattern of evidence suggests a real and genuine benefit to participation in Al-Anon meetings, and we believe at NIAAA that it represents a great option for family or friends of people with alcohol use disorders.”

“When looking at the benefits of Al-Anon for family members [of alcoholics], research on the potential therapeutic benefits of Al-Anon has shown that attending meetings is a good thing,” said Dr. Huebner. “It can bolster coping skills; reduce vulnerability to everyday stressors that we all face; it can also lead to reductions in family conflict, and increased satisfaction with relationships,” he said. “And, finally, it can increase self-esteem, which is always a challenging issue when living or being a part of a family system that has a person with alcohol use disorders.”

Walters said, “We hope this interview will help to reach those who suffer from the effects of a friend or family member’s drinking problems.” “In the face of desperation, it should be comforting for people to know there are options, and there is hope,” she said.

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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