Renowned Expert Reveals Three Things Children Need to Recover From a Parent’s Alcoholism

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In a newly released Al-Anon podcast interview, the National Director of Children's Programs at the Betty Ford Center discusses how Al-Anon and Alateen can help families and children affected by a loved one’s drinking.

Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers

Al-Anon Family Groups

What we know is that one out of every four children in the United States, today, is growing up in a family and they love someone who suffers from the disease of alcoholism.

The National Director of Children’s Programs, Jerry Moe, at the Betty Ford Center, a part of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, said in a podcast interview with Al-Anon Family Groups during National Recovery Month, we should be “very concerned” about the children who are exposed to a parent or other loved one’s drinking.

“What we know is that one out of every four children in the United States, today, is growing up in a family and they love someone who suffers from the disease of alcoholism,” said Moe.

Moe said, “I look at three important things for programs, specifically for boys and girls growing up in families that have been challenged and hurt by alcoholism.

“Number one, programs need to provide information – accurate, solid, age-appropriate information,” said Moe. “Boys and girls need to learn that alcoholism is a disease. And, in both the Al-Anon and Alateen programs, boys and girls, teenagers, and family members learn the three C’s: ‘I didn’t cause the alcoholism, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it.’ Also, boys and girls need to learn that they’re not alone. And, that’s the sad irony, I believe - one out of every four kids in the United States - and yet so many think and believe they’re the only ones contending with this problem.”

Moe continued, “Second – skill building, and in Alateen, boys and girls, teenagers, learn a variety of skills: communication skills, problem-solving skills, and ways to positively cope and take good care of themselves. They develop listening skills; they deepen emotional intelligence, and really get a sense of hope. In Alateen, they can build skills that can serve them for the rest of their lives, in all aspects of their lives.

“The third one is bonding and attachment. There’s something to be said about a sense of belonging, a sense of deep connection, feeling a part of something. And when grownups sit in a room where there’s an Al-Anon meeting, or teenagers are in an Alateen meeting, they report back to me, on a regular basis, that sense of camaraderie, hope, a sense of belonging. And, I believe these are key spiritual aspects that deepen one’s healing from this awful disease.”

“When it comes to information, skill building, and bonding and attachment, Alateen does this so very well,” said Moe.

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, visit and read a copy of Al-Anon’s annual public outreach magazine “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2016.” Find a local meeting by calling toll-free: 1-888-4AL-ANON.

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Pamela Walters
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