If People Think It’s Only Alcohol

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During April Alcohol Awareness Month, Al-Anon Family Groups address the impact on family members and friends of those who drink too much alcohol. While alcohol may be a legal substance, when it is abused it causes devastating effects for the drinkers and their loved ones.

Al-Anon Family Groups - Strength and hope for friends and families of alcoholics

Al-Anon Family Groups

He doesn’t seem to care how badly it hurts me to see him literally drinking his life away.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 16.3 million people aged 12 or older are heavy alcohol users in the United States. During Alcohol Awareness Month, Al-Anon shines a light on the estimated six people who are affected by each of these drinkers.

“He never comes home when he drinks,” said Angel, an anonymous commenter on an Al-Anon “First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery” podcast. “I sit up all night, freaking out. He doesn’t seem to care how badly it hurts me to see him literally drinking his life away. So he keeps telling me he will only drink occasionally. Last night he proved that was not the case. His friend comes over and he asks me if I mind if he drinks with him. Of course I mind. Barely two months ago he totaled my car!”

Another anonymous commenter on an Al-Anon podcast said, “I told my mom I was sorry I hadn’t been answering the phone after 7 pm because I have been waking up so early for work. That was really only part of the answer. After her angry and harassing drunk calls, my anxiety skyrockets. I can’t think. I want to vomit. I can’t get work done.”

When denial causes the drinker and their loved ones to think, "it’s only alcohol," they might consider how much it is actually affecting their lives. There is help available in Al-Anon for anyone who is affected by someone else’s alcoholism.

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 al-anon.org 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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