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Anyone been to Al-Anon?

(25 Posts)
suzied Sat 09-Feb-19 13:04:37

Has anyone been to Al-Anon? did they find it helpful?

farview Sat 09-Feb-19 14:01:08

One of my closest friends did..she found the support,advice etc really helped her...

dbDB77 Sat 09-Feb-19 14:09:23

Yes I did - many years ago when married to an alcoholic - everyone there is in the same position of having a close relative/partner who is an alcoholic and so they understand what it's like - and that understanding gives tremendous support. We also had more than a few good laughs - black humour no doubt but a real tonic in terrible times. I recommend them.

leyla Sat 09-Feb-19 14:44:30

My MIL has found it a huge source of support and also made some lovely friends.

NanaMacGeek Sat 09-Feb-19 15:02:19

Soon after I brought my DS home after he had detoxed in hospital, I attended an Al-anon group. I was raw and upset (having only recently discovered DS's alcohol dependence) and found I wanted to shout at them. The group were all about supporting one another, acceptance, protecting themselves, not blaming themselves and not enabling their loved ones. I just wanted to know how to get my DS into recovery. I felt that they pitied me. I never went back.

Looking back, I wasn't being fair on Al-anon, the people attending had tried their best to help their loved ones over many years, but they were all living with and loving active alcoholics, some with other dependencies as well. I saw how bad living with alcohol dependency can be. I'm glad I fought for rehab for my DS and got it. The Al-anon group I attended had no advice for someone like me who had been asked by DS for help to recover though.

andycameron69 Sat 09-Feb-19 16:48:19

I went for 12 years when living with an alcoholic. I was in a terrible mess, and I found the meetings most helpful and supportive. I could identify with the people there. I made friends too, and I got my balance and sanity back.

Thank you to Al-Anon.

Also thank you all here who posted on this topic.
Today my life is much better.

dbDB77 Sun 10-Feb-19 00:39:12

Perhaps NanaMacGeek you didn't want to hear their advice? "Let go with love" - recovery has to come from within the alcoholic themself - it is so easy to become a facilitator enabling the alcoholic in their drinking by covering up for them - letting go is difficult enough when the alcoholic is a husband - but a child? Your son? My heart goes out to you. I hope he is now fully recovered.

NanaMacGeek Sun 10-Feb-19 01:49:50

My DS asked for our help, there was no advice from Al-Anon about how to actually help him. No contacts for counselling, rehab advice, just dont't blame myself and don't enable him.

Yes, he has been in recovery for several years now. It has been tough for him (and us) and I am in awe of his courage. But Al-Anon were no help at all. Perhaps, if he had lapsed (and I am aware that will always be a possibility), I would have needed them but there is precious little help for the family where someone is actually managing to stay sober. It is a secret (my DS's wish) that has isolated us from all but the closest family.

Anniebach Sun 10-Feb-19 08:37:03

Let go with love ? Easy to do, cut your child out of your life .

Humbertbear Sun 10-Feb-19 09:11:07

Suzied - thank you for your post. I hope you go to Al-Anon and get some support. My husband who has finally admitted that he has a problem. He has received help via our GP and attends group counselling several times a week as well as having a key worker meeting once a week. I hadn’t realised just how much alcohol abuse was changing his personality.
I recently saw the movie Beautiful Boy , about drug addiction, and in America they use the three ‘c’s’ For family and these have become my mantra.
You didn’t Cause it
You can’t Control it
You can’t Cure it.
I hope this helps you too.

suzied Sun 10-Feb-19 09:11:44

Thank you for these responses. It seems it is useful in supporting the relative, but its less helpful in helping the relative support the alcoholic in their lives. Plus I guess it depends on the individuals in any particular group at any one time? I am a bit worried that it may be a bit quasi - religious?

suzied Sun 10-Feb-19 09:13:43

Crossed posts Humbertbear good to hear your husband is getting support.

Marelli Sun 10-Feb-19 09:28:27

‘Letting go with love’ isn’t cutting your child out of your life, though, Anniebach. It’s about our acceptance that they will follow that particular path until they are ready to accept that they need help to recover.
The First Step is more or less that we have no power or control over what another person chooses to do.
Although my family member hasn’t got an alcohol dependency issue, he has misused substances over many years. At present he’s doing well. So am I, and I put this down to my own attendance at a Families Anonymous group over the last couple of years. This is a similar group that follows the same guidelines as AlAnon, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc. It’s not about recommendations for different support groups that will get him off these substances, but about how we look after ourselves. How we learn to back off, and not always to be there to pick up the pieces, give money to pay bills (which will more than likely go a different way). In other words, to learn how not to ‘enable’. By gradually learning how to do this, and admitting to myself that I can do nothing to actually stop the dependency, has enabled me to ‘let go with love’.
My stepping back has been helping my family member to accept that I also have a life, one that doesn’t revolve around his dependency.

Marelli Sun 10-Feb-19 09:32:31

Suzied, that was one of the first wee stumbling blocks I felt - that there was a religious aspect to it. However, the ‘Higher Power’ is whatever we perceive it to be. Whatever we feel comfortable with. It can be Nature, or even the group itself.

Anniebach Sun 10-Feb-19 10:01:40

Marelli, your post possibly explains the rise in the number of people sleeping on the streets . If so they should remain there until they decide to give up their addiction ?

Anniebach Sun 10-Feb-19 10:04:10

My children were/are the centre of my life, some may be able to shut the door on their child and say - your on your own but I let you go with love , I have my own life to live

Humbertbear Sun 10-Feb-19 10:20:03

Suzied - this is such a complicated issue. My sister nearly died through alcoholism and we could get very little help. I found I was drawn into a web of lies and once I stopped lying on her behalf the stress was eased. But then I found was that it was all people wanted to talk about! In the case of my husband, very few people know. We haven’t even told our son because we know he will stop us looking after the GC. To be honest, it’s his own fault, as I told him I had given his father an ultimatum and as a result he was in counselling but he never pursued the matter and has never asked how it is going. I have a very sympathetic GP but of course I can’t take up too much of his time. I hope you find some help and support.

Anniebach Sun 10-Feb-19 10:40:26

Humbertbear it is a complicated issue , not the black and white of A A

Marelli Sun 10-Feb-19 11:06:34

Anniebach, my children are also the centre of my life, and dealing with a family member’s addiction issue has helped him, as well as myself to deal with it.

Anniebach Sun 10-Feb-19 11:17:12

Marelli, we have different views on caring for our children, I could not and did not ‘let my child go with love’ and carrying on with my own life . I don’t know but I think I could have if it was my husband but my child ? No way.

Marelli Sun 10-Feb-19 11:26:13

Anniebach, I have to point out here that I care very, very deeply for all of my children. More than anything or anyone.
I'm not going to enter into a discussion about it, other than to say 'letting go with love' isn't what it actually sounds like.

Anniebach Sun 10-Feb-19 11:35:47

Marelli it is what it sounds like, I too went to A A , straight forward advice , even paying for a mobile phone was enabling . If you choose not to enter into a discussion about letting you child go with love , your choice . Pity because those with children with problems need to hear the views of parents of children with problems

Marelli Sun 10-Feb-19 11:43:47

Of course I would enter a discussion, Anniebach. If I thought what had helped me, would help someone else, of course I would.

NanaMacGeek Sun 10-Feb-19 13:24:57

I've posted about my experience of Al-Anon and dealing with someone I love, who had asked for help and was determined to break his dependence on alcohol. I needed help to help him. I got help by paying for it. There was no divine intervention (or none that I could see). All the platitudes about letting DS reach rock bottom and admit he needed help were totally irrelevant. He'd done that. Where was the help at that point?

The only support my DH and I had after DS's rehab was that my DS's counsellor set up a couple of extra 1:1 sessions for my DS when, feeling desperate, we warned him that DS was struggling. The counsellor went beyond his remit, there was no charge.

I wouldn't say that Al-Anon doesn't help but it really depends on your circumstances. My DS regularly attends AA meetings, but what helps him is that he can talk openly to others who know how he feels. I can't say the same for Al-Anon because they seemed to think that there was nothing I could do but protect myself and not enable DS.

Marelli Sun 10-Feb-19 15:58:59

NanaMcGeek, I understand what you mean about your son being able to talk openly to the others in his group. This was how I felt at FA. I hadn't been able to talk about anything to do with my close family member's dependency issues to anyone at all. To be able to hear how others coped and how they had learned to approach different problems without feeling they, or their own family members were being judged, helped me a lot.
I think it will depend on the circumstances, because 'one cap may not fit all', but in my own case FA has been such a help.
My family member hasn't hit rock - bottom, though he had been very close to it at one point. He is doing fine at present.
One day at a time.