Holiday gatherings can be soothing and comfortable, or they can provoke irritation and conflicts. Relatives of problem drinkers often wish they were somewhere else.
Ronald, an anonymous member of Al-Anon Family Groups, used to endure his wife’s wild behavior at parties. Her boisterous antics included hurting people on the dance floor with her flying elbows. She caused constant apprehension and embarrassment. Ronald never knew what was coming next.
Finally someone suggested Ronald might try a local Al-Anon Family Group. He had never heard of Al-Anon, but the idea that he needed help because his wife had a drinking problem didn’t make sense to him. “I thought my wife should take care of her own problems,” he said, “even though I was the one suffering from her behavior.”
Al-Anon functions on a first-name-only basis for privacy, safety, and confidentiality. “Shame is what brought me to my first Al-Anon meeting,” Ronald said, “but anonymity and confidentiality is what kept me coming back.”
Ronald compares his holiday experiences today with some of the experiences he had in the past. “Today I can choose safe ways to celebrate the holidays. Although accidental situations might still feel embarrassing, I don’t have to take them personally. In Al-Anon I have learned simple ways to take care of myself.”
Nearly 15,000 Al-Anon Family Groups meet every week throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information about Al-Anon Family Groups, go to www.Al-Anon.org or call 1-888-4AL-ANON during business hours, Eastern Time.
Locally, Al-Anon meetings are held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 7 p.m. Fridays at Huron Towers Room 108.For the complete article see the 12-30-2012 issue.
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