Is someone else’s drinking affecting your life?
Understanding the problem
“The alcoholic is a sick person suffering from a disease for which there is no known cure – that is, no cure in the sense that he or she will ever be able to drink moderately, like a nonalcoholic, for any sustained period. Because it is an illness – a physical compulsion combined with a mental obsession to drink – the alcoholic must learn to stay away from alcohol completely in order to live a normal life.”*
What can you do?
Millions of alcoholics have attained sobriety in A.A., and knowing that, “you may be impatient to ‘do something’ for the alcoholic in your life. You may want to explain that alcoholism is an illness and urge the alcoholic to read A.A. literature and head straight for the nearest A.A. meeting. Sometimes this approach works …. But, in fact, most alcoholics are not eager and ready to turn to A.A. just because a loved one suggests it.”
“You can develop a good and, if possible, firsthand knowledge of the A.A. program, so that when the alcoholic is ready, you will be in a good position to help.”*
For many family members and friends of A.A. members and of alcoholics who may need A.A., meeting others who understand their problems and challenges, can be helpful. We encourage you to contact Manitoba & NW Ontario Al-Anon Family Groups. Al-Anon seeks to help people who are impacted by their loved ones’ alcoholism. Manitoba & NW Ontario Al-Anon also has a fellowship, Alateen, for young people whose parents are alcoholics. You can find Manitoba & NW Ontario Al-Anon online at mbnwo-alanon.org.
You can also attend an open A.A. meeting. A.A. meetings are designated as either “open” or “closed.” Every meeting will have either an “O” for open or a “C” for closed next to it in the meeting listing. Anyone may attend an open meeting, whether or not he or she identifies as an alcoholic. We encourage anyone who wishes to learn more about A.A. to attend an open meeting. Closed meetings are limited to people with a desire to stop drinking. If you have a desire to stop drinking, you are welcome at any closed meeting of A.A.
*Reprinted from “Is There an Alcoholic in Your Life? …A.A.’s Message of Hope” with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc. Read the entire pamphlet on aa.org by clicking here.