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Spouses of alcoholics have two options — they can leave the alcoholic or they can seek help and understanding in order to live with the person they love.
Ann chose the second option. For several years Ann has been attending Al-Anon. Ann is not her real name and her identity is protected because Al-Anon is an anonymous group, but she agreed to share her personal struggles in an interview with the Whitecourt Star.
Going to Al-Anon has helped Ann deal with the devastating disease of alcoholism.
“Instead of trying to fix the alcoholic we are just trying to lead happier and more manageable lives ourselves,” she said.
“After being in Al-Anon myself it has allowed me to see the person instead of the disease. For many years I just saw the disease and it’s horrible. Now I can see the person again.”
Although there has been much discussion about alcoholism, it is widely considered a disease, just as most addictions are. Ann said she wanted to share her story for National Addictions Awareness Week, which was held Nov. 18-22.
Ann wants spouses, children, friends and family members of alcoholics to know there is help out there. There are other people living with the same disease as they are.
“Alcoholism is a disease but the disease also affects the people around the alcoholic,” said Ann. “Just like alcoholism can distort the thinking of the alcoholic it can distort the thinking of the people around the alcoholic.”
Al-Anon is a support group for people living with an alcoholic. The focus of the group is not to blame the alcoholic or even focus on the drinker but rather to learn how to deal with the problem to live a happier life.
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