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Friends, family feel alcoholism affects

You don’t have to drink to suffer from alcoholism, according to Al-Anon, a self-help recovery program founded in 1951 for families and close friends of alcoholics. Those closest to an alcoholic are deeply affected by the disease of alcoholism — emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Although the root of their problem is not always easy to pinpoint, people involved with alcoholics almost always feel that there is something about themselves that doesn’t seem quite right. That something might be a sense of sadness, an inability to concentrate, or an obsession with their problems that leaves little time for anything else.

In Al-Anon, members recover from the devastating effects of alcoholism by taking the focus off the problem drinker and placing it on themselves. That doesn’t mean they stop loving the alcoholic; it means they no longer allow themselves to be manipulated or hurt by someone else’s actions. Often, as they grow stronger and healthier, the alcoholics in their families also become willing to seek help.

Al-Anon, an international fellowship based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, is free and nonprofessional. There are no dues for membership. It is self-supporting through members’ own voluntary contributions.

Alateen is for those ages 12-20 whose lives have been affected by alcoholism in a family member or close friend. Its purpose is for young people to come together to share experience, strength and hope with each other and learn effective ways to cope with their problems. Every Alateen group has one or two adult members of Al-Anon to serve as sponsors.

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of both Al-Anon and Alateen. Religion is not discussed nor does either group become involved with any outside organizations. Their sole topic is the solution of their problems. The only membership requirement is that a relative or friend has a drinking problem.

source: Inside Bay Area

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