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When Recovery's For Everyone Else

15 June 2017 Written by 

A few weeks ago I attended an Al-Anon Day of Workshops. It was fun, we played some games, and there was lots of food. Al-Anon is the 12 Step program for family members who have been impacted by addiction. When I told people where I was going on Saturday, they had some surprising reactions. 

Betty thought of her mother-in-law

My trainer, Betty, is concerned about her husband, Jeff, an orphaned child of an alcoholic, who happens to be a drinker himself. Betty talks a lot about her worries that Jeff's drinking may escalate into full blown alcoholism. Betty hadn’t heard about Al Anon and didn't think about herself. When I told her about the workshop I was attending the next day, her reaction was surprise that her mother-in-law or husband, who had been so affected by the husband/dad's alcoholism hadn’t used it. It did not occur to Betty that Al Anon might help answer her burning questions.

Dan dismissed it

A colleague, Dan, has an alcoholic father who died of the disease. Now he has a heroin addict/alcoholic daughter, Ellie, who lost custody of her two young children a year ago. Dan believes Ellie is “pretty much” sober now because she’s just taking methadone, is drinking a six pack a day, and maybe smokes some pot. Dan believes Ellie is okay to get her children back because she was so much worse before. Dan hadn’t heard of Al-Anon, nor was he willing to see what it was all about.

Oliver didn’t think his wife's addiction had anything to do with him

Oliver’s young wife Bela went to rehab soon after they married. An intellectual about most things, Oliver did not do any research on addiction. Oliver celebrated Bela’s graduation from rehab by taking her away to a weekend with friends where everyone partied nonstop, a recipe for instant relapse. Oliver doesn’t think addiction is his problem. Addiction was her problem. So Bela had to leave him to get sober.

So, just from the reactions of these three colleagues the day before the workshop, it was clear to me that people resist addiction education. They just don't want associaton with the disease. That's too bad. When all of us who are impacted by addiction feel free to learn about the dynamics of addiction and how it changes a family, we will find solutions to the tragedy. I hope it doesn’t take another 80 years for Al Anon to catch on.

Content Originally Published By: Leslie Glass @ Reach Out Recovery

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Read 3903 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 August 2017 18:06
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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass is the winner of the American Society of Addiction Medicine 2016 Media Award for her groundbreaking documentary "The Secret World Of Recovery." She is a journalist, playwright, the author of 15 novels and the founder of Reach Out Recovery. She is the producer/director of "The Secret World Of Recovery," and the teen addiction prevention documentary "The Silent Majority" which was distributed by American Public Television to all PBS stations in 2015. Leslie is currently developing more websites and technology to further the recovery and healthy living cause.
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