The Twelve Steps may help the alcohol abuser, but what about those who have been abused?
Substance abuse is an issue in a number of Canadian families. The abuse of alcohol is known as alcoholism, and can be recognized by several symptoms according to the Mayo Clinic, a large medical research and treatment group, based in several U.S. cities, including Phoenix, Ariz.
Symptoms include “drinking alone or in secret, blacking out, feeling a need or compulsion to drink, becoming intentionally intoxicated to feel good or drinking to feel ‘normal’.”
These symptoms, however, are just that, symptoms. They are not the cause of the alcohol dependence.
“Genetics, emotional state, psychological factors and social and cultural factors” can all lead to a state of alcohol dependence, said a Mayo Clinic spokesperson on their website.
Luckily, people who have a dependence on alcohol have a place they can turn when they realize that their drinking has become a problem; Alcoholics Anonymous. This group provides support for and by alcoholics to help each other with their quest for sobriety.
“Members of Alcoholics Anonymous have only one purpose: to stay sober ourselves and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety,” said a New York AA spokesperson. One of the conventions of AA is members remain anonymous.
There is no charge for the service, and the only requirement for membership is a wish to become sober.
“There are no dues or fees for AA membership. Members are anonymous at the public level, and we keep no membership lists,” the spokesperson said.
However, it’s not only the drinker who suffers from the addiction. Family members, co-workers and friends can all suffer at the hands of an alcohol addiction, said an AA spokesperson on their website
Fortunately, Alcoholics Anonymous has made provisions for such an occurrence with two other organisations: Al-Anon and Alateen.
Al-Anon maintains alcoholism is not a private battle. It is, in reality, a family issue. It is not something that should be dealt with by any one individual. However, the family of the alcoholic may not know what to do, or know there is any help available.
“Family members need to hear that the emotions they feel are a normal reaction to alcoholism.
Full story at The Pioneer