Alanon is an organisation that some people find useful and others don’t. It is the main family group for people who live with an alcoholic. If you are someone who hates being in groups, hates talking about yourself and your life, and hates being given advice then Alanon is almost certainly not a place that you will be comfortable. On the other hand if you like being part of a community, like the feeling that you are not alone, that there are others in the same situation, then Alanon may be somewhere that you would find helpful.
Living with an alcoholic is a difficult situation and anything that provides you with support is welcome. We at Bottled Up welcome any organisation that helps and supports people who live with an alcoholic or problem drinker. We believe that we should be united in a common cause. However, there are some fundamental differences in our beliefs and under-pinning philosophies. One of the main differences is discussed at some length in the page on Alanon and Powerlessness and so we won’t go over it again here.
If you feel that you would like to try Alanon and think that the human contact would be useful then we urge you to try it. In fact try anything that gives you help – Alanon included.
Detach from the alcoholic
One of the features of Alanon that we support is their advice to the person who lives with an alcoholic that they should “Detach from the alcoholic”. In Alanon they teach that you did not Cause the alcoholism, you can’t Control it and you can’t Cure it. In another article we take some issue with some of the implications of that philosophy (read Alanon and Powerlessness) but nevertheless we still believe that detaching is an important, if not crucial, strategy in living with an alcoholic.
Too often people who live with an alcoholic will spend much of their time thinking about and reacting to their drinking. Indeed, Alanon suggests that they can become obsessed by whether they are drinking, how often and how much. However Alanon also are quite clear that worrying about their drinking is not going to change it! In this we agree with Alanon!
In order to survive, Alanon’s advice to people who live with an alcoholic is that they need to detach from their drinker. They suggest that they get a life for themselves and live more independently of the drinker. In other articles we will discuss how Bottled Up differs in some quite fundamental ways from Alanon. But, if you feel that you may benefit from being part of an Alanon group then go to a meeting and try it out for yourself. It may be be very helpful.