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Al-Anon opens the conversation about alcoholism

Maria Glotfelter
Features Writer

Alcoholism is a problem that affects not only the problem drinker, but also their family members. Living with a family member who is a problem drinker can wear heavily on someone. Al-Anon provides an open environment where these family members and friends can come and discuss their issues. Al-Anon members do not focus on giving advice, but rather how they use to program as a support system. When is drinking a problem? Al-Anon provides some questions that you can ask to determine the answer:

Do you worry about how much someone else drinks?
Are plans frequently upset or canceled because of the drinker?
Do you worry about how much someone else drinks?

These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself to analyze the state of the problem. Al-Anon emphasizes that the person does not have to be an alcoholic for there to be a problem. If the drinking is bothering and affecting you, that is good enough for Al-Anon.

Why should family members and/or friends seek help? Having support while dealing with alcoholism is exceedingly helpful. Whether or not the problem-drinker themselves is receiving help is beside the point: Al-Anon focuses on helping the individuals who are attending the meetings. In order to improve their own situation, family members need to feel supported. Even if the problem-drinker is going through their own path to recovery, there will still be trials and struggles ahead. Al-Anon can help get family members through those trials. They stress recovery as an ongoing process for everybody involved. By first focusing on themselves, family members can learn tips and tricks to then subsequently learn how to better approach the problem-drinker.

Al-Anon provides peer-to-peer support, not advice. You will not be lectured or told what to do at an Al-Anon people, but you will be able to share your experiences and emphasize with other people. There are two different types of Al-Anon meetings: open and closed. An open meeting welcomes guests, students and professionals who are interested in learning more about Al-Anon and what they do. A closer group meeting is specifically for anyone who has suffered as a result of another person’s drinking.

Al-Anon meetings are completely anonymous. Anything said at the meeting will stay there. According to Al-Anon, “Anonymity helps keeps the emphasis on principles that can help solve personal problems, rather than on the personal situations that are part of the problem.” This emphasis helps people open up about a topic that is normally hard to talk about.

There are several AlAnon meeting locations right here in Lancaster. In Lancaster, an Al-Anon group meets Wednesdays at 8:00pm at the Bethany Presbyterian Church on 25 N. West End Avenue. Several other meeting locations also exist in Lancaster, Lebanon, Ephrata, Lititz, and New Holland.