Did you know?
The Family Disease
by Betty Reddy
For family members, alcoholism causes a progressive inability to predict their own behaviour because of the growing pre-occupation with and reaction to another person's drinking. Generally speaking, if a person wonders whether alcoholism is the problem, it probably is.
Family members need to hear that the emotions they feel are a normal reaction to alcoholism.
Frequently, they experience a free-floating but persistent fear. They are afraid of the alcoholic's reactions and are prepared to settle for "peace at any price".
They worry about bills, accidents and job losses (the alcoholic's and, in some cases, their own).
As they attempt to deal with the unpredictable irrational behaviour of the drinker, they become confused and increasingly guilty and pre-occupied. As their lives become compulsively centered on trying to get the alcoholic to stop drinking through unsuccessful attempts to manipulate and control, most of their actions only enable the alcoholic to continue the drinking. Family members are caught in a cycle of repetitive non-helpful behaviour that leaves them frustrated, angry and alone. They feel helpless and hopeless.
Information on Al- Anon Groups
- Al-Anon is for anyone whose life has been affected by a problem drinker, including a co-worker.
- Alateen is specially for teenagers affected by someone else's drinking. Although part of Al-Anon, Alateen is an anonymous self-help fellowship based on the shared experience, strength and hope of its teenage members.
- Al-Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics is a self-help group for the adult child and follows the same guidelines as Al-Anon.
- Al-Anon membership is free and non-professional.
- Al-Anon complements professional therapy.
- Al-Anon is a spiritual program, not a religious one.
- Al-Anon, a non-denominational program is compatible with all religious beliefs.
- Al-Anon is an international fellowship, celebrated its 50th year of existence in 2001.
- In South Africa there are over 120 groups.
Some Facts and Statistics on Alcohol
- Alcoholism can often be identified through family members.
- Alcoholism is one of the most preventable illnesses; yet 7 out of 10 adults drink alcohol. Of these, one out of seven is an alcoholic.
- Statistics tell us that for every alcoholic, 16 people are directly affected.
- Nearly 17% of children under 14 and 20% of children under 18 live with a parent (or responsible adult) who drinks heavily or has an alcohol problem.
- Many children of alcoholics behave in socially unacceptable ways.
- More than 50% of juvenile delinquents come from alcoholic homes.
- In more than 50% of all divorces in the USA, excessive drinking is cited as a major factor (regret no statistics from South Africa).
- Members of alcoholic families use ten times as much sick leave as members of non-alcoholic families.
- Adults who consume more than one to two alcoholic drinks per day are at risk for many health problems, including several types of cancer, digestive diseases, cardiovascular diseases, addiction-related mental disorders, accidents and injuries.
- 60% of hospitalised patients suffer from alcohol related illnesses.
- Drinking during pregnancy has been associated not only with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) but with offspring learning and behavioural problems into adolescence.
- The gap between alcohol use by boys and girls has closed. Girls consume alcohol and binge drink at rates equal to boys.
- Adolescent females who drink exhibit higher levels of estradiol (an estrogen) and testosterone than non-drinking girls. High levels of estrogen may contribute to increased risk for specific diseases, including breast cancer, and high levels of testosterone are associated with an increased risk of substance use.
- Girls, aged 12-16, who were current drinkers were four times more likely than their non-drinking counterparts to suffer depression.
- 40% of children who start drinking before the age of 15 will become alcoholics at some point in their lives. If the onset of drinking is delayed by 5 years, a child's risk of serious alcohol problems is decreased by 50%.
- In 1997, nearly 10% of the interviewed teenagers reported driving one or more times while drinking. 33% reported having ridden in a car driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol.
- Fatal crashes involving a single vehicle at night are three times more likely than other fatal crashes to be alcohol-related.
- Of all the drugs available in the UK, alcohol is responsible for more damage and homicides than all the other drugs put together.
Where can I find help?
- Contact one of our Area Offices to find more information, please click on the "MEETINGS" button for Area Offices locations