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03/26/2012 09:05 AM

Alanon - For Family and Friends of alcoholics/BP

Colleenj
Colleenj  
Posts: 2158
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For Families and Friends of Alcoholics:

We have recently gotten a number of new members looking for help in understanding the bipolar alcoholic in their lives. We will assist you and answer questions in any way that we can. You are all welcome in this group. However, we did want to let you know of additional resources that are available, in particular Al-anon. Al-anon is an "offshoot" group of AA, founded by the wives of the first alcoholics who were working the AA program. In 1935, when AA was very new, this consisted of the wives sitting in the kitchen while the men were talking about AA in the living room. It didn't take too long for the women to realize that they had their own problems that stemmed from loving an alcoholic and they had become just as "sick" as the alcoholic in their lives. I'm not up on the history of Al-anon so I'm not sure when it happened but at some point, Al-anon became it's own entity and dedicated itself to helping family and friends of alcoholics. In AA the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. In Al-anon the only requirement for membership is that your life has been affected by someone else's drinking. I first became an Al-anon member in 1978 but wouldn't hit the doors of AA until 1994.

Al-anon teaches that you can live a sane life, even in the midst of the alcoholism and the chaos it creates. It also teaches how to set boundaries (and enforce them) and the fine art of detachment. It also teaches that by working the 12 Steps of the program, you can find sanity and serenity, even in the midst of chaos. It takes the focus off of the alcoholic and puts it on ourselves, which is right where it belongs.

Below you will find a few links that are extremely useful. I just want to re-emphasis that you are all more than welcome here; this group is for your well-being, not just that of the bipolar alcoholic in your life.

Online Al-anon group "Courage to Change."

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/CourageToChange/

This is an extremely active group, is registered with Al-anon World Services, and there is a lot of knowledge, long-term recovery, and support there. They also have a sister group called Fellowship Cafe. This group is mainly for posting things that aren't approved by Al-anon World service (usually classified as being CAL or non-CAL (cal= Conference approved literature)and you can post about anything you like. The Courage to Change group adheres quite strictly to Al-anon guidelines. They will supply you with everything you need to know. If you think Al-anon might be a good fit for you, I also encourage you to find Al-anon meetings in your area.

http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

This link is for the Al-anon family groups homepage and is the official homepage for AFG (Al-anon Family Groups). There is a lot of good information and also has a part of the site dedicated to finding a meeting in your area. You will also see information on Ala-Teen which is for the children of alcoholics.

I would also strongly urge you to obtain a copy of the book "Alcoholics Anonymous." It is usually called the Big Book by the AA'ers. Before Al-anon became it's own organization, many people used this book. It is a deadly accurate account of alcoholism including it's symptom's and behaviors of the alcoholic. You should be able to get a copy for about $9 each when purchased at an AA meeting. You can slip in 20 minutes before the meeting and get one. I have also seen it in book stores and I'm sure you can get a copy on Amazon. However, I assume that it would be more expensive. The first 164 pages are about the 12 Steps and how to work the program, along with a description of the alcoholic. I am a firm believer in the 12 Steps and these principles can be used in all areas of life. Al-anon relies heavily on literature, but they do not recognize the Big Book as CAL. It's also something you can leave laying about the house, clearly in sight of the alcoholic and you may find them begin to take an interest. If not, that is their problem, NOT yours! Al-anon has a lot of great books, daily readers and pamphlets. Literature will help when you can't make a meeting and for learning to heal. While Al-anon does not allow use or mention of non-CAL, they do recognize that there is a lot of good information to be had.

Please allow me to restate the group's position. ALL are welcome here, not just the bipolar alcoholic. We will assist you in anyway we can.

I hope you will find this post useful. Please do not hesitate to contact me via PM if you would like, or any of the Group Leaders. We are all here for you.

Colleen

Post edited by: Colleenj, at: 03/25/2012 01:59 PM

Colleen

PTSD

Anxiety Attacks

Bipolar II

Depression

ADD/ADHD

Chronic pain

Alcoholic

Please note that anything that I post is strictly my own experience or understanding of a particular subject. I am not a doctor and my posts reflect my thoughts or feelings of the subject, whatever that may be.

Post edited by: Colleenj, at: 03/26/2012 09:21 AM

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03/26/2012 09:16 AM
Colleenj
Colleenj  
Posts: 2158
VIP Member

The above post is also available under the Research and Resources thread in this forum.

Although I strongly encourage you to post to the forums and get involved with the group, I wanted to let you know that I am also available to answer any questions via private message (PM).

I have been involved with Alanon on and off for 34 years, including being a sponsor. That doesn't make me an expert but I do have a lot of experience, strength and hope to share.

Please feel free to contact me via PM if you feel that you would rather keep something private, but I do think participating with the group is extremely important. Alcoholism is an insidious disease and when you mix that in with bipolar disorder, it can get even more frustrating.

Alanon will teach you new skills to cope with the chaos.

I hope to hear from you all in the forums.

Colleen


03/26/2012 01:36 PM
sarahtroy
sarahtroy  
Posts: 14555
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Colleen,

Thank you so much for all of this marvelous information on Al-Anon, Al-a-teen, the Al-Anon website and the Al-Anon online group you recommend.

I am also very grateful for your willingness to be available to our group members via PM for questions, etc. regarding Al-Anon issues.

Your contributions are greatly valued.

Sarah


03/28/2012 05:28 PM
Bangbang
Bangbang  
Posts: 7412
Group Leader

I want to repeat what Sarah has said and thankyou.

02/23/2013 10:05 PM
shinebright7
shinebright7Posts: 88
Member

Do you recommend that the Al Anon sponsor we have be someone local? Or could it be someone we meet online and we do the relationship and 12 steps by phone/skype/email only? What are the pros and cons from your experience?

02/25/2013 08:53 AM
sarahtroy
sarahtroy  
Posts: 14555
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

I recommend that you ask Colleenj your question via PM or ask her to respond to your question in this thread so everybody can learn from her response. I refer you to Colleenj because she has the most experience with Al-Anon and has opened her heart to helping people with Al-Anon. Just scroll to her post above and click on "Send a PM."

I'm an alcoholic and I have had both in-person and on-line sponsors. For me, the in-person sponsors have been best. So I recommend going local and in-person. I've had the same experience with AA meetings: in-person is much more powerful and I've developed stronger, deeper relationships that have seen me through tough times.

____________________________________________________________ _____

Post edited by: sarahtroy, at: 02/25/2013 08:57 AM


02/25/2013 12:07 PM
Colleenj
Colleenj  
Posts: 2158
VIP Member

I agree with Sarahtroy that your best bet is probably having an in-person sponsor. Having said that, the women that I sponsored in Al-Anon were all via online; two from New York and one from Manchester, England. I had a great relationship with these women and found that with a little patience, online sponsorship can be just as rewarding as in-person. That reward, by the way, is not just for the sponsee but a sponsor also learns and grows from those that he or she sponsors.

Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Colleen


03/01/2013 02:37 PM
shinebright7
shinebright7Posts: 88
Member

Thank you both -- I have decided that a face-to-face sponsor will be best for me. I found a wonderful meeting this morning with some women that really resonated with me so perhaps one of them will be a great fit. Thank you for your kind responses.
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