There is lasting help for families of problem drinkers

Most people have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous, but do you know that Al-Anon Family Groups help the family who often is trying to help the problem drinker? Al-Anon members meet in over 130 countries to help families and friends of problem drinkers recover from the impacts of a loved one’s drinking.

Seventeen groups meet each week in Portugal. In the Algarve, there is an English-speaking group. A Portuguese-speaking group has just started.

During Covid-19, Al-Anon groups have met via Zoom to provide comfort and support to each other. The assurance of anonymity is essential to Al-Anon’s efforts as the local group and groups worldwide help more families and friends of alcoholics.

“Sometimes it is easy to see what alcohol is doing to the drinker,” Al-Anon Communications Specialist Mona Dougherty said. “It may be more challenging to see what it is doing to the rest of the family. Often family members don’t know there are other people out there like them and may feel isolated. After they attend Al-Anon meetings, there’s a sense of palpable relief. They become calm and relaxed because they’ve been around people who have been through what they are going through. They learn how to detach with love.”

Al-Anon members are from all walks of life. Some are parents and grandparents who, before coming to Al-Anon, did not know what they could do and should not do to help their alcoholic child. Some are young and have watched their parents drink away their lives and have found help in Al-Anon. Wives and husbands struggling with a drinking partner have discovered relief in the group support and the 12 Step programme Al-Anon offers.

Al-Anon Family Groups are for families and friends who have been affected by a loved one’s drinking. Meetings are on Thursday at 6pm and Sunday at 10.30am on Zoom.

For more information, visit http://al-anon.pt, email alanonalgarve@gmail.com or call 965 122 752.