Drug Addiction Intervention Questions
What is Al-Anon?
We offer the following directly from:
Drug Addiction Intervention Questions: For over 50 years, Al-Anon (which includes Alateen for younger members) has been offering hope and help to families and friends of alcoholics.
It is estimated that each alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people... alcoholism is truly a family disease. No matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all who have been affected by someone else’s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship.
How will Al-Anon help me?
Many who come to Al-Anon/Alateen are in despair, feeling hopeless, unable to believe that things can ever change. We want our lives to be different, but nothing we have done has brought about change. We all come to Al-Anon because we want and need help.
In Al-Anon and Alateen, members share their own experience, strength, and hope with each other. You will meet others who share your feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. We come together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.
AN ADDICTION PSYCHIATRIST RECOMMENDS
AL-ANON FAMILY GROUPS
By Jeffrey D. Roth, MD, FASAM
Addiction Psychiatrist, Chicago, Illinois
Editor, Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery
Drug Addiction Al-Anon Note: The professional opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al-Anon Family Groups. Al-Anon does not endorse, support, or oppose outside entities, opinions, or issues.
“As an addiction psychiatrist, I am grateful to have Al-Anon available for my patients who have been affected by anyone’s use of alcohol. I recommend Al-Anon whenever I see a patient who complains of anxiety, depression, or a variety of physical problems that are commonly worsened by close contact with the disease of alcoholism.
“I do a complete family history with anyone I am treating. I specifically ask about alcohol use in grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, and significant others. I also ask about other diseases that often thinly veil alcoholism, such as cirrhosis, pancreatitis, or other medical consequences of alcoholism, since the patient and the family frequently deny the alcoholism.
“I do not insist that the patient or I make a clear connection between the patient’s complaints and the presence of alcoholism. I suggest the patient use Al-Anon as part of the diagnostic process and I use the familiar recommendation that the person may decide after attending six meetings whether the program seems to be useful. Frequently the most useful information emerges from the patient’s reactions to the Al-Anon meetings. A feeling of not belonging is usually connected to the sense of estrangement that is common among alcoholic families. If the patient felt burdened by listening to others at a meeting, it is a telltale sign that this person assumes overwhelming responsibility for someone else’s behavior.
“I have seen incredible progress among my patients who use Al-Anon as part of their recovery process. A newfound sense of well-being, the ability to participate fully in intimate relationships, and an improved quality of work and satisfaction in a career are evidence of growth and change. I have also witnessed patients who start their recovery in Al-Anon and expand their recovery to include other areas of their life. I’ve also seen patients who are recovering from other difficulties, including their own alcoholism, enhance their progress by participating in Al-Anon.
“As a physician, I know of no other prescription with such magnificent benefits, with so few side effects, without any required cost. Al-Anon is available almost anywhere in the world and with the advent of on-line Al-Anon meetings through the Internet. One other selfish benefit to the professional who refers patients to Al-Anon: we learn a tremendous amount of information that is useful to us from the patients who go!” Do you have more drug addiction intervention questions? Click on the What should I do if button on the left for more answers to drug addiction intervention questions.
How do you get the energy to combat an old pattern in your
addiction recovery? It is helpful to write out or sit meditatively and
ask yourself where the former pattern takes you and how you feel
afterward. How do you feel after having a few chocolate bars or calling
someone back to scream at them? Compare that to how you feel after
taking a run, doing some journal writing or something that increases
your energy and awareness.
A very important factor for addiction recovery is being able to have tools for dealing with difficult situations, rather than going into an escape route such as taking drugs. Initially it is hard to use new tools rather than old habits but as time goes on, the old habits appear to offer no solution and the new tools give one a sense of accomplishment and enrichment.
It is similar to the feeling one might have where someone might have chosen to jog for 20 minutes for relief instead of running out to buy chocolate and ice cream to deal with an argument they just had with someone.
Drug or alcohol abuse is something that will appear in one's mind in challenging moments to offer a relief, but is this relief more like scratching a mosquito bite? You get a momentary relief but you aggravate the initial problem. Motivation is very important to keep going and trying to put the two routes you can take in front of you is helpful for making healthy choices for recovering from an addiction.
Thinking about the unhelpfulness of scratching a mosquito bite can help to outline what solutions appear to the mind during stress that really are not long term solutions. Our bodies want to heal and our emotions and spiritual sides want wholeness.
Thinking about what solutions are truly helpful versus only provide momentary relief can help you take the right fork in the road in trying moments while in the addiction recovery process. Reading the journeys of others who have overcome their own addictive patterns is also very helpful for inspiration and motivation.
Though we know that people relapse, there are many true accounts of those who have crossed the bridge to the other side. Their courage and stories are a wonderful support and useful for a true turning point.
Dee Cohen, LCSW, is a licensed social worker and certified yoga teacher. She recently finished writing an e-book which includes interviews with five ex-addicts who have gotten beyond their addiction . You can read their accounts at