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Family Matters

This is a story about “Ron” and his alcoholism treatment that may help you understand your situation better:

Everybody knew that “Ron” needed to get some help with his drinking. His routine of having a couple of drinks with the boys after work began to include several after dinner drinks as well.

The change in him was somewhat gradual, but over time everybody knew something had to be done. Ron had missed meetings with his daughter’s teacher, and had not attended a soccer game or dance recital in months.

The family got together for a meeting and everybody agreed that Ron needed help, so they confronted him about it. His wife, his brother, his uncle and his parents were involved. Ron agreed to their wishes and went into an out-patient program at a local treatment center. The idea behind all of this activity, of course, was to get Ron some help with his problem, but what wasn’t considered was the family getting help with their problem. Alcoholism is a family problem and Ron’s family, however well intended they were, did not get help for themselves.

The thinking goes something like this—it’s the alcoholic’s problem, so if he gets help everything is going to be all right. Ron went into treatment to “dry out” and discovered during a physical exam that his drinking had led to another health condition. More than the alcoholism, his overall health was a concern and his entry into treatment served as a wakeup call. The fog had lifted and he began to reflect on the missed opportunities with his children. He was getting a new lease and he wanted to take full advantage of that.

However, his wife never got any help. Ron’s parents noticed that she was a little “edgy” but the important thing for them was Ron and his treatment. Her problems were her problems. The brother and the uncle had a similar attitude. She was no longer a part of the group that was trying to convince Ron to get help, she was now isolated. She had lived with all of the drinking, all of the missed appointments and she was the one who had to be the parent while Ron was with his friends. Ron was working hard at his recovery and could not understand why his wife wasn’t overjoyed.

Ron was doing everything he was supposed to do, but in her mind, he was always on the verge of slipping and having a drink. When was the next shoe going to fall? When he was drinking, she could call her in-laws and pour out her feelings, but now that he was in recovery, all she was doing was complaining. Ron’s brother did understand, mainly because he was skeptical about the whole alcoholism treatment program. He was the change in Ron, but there were some lingering doubts. Mom and dad were just happy Ron wasn’t drinking, so that was the end of it. His uncle, however, saw things the way they were and decided to call the treatment center. Ron was doing fine, but what about the family?

The alcohol rehab center suggested Al-Anon. Ron was getting the help he needed, and Al-Anon was there for the family, so Ron’s wife and uncle checked out a local meeting. She was shocked at how many people had a similar, if not nearly identical experience. The more questions she asked of the group members, the more she wanted to explore her own participation. She discovered that she needed to be in recovery too. She discovered that if one member of the family struggles with alcoholism or addiction, it’s everybody’s problem and they all need alcoholism treatment.

Drinking all of the time?

by Mary Ann

I just went to visit my son at his apartment in Miami and I realized he is drinking all of the time and he won't stop. While I was there he drank a gallon of Vodka and was drunk all of the time.

He also drives while he's drinking and I'm really afraid he is going to hurt himself or some else.

What can I do for him, I never knew it was this bad. I live about 300 miles away from him so I don't know what to do to help him?

Get Help For You First
by: Ned Wicker

Let's cut to the chase on this. Give Al-Anon a call and tell them your story. They will have ideas for you. It's a great organization.

You alone will not stop your son from drinking. This is his problem, and he doesn't want to quit. Get the family together and make sure everybody understands what is going on and agrees to allow help to come in.

Alcoholism is a family disease. While one may be doing the drinking, the entire family is impacted. Your son will argue against any help. He does not think there is a problem and you are wrong and he is right. Call your doctor and explain to him/her what is going on, and ask how you can help. Don't do this alone, you will only make it worse.

You can see by his behavior that drinking is more important than his relationship with you. Therefore, you and the family have work ahead. Get him into treatment. Make those calls.

and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

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