Al-Anon helps those who don’t drink

A lot of people suffer from alcoholism even though they
don’t drink.

They may be the spouses or children or best friends of
someone who is an alcoholic.

“Those of us closest to the alcoholic suffer the most,
and those who care the most can easily get caught up in the behaviour of
another person.” This quote comes from a pamphlet distributed by Al-Anon, a
group founded to help the families of alcoholics.

Terry, a volunteer in Cayman, described Al-Anon as a
fellowship of men and women who come together with their hopes, dreams and
experiences. “We share our experiences with other people who have been affected
by someone who has a problem with alcohol,” she explained in a recent

The only person who can stop an alcoholic from drinking
is the alcoholic himself or herself, Terry pointed out, but “We who live or
half-live with alcoholism can find contentment whether the alcoholic stops
drinking or not.”

The priority has to be
taking care of one’s self first, Terry said. “If we can do that, we may not be
able to cure the drinker, but we will help the situation we have to live in
every day.”

Al-Anon has helped
millions of people in countries around the world, just as Alcoholics Anonymous
has helped the drinkers themselves. In fact, Al-Anon was started in 1951 by the
wife of the man who founded Alcoholics Anonymous.

Al-Anon follows the 12
Steps programme and is not affiliated with any religious denomination. It is
also anonymous — the reason for not identifying Terry by other than a first

People who attend a
meeting don’t even have to say their name — or even speak or do anything. They
can just sit and listen. The general idea is, “Take what you like and leave the

The meetings last one
hour. There are no fees or dues, but those attending pay $1 at each meeting to
cover expenses such as venue rental or literature. Each group is
self-supporting, Terry noted.

At present there are
three Al-Anon groups meeting in Grand Cayman: one on Saturday mornings in
George Town, one in George Town on Tuesday nights and one in West Bay on
Thursday nights.

But Terry knows there
are more people who could use the help available from Al-Anon. Studies have
shown that an alcoholic affects a minimum of four other people.

A new Al-Anon Beginners
Group starts Saturday, 29 January, with one session each week for six weeks.
This six-week period is specifically designed for newcomers, as it is an
introduction to the Al-Anon programme. All newcomers are welcome.


Anyone interested can obtain further information as well
as the time and place of meetings by calling 928-8843 or e-mailing
[email protected]