April is the month of awareness against alcohol abuse. Just yesterday was the “Alcohol Prevention Day”, a day that aims to inform the population about the risks of alcohol use.
In the Parma area, at the forefront, the Al Anon association supports family members of problem drinkers: anyone with an acquaintance with problems related to drinking can participate. We interviewed them to hear their initiatives during the information and prevention month.
How long has Al Anon been around?
“In the United States, in 1951 the association was born from a branch of Alcoholics Anonymous. While in Italy we have existed since 76: there are about 350 groups present that regularly operate in all the provinces.
There are three active groups in Parma, two in the city and one in Fornovo.
We simply give comfort to those who are in a state of despair, shame, anger, for the situation of an acquaintance who has alcohol problems, with meetings on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. To participate you don’t have to pay or get a card: we respect the confidentiality of those who come to ask for support. ”
- What has changed in the treatment of alcohol addiction?
- What stereotypes to dispel about alcohol abuse?
“Today alcoholism has returned to” addictions “, such as drug addiction, nutrition problems, and gambling addiction. They are managed by the same service, which today is called SerDP, or “service for problematic addictions”. So doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists today have a much more varied and more complex range of users to follow.
Unfortunately, the association does nothing but give comfort by sharing experiences.
The first concept that we want to make those who come to see us understand is that we do not have the absolute solution to alcohol abuse, but frequenting the group, meanwhile, means that we no longer feel alone.
And that’s the first thing a problem drinker family member wants when he or she goes for help.
The steps we follow for what we call “recovery” are the same steps that anonymous alcoholics take: the beacon is the acceptance of being powerless in the face of alcohol. Family members make mistakes when they try to intervene and solve their acquaintance’s problems. We have to let the family member follow his path. ”
So what do you recommend to family members of alcohol abusers?
“We recommend asking anyone for help, neighbors, friends, doctors. So to overcome the shame of living these situations that are not socially accepted. We believe it is really important to let families know that they are not alone.
In particular, situations worsen when the problem drinker is a family member: a family with such situations continually experiences situations of tension.
A frequent episode is that of the spouse at home waiting for the return of the problem drinker to hear if she is drunk or not: this is a person who lives continuously in anxiety and can create situations of continuous quarrel at home.
- All this tension could lead to the dumbness of the problem drinker, who at times could even close himself in absolute silence to avoid being “analyzed”.
- The family member must understand that she cannot control the life of the problem drinker. “