PRESS KIT ALANON. Al-Anon has but one purpose, to help friends and families of alcoholics

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1 PRESS KIT ALANON Al-Anon has but one purpose, to help friends and families of alcoholics Al-Anon Family Groups Neuhardstrasse Olten Phone number Hotline /available 24hrs a day 1

2 Al-Anon preamble The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery. Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions. Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic. Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA. 2

3 Relatives and Friends of Alcoholics need help "Alcoholism is a 'family' disease. Compulsive drinking affects the drinker and it affects the drinker's relationships; friendships, employment, childhood, parenthood, love affairs, marriages, all suffer from the effects of alcoholism. Those special relationships in which a person is really close to an alcoholic are affected most, and we who care are the most caught up in the behavior of another person. We react to an alcoholic's behavior. We see that the drinking is out of hand and try to control it. We are ashamed of the public scenes but in private we try to handle it. It isn't long before we feel we are to blame and take on the hurts, the fears, the guilt of an alcoholic. We, too, can become ill." Reprinted with permission from the pamphlet, "Understanding Ourselves and Alcoholism" by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA ALANON CAN HELP The Al-anon family groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics. Attending group meetings on a regular basis can help to change attitudes towards alcoholism and aids recovery. This includes the understanding that members cannot stop the drinking of the alcoholic, no matter how hard they try to control his alcohol consumption. They learn that they can take control over their own neglected lives instead of trying to control the alcoholic s life. The self-help groups provide the knowledge that the alcoholic must face the consequences of his own actions, without the member continually helping with the consequences of his addiction. Regular attendance in the groups strengthens the self-responsibility of members and creates a sense of healthy boundaries. The changed attitude of the member can help him find a healthy way of life, and can even aid, in some cases, the willingness in the alcoholic to stop drinking. 3

4 4 AL-Anon Family Groups, Alateen and ACA We believe alcoholism is a family disease. What is Al-Anon? The Al-anon Family Groups are the only worldwide organization, which created a self-help group program only for family and friends of alcoholics. They meet on a regular basis to share their experience strength and hope to solve common problems, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. The Al-anon Family Groups started like the AA groups in the USA. Until 1949, family members of alcoholics participated in the regular AA meetings. There they realized that they had to solve other problems and difficulties in their lives with the alcoholic than the AAs. So they founded in 1951 the Al-Anon Family Groups as an independent organization, which used the principals of the 12 steps from AA. There are more than 26,000 Al-Anon meetings in 131 Countries worldwide. In German speaking Switzerland there are at the moment 32 Al-Anon groups and 3 Alateen meetings, as well as 3 English-speaking groups. In the Al-anon fellowship, members can learn: To find relief from their daily problems and find themselves again. To learn to deal with their anxiety and guilt as well as with changed attitudes to start living their own lives. Through sharing their experience, strength and hope to learn more about the disease of alcoholism. To support the alcoholic to find sobriety with their understanding and kindness Through practicing the 12 steps themselves and grow spiritually. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of this program. It provides a safe place for members to share. Al-Anon is a spiritual fellowship, not a religious one nor do they offer counseling. Al-Anon is not connected to a treatment center nor connected to any organization that offers therapies. The Al-Anon Family Groups have no position on issues outside of their community and support any other institutions. There are no dues or fees. The groups sustain themselves through their own voluntary contributions. Participation is voluntary and the only requirement for membership is that one's life is adversely affected by alcoholism in a family member or friend. We do not want "dry out" the alcoholic, but to change ourselves and further develop so that we can manage our lives better. Anyone who has been affected by someone else s drinking is welcome.

5 ALATEEN PREAMBLE Alateen, part of the Al-Anon Family Groups, is a fellowship of young people whose lives have been affected by alcoholism in a family member or close friend. We help each other by sharing our experience, strength and hope. We believe alcoholism is a family disease because it affects all the members emotionally and sometimes physically. Although we cannot change or control our parents, we can detach from their problems while continuing to love them. We do not discuss religion or become involved with any outside organizations. Our sole topic is the solution of our problems. We are always careful to protect each other's anonymity as well as that of all Al-Anon and AA members. By applying the Twelve Steps to ourselves, we begin to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We will always be grateful to Alateen for giving us a wonderful, healthy program to live by and enjoy. What is Alateen? Alateen is the name of a support group for the teenage relative and friends of alcoholics. They are part of the AL-Anon Family groups and work with the same principles. The goal of the Alateen group is to help the teenagers understand that the alcoholism in a parent or friend does not need to take away one s own power and thoughts and one s quality of life. Young people can learn to solve their own problems, without leaving ones friends and family and without loving one s parents less. 5

6 What is ACA? (Adult Children of Alcoholics)? Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) is a program of men and women who grew up in alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes. The ACA program was founded on the belief that family dysfunction is a disease that effected us as children and affects us as adults. Our membership also includes adults from homes where alcohol or drugs were not present; however, abuse, neglect or unhealthy behavior was. Totally consumed by the problems of the alcoholic, the other family members are too exhausted to take care of their needs or the needs of the children. Although most of them don t live with their alcoholic parent anymore, they are not capable of dealing with their adult lives, because they are still emotionally attached to their family of origin. Others only realize now the effects of alcoholism. Their lives, relationships, self-esteem and their feelings are still affected by those effects. 6

7 History History of Al-Anon in German speaking Switzerland Chronicle on the occasion of 50 year-anniversary of Al-Anon in German speaking Switzerland The Al- Anon Family Groups were created in 1951 in the United States, modeled after AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), based on the realization that families of alcoholics need the opportunity to discuss and exchange experiences, and that the program of AA is also applicable to the relatives of alcoholics. Starting with a few groups in the U.S. the Al-Anon fellowship spread within a few years to many countries, also outside of the Americas. Al-Anon is the only global self-help group for families and friends of alcoholics. The community is now more than 60 years old and currently has about 26,000 Al- Anon/Alateen groups in about 131 countries. The first Al -Anon group in Switzerland was founded in 1963 in Geneva. Here are some significant dates: In 1964 the first German-language group starts in Pratteln (BL). Since then, the number of groups has grown steadily first AA international convention with Al-Anon participation 1984 after 20 years, Al-Anon German speaking Switzerland already has 42 Al -Anon and and 4 Alateen Groups. During the anniversary year people are being informed via press, radio and TV. A literary society is created. In 1985, the Al-Anon Family Group is officially registered as a charitable organization in the Swiss Commercial Register First Service meeting in Hondrich 1988 Second AA international convention with Al-Anon participation 1989 Al-Anon German-speaking Switzerland gets their own office in Olten with two paid employees. The Community now has 46 Al -Anon and 5 Alateen groups, which are divided into 7 regions. In 1994, the magazine " Miteinander-Füreinander, or " M + F " is celebrating its 25th anniversary and delights readers across the German-speaking part, with about 2300 subscribers. In 1997, Al-Anon is growing with 50 Al -Anon groups, 2 groups of adults and children AEK and 1 Alateen group Third AA international convention with Al-Anon participation took place in Basel. 50 Years Al -Anon is celebrated worldwide with a visit from America. As of July 2001, Al-Anon is also online: In 2005, the 24 hour hotline is launched in collaboration with AA. For financial reasons, the M + F Magazine is cancelled after 36 years. In 2010, members disappear. There are 6 regions with a total of 40 groups. Time changes. To compensate there is one online meeting Al- Anon Family Groups are celebrating their 50th anniversary with various events. 7

8 Anonymity The unity of the Al-Anon and Alateen groups are maintained by the twelve Traditions: Al-Anon's Eleventh Tradition states: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV and films. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members. When Al-Anon or Alateen members write or talk in press, radio, Film or TV, they only use their first names and an initial of their last name or a pseudonym. In photos for public use or in television appearances their faces are blurred. Anonymity allows the members Anonymity guarantees equality among the members and protects them from presenting themselves as spokesmen for the entire community. Families or friends can attend meetings, whether die alcoholic is still drinking or not. Anonymity gives them an environment for familiarity. Anonymity does not mean hypocrisy, but allows confidentiality. Al-Anon's Twelfth Tradition states: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities. 8

9 Al-Anon conference approved Literature Al-Anon conference approved literature is one of the foundations for work in the groups. It is distributed through the World Service Office in Virginia Beach, USA, and is available in 30 different languages. Al-Anon Germany translates the literature of the WSO into German. One can order the German literature from the office in Olten. English literature is available at the English speaking meetings. Cooperation with AA Alcoholics Anonymous and AL-Anon Family Groups are to independent from each other with their own structure. But there is a unique relationship between the two fellowships, since often members of families are searching for help in both fellowships. That way a close structural link would therefore be natural. Experience has shown, however, that both fellowships can be more effective if they remain separate. Which means: Cooperation but no affiliation Each fellowship has their structure and their service offices, which work closely together. There might be the same contacts or national hotline, which helps members find meeting places. In addition Information events and national or international meetings and workshops are organized together. On April 24, 1969 during the 19 th Service conference in New York following resolution passed: Be it resolved, that Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes the special relationship which it enjoys with the Al-Anon Family Groups, a separate but similar Fellowship. And be it further resolved that Alcoholics Anonymous wishes to recognize and hereby does recognize, the great contribution which the Al-Anon Family Groups have made, and are making, in assisting the families of alcoholics everywhere. 9

10 GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE, CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. 10

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