Alcoholism is truly a family disease and touches upon the lives of everyone involved, not only the alcoholic. Wives, husbands, parents, children, and siblings suffer especially as they are usually the closest.
Al-Anon Family Groups in Bellevue, Washington exist to help the families, friends, and other loved ones of alcoholics. Founded in 1951 by Lois W. (the wife of Bill W., one of the co-founders of AA) and Anne B., Al-Anon aims to help people detach from the drinking of their alcoholic loved one. Al-Anon provides no counseling services or advice on what to do with your life. Rather, it is there to empower you to stand on your own and be okay and happy with your life, regardless of what the alcoholic does.
A subset of the Al-Anon Family Groups is Alateen, a program geared specifically for the adolescent children or siblings of alcoholics. Though adolescents are usually welcome in Al-Anon meetings, Alateen meetings provide a more peer-oriented space for these young people to meet others with similar types of experiences as they have.
Al-Anon understands that the loved ones of alcoholics generally take on a controlling role due to the need to manage the household while the alcoholic drinks. However, this need for control spills into other areas of their life and affects other relationships as well. Al-Anon teaches the same powerlessness that is taught in Alcoholics Anonymous, that you are powerless over the drinking of another alcoholic.
Through working the 12 Steps of Al-Anon (based off the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous) and attending Al-Anon meetings in Bellevue, WA, you will receive the opportunity to live a happier, less stressed life. When you are not constantly worrying about the alcoholic in your life it frees your brain to think about other things.
It is also the first step towards a happier life and figuring out what you enjoy doing outside of taking care of your alcoholic loved one. Al-Anon does not teach you how to manage your alcoholic loved one or control their drinking. That is not the intention of the program.
In Al-Anon meetings in Bellevue, WA, members gather to share their experience, strength, and hope of how they learned to separate from the alcoholic's drinking. Those who have attended for some time provide support and understanding for newcomers to the group.
When families have loved ones facing addictions, they need the same type of help the addicts do. For that reason, Al-Anon members also follow their own list of 12 Steps. They are:
As the family member of an addict, you know you need support and help. However, that doesn't change the fact that seeking help makes you feel nervous. This is completely normal. However, please don't let it keep you from attending an Al-Anon meeting. We can assure you that you have nothing to be worried about.
Everyone who attends Al-Anon knows where you're coming from. Every single person in the room had to walk in there for the first time. They know how you feel. You're in a new place among people you don't know. They will welcome you with open arms. You'll find a place of relief and encouragement when you go to Al-Anon. They won't ask you to speak or share anything until you're ready. If you're more comfortable just listening for a while, you'll be encouraged to do that.
You should try to make a friend or two when you begin attending the meeting. It will help you to see a familiar face. It may also give you the courage you need to share about your experiences. If you need to find a different meeting, that's OK too. You need to be in a place where you feel comfortable sharing with others.
You're going to find that Al-Anon is one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It's helpful to know that you're not alone. You're all there to bear one another's burdens as you go through this difficult and trying time.
Now that you know more about the Al-Anon Family groups, you may be wondering, "How do I find Al-Anon meetings in my area in Bellevue, Washington?" Al-Anon may be an incredibly helpful resource for you and attending a meeting could be a step in the right direction. You are likely beaten down and exhausted due to the behaviors of your alcoholic loved one. You deserve a break.
Look through these meetings and the Al-Anon meeting directory and find one that fits your schedule. Make it a priority to attend an Al-Anon meeting in your area, even if just to see whether or not it is for you. There are no requirements or tests for membership; Al-Anon welcomes all loved ones of alcoholics, whether related by blood or not.
Monday Nooners Al-Anon Family Group
Closed Al-Anon Meeting
St. Andrew's Lutheran Church
2650 148th Ave SE
Bellevue WA 98007
Coal Creek Al-Anon Family Group
Closed Al-Anon/AA Meeting
Newport Covenant Church - Meets on the first floor of the main church)
12800 Coal Creek Pkwy SE
Bellevue WA 98006
Find them online
Find them on Facebook
Additionally, the directory of Al-Anon meetings in Bellevue, Washington contains information on events. Due to potential changes in events they will not be listed at this location, but can be found on the Bellevue, Washington Al-Anon meeting directory.
Adult Children of Alcoholics is for adults who still feel impacted by the behavior of their alcoholic parents. There aren't as many ACOA meetings available when compared to Al-Anon, but there is one ACA meeting in Bellevue, Washington.
Saturdays at 1:00 PM
Open Step and Book Discussion
12302 NE 8th St
Bellevue Washington 98005
ACA meetings are similar to Al-Anon meetings in that they also use the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions taken from Alcoholics Anonymous. However, ACOA is specifically for the adults who grew up with one or two alcoholic parents.
By attending ACOA meetings and working the 12 Steps with a sponsor, you can hope to live a happier and healthier life, free of the bondage of your childhood.
People who go to ACA meetings are looking for someone to listen to them. Quite often, they try multiple ways in their lives to be heard, yet they never really are. They struggle to find meaning in their lives. They try to find happiness in many different places, yet, they never do.
When you go to an ACA meeting, your voice is heard; perhaps for the first time in your life. The people there aren't looking to “fix” you. They don't have the answers to all your problems, and they don't claim to. At the end of the meeting a common theme prevails - “Keep Coming Back.” You're encouraged to keep coming to meetings because it will help you. If you're willing to believe it, you'll see exactly what they mean.
You won't be judged when you go to an ACA meeting. The people there understand that everyone has their own story. You're all there to support one another, no matter what you may be facing in your personal lives.
ACA meetings are open to men and women who grew up in alcoholic homes. Sometimes, people attend these meetings when their homes were dysfunctional in other ways. The organization was founded on the belief that family dysfunction is more like an infectious disease. That infection was apparent during childhood, and it can continue to be into adulthood.
During the meetings, the 12 Steps are practiced, and participants also focus on the ACA Solution. The ACA Solution is simple - to become your own loving parent. If you are willing to go through this process, ACA might be a good place for you. The experience of having an alcoholic parent is quite traumatic for many people. You may have a lot of healing to do. However, this organization can help you accomplish it.
People who grow up in alcoholic homes are plagued with issues of denial, in most cases. Alcoholism is present within the home, but there is no admitting it. It's held as a deep secret in most cases. As a result, it becomes a long-term family secret that no one wants to acknowledge. That can lead to all kinds of internal turmoil and pain.
According to Psychology Today, these children grow up with three rules - don't trust, don't feel and don't talk. Children are taught that in order to survive, they must suppress their emotions. They learn to deny the reality that lies all around them. Because of this, they struggle with talking about the meaningful parts of their lives.
Additionally, children of alcoholics often suffer from compulsions, depression and anxiety. They endure severe traumatic stress, and they often have control issues. It's very difficult for them to separate the past from the present.
Janet Geringer Woititz, who is the founder of the Adult Children of Alcoholics movement lists 13 traits. They are:
If you're the child of an alcoholic, you probably relate to many on this list. It's so important for you to get the help you need. Recovery isn't just for alcoholics. Those who have been touched by the disease of alcoholism often need to recover as well. It may take some time, but it will be time well-spent.
Al-Anon Family Groups are for any family, friends, or other loved ones who are affected by the behavior of an alcoholics. Many alcoholics believe their behavior affects only themselves but any loved one knows that thought is completely incorrect. If you have an alcoholic you care about, you have likely lost many nights sleep, spent hundreds or thousands of dollars to help them go to treatment or pay their bills, bailed them out of jail, or any number of other things.
When you enter the room of an Al-Anon meeting in Bellevue, Washington, you will feel anything but alone. Here you will find men and women, boys and girls who understand your experience, who have been through similar situations. That feeling of isolation will slowly dissipate until you feel plugged back in.
If you can relate to this, or anything mentioned previously, giving Al-Anon a try might be a helpful idea.
With the advancements of the internet, Al-Anon has also moved online. There are many Al-Anon meetings online available to those who prefer to discuss in a more anonymous fashion or simply are unable to make it to face-to-face meetings.
Al-Anon meetings online can be found at the Online Al-Anon directory. Meetings are available through video chat, email, chat rooms, or telephone. Perhaps you could start in Al-Anon this way if you are nervous to attend an in-person meeting.
Whether you attend an in-person Al-Anon meeting in Bellevue, Washington or you try out an Al-Anon meeting online, getting involved with the program may help bring some peace to your life. You can learn new coping mechanisms to handle the drinking of your alcoholic loved one or their behavior on a spree. Taking care of yourself is an important part of life and you can't help anyone if you can't first help yourself.