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Family Strategies for Coping with Alcoholism Pose Obstacles to Recovery, According to New Al-Anon Family Group's Podcast


Resistance to recognizing alcoholism must be overcome, as recommended by chemical dependency counselor, Alexa Smith, in an interview with Al-Anon Family Groups.

Virginia Beach, VA (PRWEB) November 01, 2012

When a family member has a drinking problem, the other family members often cope with the situation by saying nothing and not acknowledging any problem. This coping mechanism is an obstacle to recovering from alcoholism and its effects, according to Alexa Smith, a chemical dependency counselor in Ottawa, Ontario.

In a new podcast available from Al-Anon Family Groups, Smith characterizes alcoholism as an elephant in the living room that no one acknowledges is there. The elephant dominates the room and its inhabitants, with everyone stepping around it carefully, afraid to disturb it.
The podcast can be downloaded at no charge, at, under the “First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery” icon. It offers observations and insights about the impact that a drinker's behavior can have on the rest of the family. Al-Anon Family Groups is a support group for the friends and families of alcoholics.

Smith says family members feel shame and a sense of responsibility for a relative's drinking problem, which makes it difficult for many people to seek help. She recommends a combination of Al-Anon Family Groups and professional counseling to overcome the often debilitating effects that come from exposure to a loved one's drinking.

Smith says in a new magazine interview that Al-Anon offers a supportive environment where people can reach out to peers through meetings, telephone, or the Internet.

Family members need help to understand that they cannot control the drinker, no matter how deep their love for the person may be, Smith says. Sometimes one's compassion for the alcoholic can become enabling behavior, which eventually does more harm than good.

The concept of the elephant in the living room was first recognized by Al-Anon in 1979, in its monthy magazine, The Forum. The article is attached in this press release.

Al-Anon Family Groups are for families and friends who have been affected by a loved one's drinking. Nearly 16,000 local groups meet throughout the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico every week. Al-Anon Family Groups meet in more than 130 countries, and Al-Anon literature is available in more than 40 languages. Al-Anon Family Groups have been offering strength and support to families and friends of problem drinkers since 1951. Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. acts as the clearinghouse worldwide for inquiries from those who need help or want information about Al-Anon Family Groups and Alateen.

For more information about Al-Anon Family Groups, go to, or find a local meeting by calling toll-free: 1-888-4AL-ANON, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

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