By Danielle Owen, Director of Wellness and Education Services

St. Patrick’s Day weekend is quite an experience if you live in Boston. There is a style, passion and commitment that Bostonians uniquely have for Ireland’s Patron Saint! From Leprechauns manning the pumps at gas stations to mid day revelers on the T with huge green pint-shaped hats and painted shamrocks on their faces. Even if you are not Irish, it’s hard not to be affected by this March Madness!

If you love someone with an alcohol problem, though, it’s a holiday that seems to revel in a behavior that hurts their family. Some families dread festive occasions like these – Thanksgiving, Christmas, weddings, funerals, birthday parties, any excuse really. What is a special occasion in some homes is the norm in theirs. Families woken late at night by their loved one singing or fighting downstairs, oblivious to others’ broken slumber; or families unable to sleep, fearing what will happen if they are not awake to make sure their loved one doesn’t leave a lit cigarette on the couch to catch fire, or the gas stove on when cooking a night time snack.

Often these families feel alone. The truth is, that many families experience these worries and fears and do not have to face them on their own.  For a long time now adults and their children have found support in Al-Anon meetings all over the world. No matter who you are, if your life is being affected by someone who drinks too much, they are here to help. Al-Anon MA’s message is one of Hope: “It is the story of men, women and children who once felt helpless, lost and lonely because of another’s alcoholism. Today these men, women and children have courage and confidence. They have found understanding friends. They have learned what to do to help themselves – and this can indirectly help their alcoholic relatives, loved ones, and friends, whether sober or not.”

I hear from wives, husbands, girl/boyfriends, mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, daughters, and sons, all who are wondering if they are “crazy” because they think there is a problem. Ask yourself the following and you may find you are quite sane!

○     Are holidays and gatherings spoiled because of drinking?
○     Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking?
○     Do you feel that if the drinker cared about you, he or she would stop drinking to please you?
○     Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout?
○     Do you feel like a failure because you can’t control the drinking?
○     Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?
○     Do you feel angry, confused, or depressed most of the time?
○     Do you feel there is no one who understands your problems?

There is hope and help. Al-Anon MA is there for you. So too is the IIIC’s Danielle Owen LADCII who specializes in supporting families worrying about a drinker in their lives.

You can call Al-Anon MA at (508)366-0556 or check out their website: http://www.ma-al-anon-alateen.org. You can call Danielle at 617-542-7654 ext.14 or email her at dowen@iicenter.org.   Check out thus useful resource at http://tinyurl.com/c6nkptn