Pastoral Services: Self-support groups – Al-Anon (Family Support)

Is your life affected by someone’s drinking?  There are probably very few amongst us these days who haven’t been able to answer ‘Yes’ to this question at some time in our lives.

Alcohol has, for many of us become an integral part of our everyday lives.  On this island of Madeira the production, promotion and export of Madeira Wine is a mainstay of our economy. Alcohol is readily available in the numerous cafes and coffee shops on every street, not to mention the hotel bars and restaurants.  Most of the working population have jobs that have some link to alcohol.  There can be barely a family without someone working in the hospitality industry.

90% of the population can enjoy a drink or two, or even a few more, loosen up a little, suffer some consequences the next day, and get on with their lives.  But, for the unfortunate 10%, that first drink or two is simply not enough to satisfy the craving that grows inside them.  Their lives quickly become dominated by the quest for alcohol and their behaviour governed by the consequences.

Problem drinkers can be found at every level, from occasional bingers, to habitual social drinkers, to secret, solitary drinkers, to the ‘down-and-outs’ whose addiction has excluded them from normal society, and many of them also struggle with other addictions, to drugs, gambling and eating disorders. Alarmingly, the ready availability of cheap drink is ensnaring children and adolescents, at a time of life when their bodies are highly susceptible to euphoria-producing substances.

Crucially, every one of these 10% is part of a social network of family, friends, colleagues and associates, whose well-being is at risk of becoming dominated by the urge to solve the drinker’s problem.  Their lives become as out of balance as that of the drinkers’.

Al-Anon is a world-wide organisation which offers a programme that is based on and supports the work of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) .  Attention is focused on the recovery of the relative or friend, so that their life is no longer dominated by the drinker’s actions.  This factor is seen as a crucial element in the potential for the drinker to recover, but Al-Anon teaches that life can become manageable again, whether the relative or friend is still drinking or not.  It is a spiritual and inspirational programme, which supports through the sharing of the experience, strength and hope of its members.  Anonymity is a founding principal of the programme.  It is for individuals to decide whether they wish to be identified as members, but it is strictly forbidden to reveal the identity or affairs of other participants.

Anyone, including interested professionals, is welcome to attend our Funchal Al-Anon Family Group Open Meetings, which are held weekly at Holy Trinity Church, every Monday  at 7.30pm, and conducted in both Portuguese and English. Our group belongs to Portugal Al-Anon and has links with groups in UK and US. We especially welcome visitors and members from other affiliated groups.  We can truly state that everyone who has attended has benefited, and although the group is small at the moment, we have a core of strong and deeply committed members, who are there to help.

Contact:  tel. 965 630 474

About holytrinitychurch

This is the official blog site for the Anglican Church of The Holy Trinity, and the historic British Cemetery situated in the heart of the city of Funchal, on the glorious, Portuguese island of Madeira. It is hoped that this blog will encourage dialogue, however, comments deemed to be blasphemous, offensive or personal will not be published.
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