Community Organisations

Two local organisations - Al-Anon and the ACT branch of the National Servicemen’s Association - have asked me to let people know a bit more about them. Details over the fold.

There’s no silver bullet for ending addiction. One of the most iconic programs – AA’s Twelve Steps - works for around 10 percent of individuals with addiction problems. There’s a temptation is to say that it ‘only works for around 10 percent’, but any program that works at all is not to be disparaged (perhaps for that 10 percent AA is the perfect fit). AA has its detractors, but dealing with addiction is not a one-size fits all proposition.

Perhaps AA’s success rate would be higher if the role of its sister organization, Al-Anon, was more widely recognised. Al-Anon was founded by Lois Wilson, who was married to Bill, one of the co-founders of AA. Bill Wilson was an alcoholic who found a way to beat his addiction through mutual aid and a working knowledge of the ‘science’ of addiction. The religious experience that accompanied Bill’s detox certainly didn’t hurt either, and AA does place emphasis on surrender to ‘something higher’, but that something higher needn’t be spiritual, it might just as easily be a stable family or the future of one’s children.

Which brings me back to Al-Anon and Alateen. Lois Wilson was ideally placed to understand how an addict’s behavior could send shockwaves through the lives of his or her family and friends. Lois saw how behavioral patterns of an addictive personality could develop from and reinforce complex co-dependent dynamics within a family or a group of friends. She saw the benefits that could come out of providing the families of alcoholics with the same kind of mutual aid and support offered by AA.

Ideally the programs are coupled. The majority of participants in Al-Anon meetings are the spouses of individuals attending AA. Statistics seem to suggest that problem drinkers are more likely to recover if their partner or a member of their family is attending Al-Anon meetings. Just as importantly, though, a partner or family member attending Al-Anon is likely to be happier, both during and after the program, than one who isn’t.

Al-anon is open to all family members and friends of alcoholics. Alteen operates on the same principles but is geared to the needs of the children of alcoholics.

You can find out more about the principles of the organization, how meetings work, and what sorts of things are discussed at Al-Anon’s website. If you think an Al-anon meeting could help you, check the website.

ACT branch of the National Servicemen’s Association

Were you in National Service? The ACT branch of the National Servicemen’s Association would love to hear from you. The ACT Branch was formally incorporated in 2010 so that the National Association would have a voice in the nation’s capital.

The membership of the National Servicemen’s Association continues to grow, as more ex-National Service personnel discover the organisation and take up the opportunity to form friendships with like-minded contemporaries. The Nashos conduct many military and social events, and try to cater for the interests of both members and their partners.

If you’d like to learn more about the organisation or if you’d like to become one of the Nashos in Canberra, visit their website or email nashos <AT> 

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