Q: What kind of help should families of alcoholics seek to understand the problem and start their own healing?
A: Families of alcoholics should also seek support for themselves in order to learn how best to navigate their relationships with the alcoholics, detach emotionally and heal. It can be challenging for families to learn how to find a balance between supporting the individuals without enabling their alcoholism. Al-Anon is a free national mutual-help group for the adult loved ones of alcoholics, Alateen is part of Al-Anon specifically for the teenage loved ones of alcoholics and Adult Children of Alcoholics is a mutual-help group available for adult children of alcoholic parents. In addition, attending individual therapy or even family therapy with an addiction specialist can be effective in gaining understanding about alcoholism and in helping family members cope with their own emotions. Addiction specialists may be located by contacting a physician, current therapist or psychiatrist, health insurance company, local health department or employee assistance program. Some rehab facilities offer family components and weekends programs to help work through issues within the family unit.