Plans for children of alcoholics support group

The spouse of a long-time drinker wants to set up a support group at Sydenham Neighbourhood House for family members and friends of alcoholics.

Therese, a mother of six, has regularly attended Al-Anon Family Groups over the past 10 years, with sessions at Sunshine and St Albans.

The Keilor Lodge woman said that if there was enough support, she was interested in setting up a support group, Alateen, for teenagers with alcoholic parents.

“We need a minimum of three new people to run a new group,” she said.

Therese found salvation in Al-Anon when her husband’s drinking got worse.

“My husband was very verbally abusive because he was furious … he thought I was betraying the marriage,” she said. “He thought that I was talking about him and all the difficulties we had. The arguments and resentment began to build up. I didn’t know where to get help.”

A decade on, Therese doesn’t look back.

“I found such support and a sense of belonging,” she said.

“I heard so many stories; I’ve never heard such honesty in my life. Things began ringing bells with my own story. I could really relate to what people were talking about and the main thing they offered was hope … hope for families.

“It’s about me finding my own voice.”

Therese said Al-Anon was a gentle, spiritual, democratic 12-step program without strict rules.

“You take what you like and leave the rest. It’s a very free thing,” she said.

“We don’t focus too much on the future. It’s really about taking a day at a time, which is a very old fashioned idea, but it works.

“We talk about the three Cs – I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it.”

The Al-Anon helpline is 1300 252 666.