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Alanon Books for People Who Love Alcoholics

Updated on February 12, 2018
DeborahDian profile image

Deborah has been a member of Al-Anon, an organization for the friends and family of alcoholics and addicts, for over 37 years.

It is hard to love or live with an alcoholic; you need all the help you can get.
It is hard to love or live with an alcoholic; you need all the help you can get. | Source

How Alanon Can Help You Cope With an Alcoholic Loved One

One of the most difficult doors you may ever enter could be the door to your first Al-Anon meeting. The only reason you would be going through that door is because someone you love abuses alcohol and/or drugs. Tragically, this is a situation which occurs in millions of families every year.

It doesn't matter whether the alcoholic you love is your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, parent or child. It can be very painful to watch someone destroy their life because of their addiction to alcohol or drugs. As they have gone deeper into their addiction, you may have tried everything you could think of in order to "fix" them. Unfortunately, it is impossible to fix someone who does not want to be fixed.

From the time I was a young child, I have been aware of heavy drinkers in my family. Once I reached adulthood, it became obvious that alcohol abuse was a common thread among my relatives. Although I believed that I was doing a great job managing life on my own, I was constantly frustrated by the antics of the alcoholics in my life. I didn't realize how hard this constant sense of frustration was on me.

About 36 years ago, I began my journey in Al-Anon. It has been life-changing. In addition to attending meetings, I regularly read Al-Anon books. These books have helped me understand myself and the alcoholics in my life so much better.

Reading Alanon literature will help you better understand this 12 Step Program and give you useful tools to help you cope better with the frustration of having an alcoholic in your life. Shown below are some examples of the books you may find helpful. Read on to learn more about what it is like to attend an Alanon meeting.

Daily Readings to Help You Deal With the Stress in Your Life

Hope for Today
Hope for Today

This is one of three Alanon meditation books, and my personal favorite. It will give you a short message to read every day of the year.

Whenever you are going through a particularly stressful time in your life, you can also use the index in the back of the book to find passages which may help you deal with whatever you are experiencing ... anger, frustration, or your need to let go.


Understanding How Al-Anon Can Help You

Below is another of my favorite Alanon books. It is "How Al-Anon Works."

Alcoholism is often very confusing to the friends and family members of an alcoholic or drug addict. They may wonder how they can benefit by going to meetings and reading books, especially if the alcoholic/addict does not seem interested in helping themselves.

Honestly, the benefit of Al-Anon for friends or family members of alcoholics may seem a mystery, even to long-time members. Somehow, knowing you are not alone, learning how to deal with the behavior of an alcoholic, and having the opportunity to discuss your problems with other people, especially before making major decisions, can be tremendously helpful and empowering.

How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics by Al-Anon Family Groups (2008) Paperback
How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics by Al-Anon Family Groups (2008) Paperback

This book will help you better understand the Alanon program and how it can help you and your family. In addition to reading some of the other Al-Anon literature, you will find this book to be especially helpful.


Help for People with an Alcoholic or Addicted Spouse

Most members of Al-Anon have found it comforting to have a variety of Alanon literature on hand. Many people also like to keep a few extra books around to give to friends and family members when given the opportunity. After I joined Alanon, I was startled to realize how many of my friends were also married to alcoholics or drug addicts.

One thing which happened over the past few decades was that more and more of the people I knew realized they were married to someone who had become addicted to prescription medications, particularly opioids. The addiction often developed slowly. However, at its peak, the problems could be serious enough to destroy their love and their marriage.

If you love an alcoholic or drug addict, you may have more than your fair share of tough times. It is comforting to have somewhere to turn when you just don't know what to do.

The book below was written specifically for people who were married to an alcoholic. However, many people have discovered that the information also pertains just as well when your spouse has become addicted to any substance.

This is the Most Popular Alanon Book for People who are Married to an Alcoholic or Drug Abuser

The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage
The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

This book isn't seen often anymore, but I loved reading it when I first got into the program! If you are married to an alcoholic, you will certainly want to read this book. It was a lifesaver (and a marriage saver) for me.

While the book refers to the alcoholic marriage, it is also appropriate for someone who is married to a drug abuser, even if their drug of choice is a prescription painkiller ... a problem that has become increasingly common.


Your First Alanon Meeting

Going to an Alanon meeting can be scary. However, you will find that the people there are very kind. Remember, all of them have gone through situations which are similar to what you are experiencing. Some of them may even have multiple alcoholics and drug addicts in their life, and yet they are usually still able to be happy.

At an Al-Anon meeting, you are only expected to tell other people your first name. You do not have to speak during the meeting unless you want to. You are welcome to sit and listen until you feel comfortable sharing your story with others.

Alanon meetings are also very inexpensive. Usually, they will pass a basket and ask you to donate a dollar or two. It is the cheapest therapy you will ever get!

Visit several different meetings until you find the one which feels right for you. Some meetings are large, others are small. Some last one hour and others last longer. Some are discussion meetings and some are speaker meetings. When you try different meetings you will eventually find the "home" meeting which feels comfortable for you.

Get involved. Talk to other people. Make friends. You will find that having others who know what you are dealing with at home will make your life much easier to endure. Eventually, you will even feel comfortable picking up the phone and calling another Al-Anon member whenever you are going through a crisis.

Working On Your Fourth Step Inventory

An inventory is just that ... an evaluation of both your strong points and your weak ones. The Al-Anon workbook known as "The Blueprint for Progress" will help you do just that.

It is the book which many Alanon members use when they work on their Fourth Step Inventory. It takes them through all the aspects of their lives and helps them get a good perspective on their strengths, as well as their weaknesses.

Some people choose to work on their Fourth Step in private and share their answers with a sponsor ... a special person they choose in the program to help them work the steps.

Other people get together in a small, private group to share their Fourth Step with each other.

Whichever choice you make, the "Blueprint for Progress" is a very helpful tool which will help you see what you are doing right and what areas of your life might need improvement, if you want to make progress.

The Al-Anon Blueprint for Progress - a Helpful Tool

Blueprint for Progress: Al-Anon's Fourth Step Inventory
Blueprint for Progress: Al-Anon's Fourth Step Inventory

Working on your Al-Anon Fourth Step can be an life-changing experience. Many people spend a year or longer completing this step, along with the help of an Al-Anon sponsor, who will be your guide.

This book will help you see what strengths you have, as well as which of your actions may be making your life more difficult. There are no right or wrong answers. All of them are designed to help make your life easier.


The A.A. Big Book - Another Al-anon tool

Although it is not actually an Al-Anon book, many family members of alcoholics and addicts also find it interesting and helpful to read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It can be very inspiring.

There is even a particular section of the AA Big Book, Chapter 9, which is specifically directed towards the families of recovering alcoholics. It contains some very helpful information.

Many family members also benefit from reading the stories of recovering alcoholics at the end of the book. These stories provide a great deal of comfort to families who love someone who has not yet recovered.

Reading the Big Book, which is available on Amazon, at AA meetings, and in some book stores, can be encouraging to families who have trouble understanding the alcoholics in their lives. It was written by Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and describes his personal story and how he and his friend, Dr. Bob, were able to start the A.A. program.

Whatever AA or Al-Anon books you decide to read, they can be a very useful tool in learning how to live with an alcoholic in your life.

Have you ever thought about attending an Alanon meeting?

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    • DeborahDian profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Carr 

      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      These books are so helpful for people who know they need help, but they are uncomfortable going to an Al-anon meeting, yet. They can order them from the privacy of their home and begin to learn about how Al-anon works.

    • DeborahDian profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Carr 

      6 years ago from Orange County, California

      @WriterJanis2: Alanon has changed the lives of millions of people over the past 50+ years. I am so relieved that this organization exists to provide emotional support for people.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Alanon was life changing for a friend of mine.

    • DeborahDian profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Carr 

      6 years ago from Orange County, California

      @CoolFool83: I agree. These books should help the family members, too!

    • CoolFool83 profile image


      6 years ago

      These can definitely help numerous people fighting alcohol.


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