Mini Book Reviews: Al-Anon Literature

All of these books are conference approved and published by the Al-Anon Family Groups. Al-Anon (not to be confused with Alcoholics Anonymous [AA]) is for the families and friends of alcoholics and addicts.

The strength in all Al-Anon literature, for me, is the sharing of personal stories which shows that, no, I am not alone.

Opening Our Hearts: Transforming Our Losses covers different kinds and stages of grieving, including lost childhood, expectations, death of a loved one, death of an estranged loved one, death of a pet, etc.

A woman in my group recommended it to me because she said she realized she came to Al-Anon in a state of grief–even though no one close to her had died. The biggest plus to this book for me was the emphasis on allowing yourself to feel your feelings and recognizing that grief is a process and takes time. There’s no timeline for grief, but there are ways to find comfort.

Source: Library

Discovering Choices: This book covers new ways of relating to others in relationships. Alcoholism is a family disease and most of the impact is felt in how we relate to other people. I read it quite a while ago, so all I really remember is that I related to the stories and chapters in the book A LOT. It also has questions at the end of each chapter for journaling/exploring. I didn’t attempt to answer any of them so can’t speak to their usefulness, but, again, I’ve heard from others that the questions are quite helpful.

Source: Library

Courage to Be Me is the Alateen book written specifically for those teen members of Al-Anon/Alateen. I did not know about Alateen when I was growing up, but I wish I did. The sharings in this book are all from kids/teenagers, so are mostly focused on relationships with parents and the struggles of living with a parent who is an alcoholic/addict. Again, as an adult child of an alcoholic, I wish I had known about this book/program as a teen. It was nice reading about these kids who’ve found the help and support they need in a less than ideal situation. If you know a teenager who could benefit from this book, sharing it with them would probably help a lot.

Source: bought it

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