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Save Our Selves
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Family members and friends of alcoholics and addicts are very welcome at SOS meetings. 
They may attend whether or not the person they are close is continuing their addiction or is in recovery. 
Although, family and friends may not be addicted themselves, their lives are greatly affected by the addictive 
behavior of a loved one and they too need support, advice and the opportunity to share and learn. 
SOS offers support from people who have been on both sides - 
the experience of recovering addicts and other who have had to deal with the problems 
related to active addiction and the recovery process.

FAMILY RECOVERY

Many family and friends of alcoholics and addicts come to recovery groups 
desperately searching out for help and answers to their problems. SOS provides support and help 
on understanding and coping with the problems by providing information about 
chemical dependency and its consequences for relationships.

Family and friends of alcoholics and addicts often suffer as much or more physically and 
psychologically as the addicts themselves. They can get caught up in the behavioural crises 
of addicts in ways which then affect their own behaviour and physical and mental health. 
Moreover, their well-meaning actions may not work and they find that their actions are only further alienating 
the person and causing problems in their relationships.
Living with an alcoholic and/or addict is 
incredibly stressful. The advice and support of other who have or continue to face this situation, 
as well as speaking to recovering alcoholics and addicts directly themselves, 
is critical to helping you help yourself and your loved one.

By coming to SOS, family and friends can learn about the illness and arm themselves 
against its negative effects. Understanding the illness rationally is the first step toward 
defending oneself from its destructive influence on you and your close ones, 
and also allowing YOU to free YOURSELF from its clutches, as well as helping you to aid 
your loved one in a more constructive way.

The first thing is to understand the Cycle of Addiction which your loved one is in 
and into which you have become entrapped. By understanding that addiction is a physiological illness, 
based on chemical dependency, which then dominates and warps the psychology of the addict, one is better 
able to see that the addiction is solely an individual journey for that person. 
The addict must break their own denial and come to accept and acknowledge their 
addiction THEMSELVES, if they are to recover. It is not your fault or responsibility. 
You are no more responsible for or able of curing cancer, if it befell a close one. 
Like any other life threatening disease, the best you can do is find ways you wish to choose to be supportive 
and constructive toward the sufferer, which help them to recover and which, simultaneously do not damage 
your own physical or mental health or that of other family members. Full recover can be achieved 
and a good life rebuilt. However, in addiction relapse and death are an ever present threat, 
especially in the first few years. You cannot play a decisive influence in the outcome. 
This relies with the addict taking responsibility for his/her own recovery. Support is important, but not at the 
expense of your own life and that of the rest of your family. Coming to SOS will help you how to learn to 
understand, cope and overcome addiction, to the benefit of the addict and, more especially, for the benefit of yourself.

Once your loved is sober and in recover, you also need to understand the Cycle of Sobriety 
and the addict’s
Sobriety Priority. This will help you to make sense of the decisions which he or she takes in everyday life. 
Moreover, as recovery progresses, you will find a « new » person emerging from the shell of addiction.

This may be a wonderful and longed for thing. However, it can cause relational problems also, 
as the person goes through changes, confusion, as well as mood swings, which are part of recovery. 
Possibly, you may find to your surprise that this « new » person is not what you want or expected. 
In a perverse, unconscious way, you may even feel more secure with the « old » alcoholic/addict you once knew. 
Unconsciously, you can contribute to undermining the person’s recovery, if you are not careful, or you may come 
to decide to separate from him or her. You will find that YOU also will begin to change as you become free of a 
direct relationship with an active alcoholic/addict. You can begin to change and grow and find 
a « new » person within yourself, with a clearer idea of your own needs and direction. 
SOS will help you to understand better many of these processes taking place in your loved one, 
yourself and your relationship. This will arm you to deal and cope with the wonderful, 
but often complex road of recovery for YOU and your loved one.

 

 

 


Family & Friends Recovery Cycle
is the fundamental basis from which to approach all other questions for you as a co-dependent. 
It allows you to free YOURSELF from the feelings of responsibility, anger and other feelings 
connected to being the close one of an alcoholic/addict and to go on to prioritise 
YOUR OWN WELL BEING on a daily basis.
 

1. Knowledge of Addiction & Sobriety Cycles
2. Daily Acknowledgement & Acceptance

 

 

  3. Daily Prioritisation of Own Well-Being

 

 

 

 

 

SUGGESTED GUIDELINES FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS 

 

 

 Don’t give up hope ! Many alcoholics and addicts have been helped to choose recovery by the informed 
intervention of those who loved them. Many tens of thousands have done it alone !
 

 

 

 Learn all you can about alcoholism and addiction and, also its affects 
on relationships, family and otherwise.
 

 

 

 Discover that you are not alone with the problem. Attend as many SOS meetings as you can, and other 
recovery groups, where possible or necessary. Talk informally with recovering alcoholics and addicts 
and other family and friends. Get their phone n°s and email addresses.
 

 

 

 Be gentle on yourself and the alcoholic/addict in your life. Remember you too are recovering 
from the psychological effects of living with the addiction. Be good to yourself ! 
Make sure to get rest, eat properly and have treats. Also bear in mind that sobriety skills are not 
developed overnight either for you or your loved one, so give yourself credit for being understanding.
 

 

 

 SOS stresses that sobriety must be the priority for the chemically dependent person. 
The Sobriety Priority is the alcoholic/addict’s bottom line. You too must learn to make your own well-being 
(and not the addict’s) YOUR PRIORITY. You can call it what you like - your « Health Priority », « Sanity Priority », 
«Happiness Priority ». Start making this your bottom line for decision-making .
 

 

 

 Believe that the choices you make by prioritising your own well-being are the best thing 
you can do for the chemically dependent person.

 

 

 General Principles of SOS Family & Friends 

 

 

 All those who wish to gain understanding of their feelings about their relationship with an addicted person are welcome. 

 

 

 Family and friends may be invited by SOS groups to attend meetings with recovering alcoholics 
and addicts, as well as having the right to form separate SOS Family and Friends meetings, if they wish.
 

 

 

 Honest, clear and direct communication of feelings, thoughts and knowledge aids in recovery. 
Support in choosing non-destructive, non-delusional and rational approaches to living sober, 
rewarding lives helps in developing healthier relationships.
 

 

 

 In SOS, family and friends gain insight into the workings of other recovering persons, as members 
share experiences, information, strengths and encouragement in friendly, honest and supportive group meetings.
 

 

 

 SOS guards the anonymity of all those who attend meetings and the contents of the discussions 
from those not within the group.
 

 

 

 SOS is not the spin-off of any political or religious group. SOS is concerned with aiding family and friends in 
developing understanding and compassion for the recovering individual.

 

 
 SOS encourages the scientific study of all aspects of alcoholism and addiction. 
SOS does not limit its outlook to one area of knowledge or theory of alcoholism and addiction.
 
 
 
 SOS is secular. We welcome all regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs. 
Spiritual and religious matters are not discussed in group and are respected 
as the private domain of each individual.
Why not use the article
to start a discussion in your group?
 
 
 
 
Recommended Reading
 
 
Living with a Drinker : How you can change things
 
by Mary Wilson (Harper Collins 1989)
 
A very down-to-earth, practical manual covering all the issues for partners of alcoholics. 
May be useful for those addicted to drugs too.
 
 
 
The following have much spiritual/moral content, but also contain much useful information :
 

Drinking Problems = Family Problems

by M.L.Mayer (Momenta)
 
 
 
Children of Alcoholics : How a Parent’s Drinking can Affect Your Life
by David Stafford (Piatkus, 1992)
 

Women Who Love Too Much

by Robin Norwood (Arrow, 1996)
 
Thank you at SOS International for this web page.  To see all of the web site go to
 
webmaster
Duaine Metevia

Save Our Selves (SOS)
4773 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90027
Phone# 323-666-4295
SOS@CFIWest.org

Find a Meeting
If you want to become a part of SOS let James Christopher know you're out there.  If there is no meeting listed in your area, it could mean that there are people in your area who are waiting for more people to come forward and start a meeting.  The way meetings start are people contacting the clearing house and leaving their contact info.  Some cities only have phone contacts, people who will talk to you or meet with you for coffee so please leave your contact info; don't miss out.

Disclaimer
IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS, YOU SHOULD SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE & GUIDANCE. FROM A DOCTOR !
THE IDEAS & INFORMATION HERE ARE NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. 
The content of this web site is for your information only concerning the ideas and methods of self help groups. 
We do not accept any responsibility for their accuracy or use.
You agree to hold harmless the SOS organizations and webmaster from any and all 
liability arising directly or indirectly from your use of information contained in this web site. 
The use of any information is entirely the responsibility of the reader.
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