What is SOS
Organization from Europe
Your Sobriety Toolkit
Europe Tool box
First 30 Days
SOS Dallas Guide to Starting a Meeting
SOS Behind Bars Guide to Starting a Meeting
Europe How to Start a Meeting
SOS Dallas Opening Meeting
An SOS Approach to eating Disorders
Guide Book for Group Leaders
Behind Bars Posts
Family & Friends
SOS Conference 2000
SOS -AA From SOS Europe
SOS-AA as I see it
Discussion__ on 12 Steps
Why 12 Steps Work for Some People
Could Your Group be a Cult?
Chartered or Shackled
Scientific & Medical Articles
SOS Links Print Out
members and friends of alcoholics and addicts are very welcome at SOS
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
related to active addiction and the recovery process.
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
chemical dependency and its consequences for relationships.
and friends of alcoholics and addicts often suffer as much or more
psychologically as the addicts themselves. They can get caught up in the
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
is critical to helping you help yourself and your loved one.
coming to SOS, family and friends can learn about the illness and arm
against its negative effects. Understanding the illness rationally is
the first step toward
defending oneself from its destructive influence on you and your close
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.
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
The addict must break their own denial and come to accept and
addiction THEMSELVES, if they are to recover. It is not your fault or
You are no more responsible for or able of curing cancer, if it befell a
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
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
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
YOUR OWN WELL BEING on a daily basis.
1. Knowledge of Addiction & Sobriety Cycles
2. Daily Acknowledgement
Daily Prioritisation of Own Well-Being
GUIDELINES FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS
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.
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
from the psychological effects of living with the addiction. Be good to
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.
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
Believe that the
choices you make by prioritising your own well-being are the best thing
you can do for the chemically dependent person.
of SOS Family & Friends
who wish to gain understanding of their feelings about their
relationship with an addicted person are welcome.
friends may be invited by SOS groups to attend meetings with recovering
and addicts, as well as having the right to form separate SOS Family and
Friends meetings, if they wish.
and direct communication of feelings, thoughts and knowledge aids in
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,
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
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.
encourages the scientific study of all aspects of alcoholism and
SOS does not limit its outlook to one area of knowledge or theory of
alcoholism and addiction.
secular. We welcome all regardless of religious or non-religious
Spiritual and religious matters are not discussed in group and are
as the private domain of each individual.
not use the article
to start a discussion in your group?
- Living with a Drinker :
How you can change things
- by Mary Wilson (Harper
- A very down-to-earth,
practical manual covering all the issues for partners of
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