ization from Europe
Dallas Guide to Starting a Meeting
Behind Bars Guide to Starting a Meeting
How to Start a Meeting
Dallas Opening Meeting
SOS Approach to eating Disorders
Book for Group Leaders
-AA From SOS Europe
as I see it
on 12 Steps
12 Steps Work for Some People
Your Group be a Cult?
& Medical Articles
Links Print Out
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
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 about
chemical dependency and its consequences for relationships.
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
of addicts in ways which then affect their own behaviour and physical and mental
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
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
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
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
You are no more responsible for or able of curing cancer, if it befell a close
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
especially in the first few years. You cannot play a decisive influence in the
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.
loved is sober and in recover, you also need to understand the Cycle of
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
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
but often complex road of recovery for YOU and your loved one.
& 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
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
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.
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.
Principles 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 recovery.
Support in choosing non-destructive, non-delusional and rational approaches to
rewarding lives helps in developing healthier relationships.
In SOS, family
and friends gain insight into the workings of other recovering persons, as
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.
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.
not use the article
to start a discussion in your group?
- 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