A little ditty on the “Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous (The Family Afterwards).

A little ditty on the “Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous (The Family Afterwards).

The Family Afterwards is the book’s effort to show the family of a sober alcoholic what they might expect and suggestions on how they may deal with the newly sober family member.

Is this chapter only for the family or should the alcoholic read this also?

This chapter gives much helpful experience on what to expect when dealing with a newly sober family member. Solid specific examples are given of what troubles may arise in the family and how to deal with them. But also there is important information for the alcoholic as well.

The early members and their family’s share some of the problems that came up for them adjusting to a sober family member. Typically, referring to the husband as the sober one. Back when this book was first published (1939) most of the members of AA were men. However what is written to the alcoholic husband also applies to the alcoholic wife, son, or daughter as well.

My wife is now sober and going to meetings. How long does she have to attend these meetings?

Attending meetings is an important part of the recovering person’s program. Yet, so is the home life with family as well. So a balance is needed here. This is brought up in chapter 9 several times. However when first sober it is a good idea for the newcomer to go to as many meetings as possible. This is the place the new member will find support from other alcoholics and a sponsor, someone who can help them along the way with the twelve steps and issues that come up as they stay sober. So, the family will need to understand that there will be a growing period for all and this chapter talks about it at length.

My husband was not there for us when drinking and now sober is busy with their new sober friends. What about us?

One of the most important messages to the family is tolerance and patience. The book mentions that family members often have high expectations for the newly sober one and are frequently disappointed when the sober alcoholic is not there for the family as expected. The book reminds the family they must realize that their alcoholic loved one is sober and over time will be more able to be there for the family. However the book warns that expectations may never be wholly met.

As stated in Chapter 9; The alcoholic’s past thus becomes the principal asset of the family and frequently it is almost the only one! The sober one will now have the ability to help other alcoholics.

What is the success rate for members staying sober?

Alcoholics Anonymous states that about a 50-percent of people who come into AA get sober right away. Another 25-percent who relapse, eventually come back and stay sober. While approximately 25-percent do not remain sober. Because of the anonymous nature of Alcoholics Anonymous it is really not possible for AA to have hard numbers on this.

For the AA program to work, it is said the member must hit some kind of bottom. Fortunately the bottom has been raised over the years so that one can recovery without going through the horrible insanity that the earlier members went through.