There are friends and family of alcoholics that formed a support group called Al Anon. It was founded by Lois Wilson, the wife of the founder of the alcoholics anonymous who is Bill Wilson. Lois was famous and an inspiration to the people who have alcoholic loved ones.
Lois was the first of six children born to Clark and Matilda Burnham. Her father practiced surgery in Brooklyn Heights, New York. The granddaughter of a Swedish born pastor where she was raised in that faith. At the Pratt Institute and later Friends School, she attended kindergarten. She studied fine arts at Packer Collegiate Institute. She had a talent for drawing, and later developed skill in interior decoration. After graduation she worked for the YWCA and later taught at a private school.
Lois and Bill met through her younger brother. Bill became a friend of Roger, Lois’s younger brother and then, met Lois. To make a long story short, they fell in love and hoped to build a family.
On the contrary, Bill Wilson was raised in a not so happy family. Bill Wilson was nine when his parents separated. His alcoholic father deserted the family, and the following year his mother left Bill and his sister with her parents and moved from Vermont to Boston. Bill’s childhood and young adulthood were used up fighting depression, bitterness, low self-esteem and guilty feelings that would worsen the anger, bitterness and grandiose ambitions that fueled his alcoholism.
During their marriage, Bill was still an alcohol drinker, all the more when the couple was tackled with several miscarriages and finally facing the fact that they were not able to bear children. With Bill’s problem, he had undergone darkness as any other alcoholics would. And finally, he found the light and entered a rehabilitation center. After his rehab, he started Alcoholics Anonymous. Later on, Lois founded Al Anon which caters to the friends and family of alcoholics.
In 1935, after years of ineffectively struggling to cover for Bill and handle his disease, Lois finally saw him take control of his alcoholism; however, his sobriety was not the result of Lois’s help, rather it came through the support of a fellow recovering alcoholic, Dr. Bob Smith. As Bill and Bob reached lasting sobriety and co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous, Lois began to question the value she had in her own marriage. After devoting 17 years to healing her sick husband, Lois felt left out and angry that he had gotten sober without her help. Lois eventually discovered that she was not alone. She slowly engaged the wives of the men in Bill’s program and came to realize that while Bill was addicted to alcohol, she was addicted to him – and that the family and friends of alcoholics are, in some ways, as sick as their loved ones. Lois achieved the required understanding needed to repair her fractured relationship and to help millions of others do the same. And that’s how she founded Al Anon.
Al Anon was an organization that began from Lois’ journey of having informal meetings with the friends and family of alcoholics. She was able to start the organization because she wished to help the loved ones who experienced the same thing she did. When she started to share her innermost thoughts and feelings with others, she came to understand that she had really believed she could control her husband’s life. She was totally certain that her love and inspiration was all that was required to fulfill his every need, that her own willpower and steadfast guidance was all that was needed to quench Bill’s thirst for alcohol.
Lois served as an inspiration to the people who have suffered because their loved ones are victims of alcohol. It is certainly true that it is those people whose loved ones have become alcoholics who endure the most. It hurts them that their loved ones have become lost on their way. They could not seem to bear the ache of seeing their loved ones suffer from addiction.
Al Anon is a support group for family and loved ones of people suffering from alcoholism.