Al-Anon offers encouragement during holidays

The turkey on the kitchen counter was freshly thawed. An open refrigerator illuminated Laura McCoy’s predicament. Long ago she had earned her reputation as a master chef, but in recent years Laura usually disappeared and passed out before her extended family sat down to enjoy the dinner she had prepared.

“You know,” Laura said to her husband in the kitchen, “I’ve never cooked a turkey without drinking. I don’t think I can do this sober.”

The holiday season puts a spotlight on problems in personal relationships, especially when heavy drinking is part of family celebrations. Jack McCoy, pseudonym for a member of Al-Anon Family Groups and the husband of a recovering alcoholic, had found his wife standing terrified in the kitchen this holiday morning. The expression on Laura’s face said it all. “I don’t know how to do this,” she said.

Sometimes encouragement for a recovering alcoholic can be as simple as, “You don’t have to do everything perfectly.” At other times, it might call for, “Would you like to have some help?” Jack McCoy’s response, thanks to support from his local Al-Anon Family Group, was to help his wife find the information she wanted.

Al-Anon Family Groups are for families and friends who have been affected by someone else’s drinking. Over 14,000 family groups meet every week throughout the U.S. and Canada. For meeting schedules of local groups, call 502-458-1234. For more information about Al-Anon and Alateen, go to There are no dues or fees to attend meetings. The program is self-supporting from members’ voluntary contributions and the sale of Al-Anon recovery literature.