Living with an Alcoholic Partner: An Ethnographic Study among Al-Anon Groups

  • Sulu Priya B Department of Social Work,D.G. Vaishnav College, Chennai
Keywords: Alcohol addiction, Al-Anon groups, alcoholics’ wives, mutual aid, ethnography


Alcohol addiction is a disease that engulfs not only addicts but also their significant others
around them. The psychosocial and economic disruptions it can cause in the dependent
family members’ lives lay the study’s background. The immediate and most significant
persons facing the consequences are the spouses of addicts. They are labeled as an
alcohol addict’s spouse and attributed to be responsible for the addict’s irresponsibility
over his life and time. Al-Anon Family Groups are a Self-help model of group education
for spouses and those who are affected by the alcoholism of an addict. This paper shares
the results of an ethnographic study among two selected Al-Anon group meetings in
Tamil Nadu, India. Al-Anon group meetings were chosen in concordance with strict
adherence to anonymity. It was observed that the women participating in Al-Anon groups
could develop confidence in dealing with their alcoholic husbands and select strategies
to face their life situations resiliently. The study is relevant as significantly few structured
programs are designed to care for the most critical caregivers of the addicts. The study
calls for the attention of health givers, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists
to the plight of alcoholics’ wives

Author Biography

Sulu Priya B, Department of Social Work,D.G. Vaishnav College, Chennai

Assistant Professor & HOD, Department of Social Work,D.G. Vaishnav College, Chennai