Dispatches From the Hispanic Al-Anon/ Alateen Convention

By Elizabeth Santeramo 04/16/12

Hundreds of Spanish-speaking family and friends of alcoholics gather in Chicago, seeking to help the Latino community.

Fellowship for friends and families of
problem drinkers

Smiling faces and laughter filled Chicago's Midway Marriot Hotel over the weekend, as more than 300 Spanish-speaking members from across the US took part in this year’s XIX National Hispanic Al-Anon/Alateen Convention. The theme for these families and friends of problem drinkers was “The Winds of Experience, Strength and Hope.” The convention’s founder, Mirta S., stated “Our convention has two purposes: One—to carry the message in the Latin community to those affected by someone’s drinking; and Two—to unify the Hispanic groups in the United States. Watching this convention grow and seeing newcomers arrive is the greatest gift.” Gloria C., Public Outreach Coordinator for the national convention, tells The Fix: "On a national level, we are working hard to reach our Latino communities via Latino newspapers, festivals, and on TV interviews." On Friday, she and other representatives met with staff at the Mexican Consulate, where an average of 1,000 Mexican Americans visit daily. "The outcome was excellent—we are on our way to having local Al-Anon members offer free literature and meeting lists," she says. "This will benefit many in the Latino community.” Mirta S. is also pleased with the event: “Knowing that at least one person has reached out for help, means one family has renewed hope at a second chance.” The 2013 convention goes to New Mexico.

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Elizabeth Santeramo is multi-faceted professional writer whose career began as a researcher and writer for former NYC Mayors, Dinkins and Giuliani. She has written extensively about youth, women, and family issues around alcoholism, addiction, and human trafficking awareness. Elizabeth has been featured on Businessweek.com, ABC-TV, Univision andTelemundo. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter or find out more about her on Linkedin.