When I first came to Al-Anon, I was so empty inside I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I couldn’t believe that my husband’s drinking was going to end the day he entered Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). He promised so many times to stop drinking, and now A.A. was going to help him and not me. As for our three children, I felt that I didn’t have any control over their behavior.
Slowly, I started to listen to the Al-Anon members in my weekly meeting. Gradually, I came to understand that alcoholism is a disease. I repeated over and over that I can’t control it, I did not cause it, and I can’t cure it. My group said, “Let A.A. take care of him, and let Al-Anon take care of you!”
Al-Anon helps me to look back on my behavior, particularly my behavior with my children. It was hard to admit that I probably harmed them more than my husband did. They knew their dad drank, but they wondered what was wrong with me.
When I heard people in Al-Anon share about growing up in an alcoholic home, it helped me realize that I, too, was a child of an alcoholic. This is what I brought into my marriage. I couldn’t blame everything on my husband anymore.
In the beginning, I used my Al-Anon group as my Higher Power. Today, I call God my Higher Power. God used my Al-Anon group to help me. Through God, and with Al-Anon’s help, I made it through a son’s attempted suicide, my parents’ death, the early pregnancy of a teenage son’s girlfriend, our two sons’ drinking and drug abuse, and going to court to fight for grandparents’ rights. Al-Anon has helped me keep my serenity.
Today, I am still in Al-Anon. I’ve held many service jobs in my group, district, and Area. I love reading the books and pamphlets of Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature. When my Al‑Anon friends share their stories, they give me a step-by-step approach on how to gain back my self-respect and self-esteem, and on how to keep them. The Al‑Anon program works, and I am proud to call myself an Al-Anon member.
By Carol R., Minnesota
The Forum, June 2016
Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.