My husband and I had been to family counseling as well as spiritual counseling and were told I needed to go to Al‑Anon and he needed A.A. Of course, I thought it was all his problem and if he would just stop drinking, we would not be in this situation. My husband had been in and out of A.A., and he asked me to just try Al‑Anon. But I said no. “Just stop drinking!

He borrowed some literature from a neighbor for me to read. I immediately returned it to her. However, I happened to find Alcoholism, A Merry Go Round Named Denial (P-3) lying on the desk, and I finally decided to read it. The section about the roles of family members in the disease brought me out of my denial, and a seed was planted for the possibility of attending Al‑Anon.

Soon after this, my husband was charged with a DWI, and he chose family counseling through the local recovery center rather than jail. I had no choice but to go to counseling with him. The counselor’s assignment for us was (again) for him to attend A.A. and me to attend Al‑Anon—and there were meetings that night. Finally, I was miserable enough to be willing to accept the gift of desperation.

When I walked through the door of that meeting, I knew those people had something I wanted and needed. I heard the three Cs: I didn’t cause my husband’s drinking, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. I also heard “Keep Coming Back.” They told me it is okay to love an alcoholic and not love his actions. I desperately needed to hear that.

The May 4th reading in One Day at a Time in Al‑Anon (B-6) states, “In a sense, everything that happens to me is a gift from God….these can be considered gifts of enlightenment.” I could not see that until I accepted the gift of desperation that first night. Then I realized there were many more gifts out there waiting for me.

By Joyce Y., Texas

The Forum, December 2023

Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.