As a child growing up with an alcoholic father, I often curled myself up into the corner of my bed, plugged my ears, and made myself “invisible”—tuning out the violence in our home. By my teenage years, I didn’t have to hide and plug my ears anymore; I was an expert at tuning things out and being the invisible child.
My mother, brothers, sister, and I never talked about what was happening. We really didn’t talk about anything. We watched TV and escaped to friends’ homes where we still didn’t talk about it. I eventually became involved in youth groups and had “healthy” people in my life. I wanted to be healthy, too, so I embraced their God and their way of life. The scared little girl was tucked away.
I married, had two children, divorced, and then remarried. My husband was my best friend, my soulmate. He made me feel valued and safe. Then the disease of alcoholism gripped him. He changed, and the scared little girl inside me trembled.
My doctor and counselor both recommended Al‑Anon. It took a great deal of courage to go to that first meeting, but eventually, I learned to share my story with these people who understood. I came to know the God of my understanding, who gave me strength to stand up for the scared little girl I still was inside.
Al‑Anon has helped me find and know myself, and to see the alcoholic, not as a monster, but as a human being with a disease. We are divorced now, but friends. He is now in recovery, and I pray his Higher Power guides him. Meanwhile, I continue with my recovery in Al‑Anon—a lifetime journey. No longer invisible, listening and learning, I am a grateful Al‑Anon member.
By Brooke W.
The Forum, October 2021
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.