I had just given birth to my first child—a beautiful baby girl—and I thought all my problems were going to disappear. I thought I was going to be the perfect mother and wife, and I was going to have a perfect family. However, my life was spiraling out of control. I had grown up in a family with addiction and married an active alcoholic. I was sad, frustrated, and unable to see beyond my own pain and fear. Upon the urging of a mental health professional, I decided to go to an Al‑Anon meeting. In the beginning, those meetings were challenging. I was flooded with years of stuffed emotions, and I would cry or rage throughout them. However, I kept coming back because they offered my soul a deep relief I found nowhere else. I had to go slow and allow time for healing before I could move forward. However, I soon found that, just as the welcome in my group stated, I could find happiness whether the alcoholic was still drinking or not. I have learned to let go of my fears of what may be and live and love in what is. I no longer need to be a perfect mother or wife; I have learned that is not possible. Al‑Anon has provided me with a lifeline of hope in a situation that once felt hopeless.

By Holly C., Montana

The Forum, December 2019