Many years ago, a friend of mine went to dinner with my husband and me. As we walked to our car afterward, she asked me “Does he always drink like that?” I said with a plastered smile and fake, casual voice, “Oh, no, he just drinks socially.” I was sad, angry and embarrassed, but I also was living in denial about his alcoholism. She encouraged me to try Al‑Anon, to which I responded, “Why should I go to Al‑Anon? He is the one with the problem.” That was all I was willing to admit. She briefly explained what Al‑Anon is, but she did not mention why I might qualify for it. That was the elephant in the room.
A couple of years later, on a Thursday night, all my rage and frustration of feeling helpless about his drinking rose up in me and exploded like a volcano. I was a madwoman, screeching and cursing him. I told him that I wished he would die and I wished I would die, too, because I couldn’t live in my own skin anymore. I recall that incident like an out of body experience. I thought, how could that woman be me? The next day, I gathered the courage to attend my first Al‑Anon meeting. What a gift…what a miracle. It had never occurred to me that I was powerless over alcohol. That first meeting had a profound and lasting effect on me. Meanwhile, my husband was mortified that I had gone to a meeting because he was afraid that now everyone would know that he was an alcoholic. We both believed he hid his drinking from the eyes of the public. Today I know that alcoholism truly is a family disease.
By Jeanine G., Louisiana
The Forum, June 2018