Like so many before me, I came to Al‑Anon in a desperate state. I needed help without even knowing it. My husband was in the hospital for the second time in a year with pancreatitis from drinking. I had tried everything, but nothing worked. Fortunately, a social worker at the hospital suggested I go to an Al‑Anon meeting. I didn’t understand—I thought, he has the problem, not me. Why do I need to go to a meeting?

When I first went, I cried; I felt like nobody knew what I was going through. However, as I continued to go, I came to understand that Al‑Anon is for people who are affected by or worried about someone else’s drinking. I was a mess and obsessed about his every breathing moment. I could tell you everything about him, but I had lost myself through the years of heavy drinking.

I now understand why the social worker sent me to Al‑Anon, and I am forever grateful. I can’t even imagine my life without it.

Today, I am in a good place, even though my husband still drinks. We have been together for 35 years, and I love him. But I do not obsess over his drinking; I have learned not to enable, and I keep the focus on myself. I start sentences off with “I” instead of “you.” I also know that silence is okay—I don’t have to always be talking or controlling. I can say what I mean and mean what I say without saying it in a mean way. I have found myself, and I like me today. I am not perfect and that’s okay—I am a work in progress. By attending Al‑Anon meetings, I have gained confidence in myself. I have boundaries today, as well as choices. I allow people into my life now instead of pushing them away. I continue to participate in meetings because I want to be part of this program that helped me live again, and I want to give back what has been given to me.

By Kathy D., Florida

The Forum, September 2019