I Am Whole

One day, I was listening to an Al‑Anon speaker, who shed new light on me and my relationships. I had been working with my Sponsor about them and, in describing my failing relationship with my wife, he said, “She must be in considerable pain to have done, said and acted as she did.” I was stunned because I had never looked at our relationship from her perspective before. I also thought about my anger at my dad for his lack of involvement in my life. But, with a bit of compassion, I saw that he, too, had grown up without a father in very tough times. If he hadn’t had a role model, how could he be one?

All my life, I had focused on what I believed I was missing. But the speaker gave me a new perspective, saying “We are all born whole.” I began to see that, while I am flawed, I am not broken, not missing anything. I was finally able to embrace myself as the little boy who had been hurt and too often left by himself. I had experienced terrible things, but I had emerged. I did not have to be defined by my experiences, and I could see that I was not a victim, but a survivor.

By Lewis J.

The Forum, March 2018

2018-02-27T15:48:13+00:00February 27, 2018|Categories: Alcoholic Parent, Alcoholic Spouse or Partner, The Forum|


  1. Sheri August 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you for your post. My husband died of cirrhosis, kidney failure, diabetes and esophageal varices almost two years ago. He was only 58 yrs old, but we had been together 42 yrs . . . we were high school sweethearts. About a year before he died, I was at an Al-Anon meeting where someone spoke about the shame and self-loathing that the alcoholic/addict feels. All of a sudden, a lightbulb went on for me. I could not imagine living every day with that feeling. At that moment I was able to let go of so much anger and resentment I had for my husband. I am thankful that we were able to make amends before he died, thanks to Al-Anon.

    I miss my husband terribly, but, in some ways, death is much easier than watching your loved one commit suicide slowly with alcohol and drugs.

  2. Susan P. May 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Such a beautiful story about emerging from a sad childhood. How profound the thought, “We are all born whole.” I walk around thinking I’m only half a person most of the time (subconsciously), so this perspective is illuminating. A childhood doesn’t have to destroy adulthood. I am worthy 🙂 Thank you for posting your story.

  3. JESSE P. May 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you for posting. I’m looking at my wife’s behavior at a new perspective as a result of your post. Thank you.

  4. Carlos M. May 2018 at 9:02 am

    Thank you for sharing this perspective of looking at the past through a different set of eye or new window has given me hope for the future and healing of many years of abuse that I have buried and need to set free. Thank you again.

  5. Sally S. March 2018 at 5:31 am

    “She must be in considerable pain to have done, said, and acted as she did,” is good to keep in mind when I (in Al-Anon) stumble, too. Compassion for myself is an important tool.

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