After my fiancé died from progressive drinking, I begged God to let me die too. I had failed to save him, and I had failed his parents, who had said I was their last hope. Someone close to me said they didn’t understand why someone so smart with so many opportunities couldn’t stop drinking. That question intensified my grief and feelings of devastating loss. I felt abandoned. In my mind, the way his parents had responded to his drinking only increased his guilt and shame and drained him of any remaining motivation to quit. I could not stop blaming and resenting them.
At his memorial service, his best friend, who has years of sobriety through A.A., quietly suggested that Al‑Anon might be good for me. I was nervous at my first meeting but discovered that everyone there understood. People hugged me and told me they were glad I had come. I bought a daily reader and read it with my breakfast every morning. I cried at meetings for several months. No one judged my grief. No one criticized me.
I have learned that alcoholism is not a moral problem and that his parents had no intention of propelling him toward death, nor the power to do so. I realized I, too, had responded in ways that only served to temporarily make me feel less anxious about his precarious state.
Through Al‑Anon, I have learned my job is to work on changing myself, not saving others. I had become as sick as my departed alcoholic fiancé, had lived in reaction to someone’s drinking since birth, and had spent my life trying to save others to alleviate my own fears. The most important part of my new awareness is accepting that I am powerless over alcohol and all people, places, and things. The serenity I am beginning to experience is an unexpected gift from God.
By Melinda D., New Hampshire
The Forum, July 2022
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.