Growing up in a dysfunctional home, I knew chaos very well. I always felt there was something wrong, but I didn’t know what or how to fix it.

When I was 20, I had my first son. At 25, I divorced and had two boys to raise. At 30, I married my second alcoholic. She was a good person, held a job, was very helpful raising my two children, and I loved her. The drinking became worse after the boys left home and I thought about divorce, but I couldn’t leave my wife. By age 50, my life had become unmanageable and I had nowhere to turn. At 54, I must have had the right amount of anger, resentment and anxiety to know I needed help and had to do something about it—anything.

Through many visits to emergency rooms and rehabs, I heard about Al‑Anon but always assumed my wife was the one with the problem, not me. But I did realize what I was doing was not working, so in January 2015 I went to my first Al‑Anon meeting.

The people were kind and their stories sounded a lot like mine. The first thing I latched onto was a list called “The Do’s and Don’ts.” Immediately I knew I was doing almost all of the “don’ts” and none of the “do’s.”  A member suggested that I try to think about one “do,” and one “don’t” each week, so I printed the list and taped it to my wall. Soon I could catch myself before I did one of the “don’ts.”

After my first Al-Anon meeting, I felt better about life and things did not seem so hopeless. I thought if one meeting was good, then two would be better. I also met a wise man in the program who directed me to an Al-Anon meeting that was especially for men. He told me he believed the program never really takes off until you go through the Twelve Steps.

My wife passed away from her disease about one year after I decided to get a Sponsor and started working Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps. God’s timing saved me from a life of “stinking thinking.” I still attend Al‑Anon and volunteer to do service work in the program. I now have a good idea how to help others and also how to take good care of myself.

By John H., Texas
Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2019