At my first Al‑Anon meeting, people were chatting and laughing. It was hard for me to understand how they could find anything to laugh about. I was miserable. Singlehandedly supporting a family of four, I was angry at myself for not just grabbing my young children and leaving. My alcoholic husband was handsome and charming when out in public but ignored me and the kids on the rare occasions he was home.
His part-time job at a shoe store did pay for his alcohol, but our family life was empty and loveless. It took many meetings and lots of reading of Al‑Anon literature before I realized that alcoholism is a disease, and I was affected by it.
After reading all the Al‑Anon books and pamphlets I could find, one word stuck with me: detachment. I had spent a lot of time trying many different approaches to get the alcoholic to recognize that the kids and I needed his attention and love. I learned to detach, and he eventually hit bottom and sought sobriety. Thanks to Al‑Anon, I was able to eventually drop my obsession with the alcoholic. I continued in my career as a science writer and focused on my interests in the arts and music, all of which improved my self-esteem.
Unfortunately, my marriage did not last, but in my Al‑Anon groups, I found friendship, love, laughter, and self-worth that continue to carry me through a wonderful, serene life.
By Faith, New Jersey
The Forum, September 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.