Before I came to Al‑Anon, my wife’s family confronted me about some of my behavior that they didn’t appreciate. When they had barbecues, they didn’t like that I wouldn’t drink with their friends. They accused me of being antisocial and rude. I wondered what was wrong  with me. My impression was my wife and her family were normal drinkers, and the person who had the drinking problem was me.

When a counselor sent me to my first Al‑Anon meeting, I attended without knowing why. The meeting leader said I was welcome and to “Keep Coming Back” until I knew for sure whether Al‑Anon could help me. After I attended a few meetings, my wife asked what was going on. She said I seemed to be feeling better— not so depressed and lonely. She asked me where I’d been going in the evenings. I said a counselor had sent me to Al‑Anon meetings, and I wanted our kids to start going to Alateen. I don’t remember what she said, but within a couple of weeks, she started going to Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.).

I had no idea my wife had a drinking problem until she told me. When I said I’d only seen her drunk three or four times in the 18 years we’d been married, she said I’d never really seen her sober. She said she kept a constant level of alcohol in her bloodstream at all times. She said for her every day was like coming out of the dentist’s office. She could drive, talk, and eat, but she couldn’t feel anything.

Eventually, my wife told me the real reason why she went to A.A. She was afraid she was going to lose her kids. As a result, she became a lifelong member of Alcoholics Anonymous and has kept a very close relationship with our children. All of our lives have gotten better because a counselor recommended that I go to Al‑Anon. I continue to benefit because so many members have invited me to “Keep Coming Back.” I will always be grateful.

By Pat Q., Montana

Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2020