I had recently separated from my husband. He had a drinking problem that I was trying to ignore. A couple of my close friends knew some of what was happening at my house. A few months before my husband and I separated, one of my friends strongly encouraged me to go to Al‑Anon. I was in complete denial and didn’t want to add another thing to deal with to my crazy life.

A couple of months after we separated, I finally attended my first meeting. I went because I feared for my kids’ safety while they were at their dad’s, and it was almost too much to bear. My fear for their safety was now greater than my shame and fear of admitting that my husband had a drinking problem. I remember shaking when going to my first meeting, my second meeting, and my third meeting. I could barely read the Twelve Steps. I was still afraid of facing the reality of the situation I had lived with for several years, as well as the new situation of making sure my kids were okay when they were under their dad’s care.

Why did I originally come? Initially it was hard to do, but I had tried everything else. I wanted to find the serenity that I sensed in the people at the meetings. I learned that I was there for me, that I did not cause my husband to drink, and that I was not responsible for him or his actions. The word “love” was mentioned several times. I wanted that and peace.

Why do I continue to come back? I realized that Al‑Anon has been one of the best gifts I have been given in my life. Living with the disease of alcoholism had taken away almost everything in my life—my confidence, my security, and my trust in almost everything and everyone. Working the Al‑Anon program helped to build myself back up and gave me so much more than I ever thought possible. Even though I still deal with many of the day-to-day effects of alcoholism on myself and my kids, I have an amazing life beyond anything I had ever dreamed. I am now living life, dealing with the tough stuff, and enjoying the wonderful things that life has to offer.

I have been in Al‑Anon for three years. I keep coming back for so many reasons, but the most important to me is that I am a better, more fulfilled person than I was yesterday, and I see how the next day will be better than the day before for the rest of my life while I continue to participate in all that Al‑Anon has to offer me.

By Anonymous

The Forum, January 2021

Feel free to reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.