As my husband’s drinking got worse, I found myself drifting away from my friends because I didn’t want them to see what was going on. I stopped inviting people to the house because I wasn’t sure what mood he would be in, and I stopped accepting invitations because I wasn’t sure what I would come home to. I thought if I were at home, maybe he wouldn’t drink or at least not drink so much.

One day I realized I didn’t have any close friends anymore—no one I could really confide in or be myself with. I was always pretending things were wonderful when in fact, they weren’t. What an exhausting way to live!

Then I found Al-Anon. At first, I was frightened about walking into a room full of strangers and discussing the intimate details of my life, especially since I had gotten so good at hiding them. But all I really had to do was walk into the room, take a seat and listen. I noted the word friendship in the welcome:

“We welcome you…and hope you will find in this fellowship the help and friendship we have been privileged to enjoy.”

I soon discovered that the people there felt less like strangers once I realized the common bond we shared. I also discovered that I would not find a more kindhearted, caring group of people on earth than at an Al-Anon meeting.

Slowly I have learned that I can drop the pretense of a perfect life and let people see the real me. I haven’t gotten all my old friends back, but that’s okay because I now have a new group of friends who truly understand me and with whom I can be myself.

By Jeri D., Wisconsin  

The Forum, May 2018