INTERVIEWER: Can you share with us how your family was affected by the family disease of alcoholism?
MEMBER: I was born into a family of mixed cultures. There was Hispanic culture. There was Native American culture and a little bit of English thrown in by way of Tennessee. So, I really believe that growing up in a family where my father’s drinking began to affect me and a mother whose family stuff clearly helped teach me tools that were not healthy tools, but tools to live with the disease that I used for a long time.
You know, I ended up in several relationships, finally married my husband of now almost 40 years, and because of we were perfect for each other simply because I grew up in that family atmosphere that was that fed me the sickness of the family disease, of alcoholism. And so, I was right to be with my husband. And he comes from a different culture.
So together we are so different. And we’ve had to find similarities. So, it his alcoholism and his heroin addiction just fit perfectly with my need to be needed and to help him and fix him and make him okay. And I was driven by keeping secrets my whole life. And when I came into Al‑Anon, I came in simply because he had gone into treatment and at the treatment center, they said I had to go to Al‑Anon because I was sick, and they wouldn’t let him out if I didn’t go to Al‑Anon.
But I finally did go to Al‑Anon and I went to Al‑Anon simply because not because I thought I needed it, because I really didn’t think I did. I thought I was perfect. But I went because when he went to treatment, I really wanted the counselors to think that I was that wonderful, loving, perfect caring wife, which I was not.
And I’m very, very grateful, because if it wasn’t for Al‑Anon, I would not have the relationship with my husband that I have today. If it was not for Al‑Anon and finding a Sponsor and working those Steps, I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with my children and I wouldn’t have the relationship with the God of my understanding, which I found because of working those 12 Steps.
MEMBER: And I certainly would not be the woman I am today. And so, I am very grateful that I was born into a family where I was affected by someone’s drinking that led me to all the relationships that I had to experience that got me into the rooms of Al‑Anon. That really changed me. And really gave me a new life, a new life, a new sense of purpose. And because of that, I really believe that my family has changed and has grown for the very best.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you for sharing that with us.