When I got to Al‑Anon, I was fearful of my alcoholic husband—afraid of his rages, of things he might say to me, of riding in the car with him, and of the possibility he might leave me. I felt hopeless and trapped. 

I received the gift of hope at my first Al‑Anon meeting. As I continued going to meetings regularly, reading the literature, and talking to people, I began to learn that I had choices and that I could detach from my husband’s behavior. As I received more serenity, I found I did not have to participate when he was angry, and his temper didn’t hurt me so much. Now sometimes, when I’m doing well, I just say to myself—that’s his disease talking; I don’t have to take it personally. 

As I got better at taking care of myself, I chose to do the driving when we were together in the car. After lots of practice, I still hope to one day be able to simply say, “that hurt” when my husband or anyone else says something that stings. While I wait for the ability to say that to arrive, I am at least able to say to myself—that’s their opinion; it doesn’t have to be mine. I also recognize that sometimes my hurts are self-inflicted, and I may need to focus on my part in the situation. 

I was fortunate that my spouse found sobriety, and he is my best friend today. We write love letters to each other on a regular basis, which has become a safe way for me to express some of my fears to him. I no longer fear him, nor am I afraid that he’ll leave. I love him “One Day at a Time,” which is all any of us can do, anyway. Each day is precious, and I thank Al‑Anon for giving me a more positive attitude. 

By Marina P., Oregon 

The Forum, February 2019