When my spouse retired, his behaviour changed. I couldn’t understand what was happening, especially when he became verbally aggressive toward me for trivial matters. I found an online story from someone describing what she termed a dry drunk. The behaviours she listed matched those of my spouse, and she suggested Al‑Anon. My first meeting was difficult. I arrived early and sat in my car, terrified of entering. I was so ashamed of being unable to handle this situation on my own. I almost went home, but something deep inside gave me the courage I needed to stay.

The group was welcoming and gentle; however, I soon realized the members of this meeting were not a good fit for me. Armed with a list of alternate meetings in our area, I started trying others out. It still took a lot of effort to go to my second meeting place, but it was so much easier than the first. I was beginning to see that it wasn’t an act of cowardice to attend meetings, but an act of bravery. I now know I’m not alone and each person’s sharing is helping me discover strands of strength within me.

By Mary, British Columbia

The Forum, April 2019