When I first walked into Al‑Anon, I couldn’t speak. I only cried. My life was unmanageable. What I was doing wasn’t working, and I was in complete denial. I was yelling, crying and pouring liquor down the drain. I was angry and desperate, and I experienced turbulent mood swings. Coming to Al‑Anon was a desperate cry for help. Living with an active, chronic alcoholic husband for over 15 years had left me emotionally and mentally beaten. Here in Al‑Anon, though, I learned how to take care of myself. I no longer dislike myself, nor do I live in a sea of despair. My recovery has been a gradual one of awareness, acceptance and change. I’ve learned to expect ups and downs and that it can take years of humility and learning.

I’ve recently decided to invest in a new future and reclaim my life. I’ll plant the seeds of new hopes and dreams. My garden of new hopes and dreams will not be decided by my marital status. Instead, I dream of being more in touch with my family. My goal is to not wallow in self-pity, but to appreciate everything and everyone that I have in my life. I now realize that I do have strengths and weaknesses, just like everyone else and that I can ask for help if I need to. Finally, I can accept things as they are without trying to recapture the way they used to be.

By Nicole S., Manitoba