When I came to Al‑Anon many years ago, I had been married for seven years, and my husband and I had three young sons. Although his drinking resulted in many negative consequences for the entire family, I stayed in the marriage out of financial and emotional fear.
One recent evening during dinner, I talked with him about my going to Al‑Anon. My husband began talking about his experience with A.A. and that, although he liked the meetings, he still didn’t believe that he belonged there because he had an attitude problem, not an alcohol problem.
I was shocked. I wanted to scream: Don’t you remember all the nights you came home drunk, stumbling in front of the car or calling to be rescued because your car was in a ditch, or you had been picked up by the police? I looked at him in disbelief as he stated, “I was actually only drunk once a week from a binge, maybe.” I felt that I should set him and his story straight.
But then the things I have learned in Al‑Anon flowed into my head and heart and, instead, I quietly walked away without responding.
I didn’t need to take his inventory or throw his actions in his face after all these years. After all, whose insanity was worse…his addiction to alcohol or my addiction to him? How could I judge him for his denial when I lived in denial of my destructive behaviors for so many years, too?
My Higher Power gives me opportunities to put Steps One, Two and Three into practice over and over again, and this was another one. It used to take me days to let go of such anger. Now I can quickly think through those Steps and then “Let Go and Let God.” Instead of staying angry and resentful for days, it takes only an hour or so to get back to serenity by reading some literature, calling my Sponsor and saying a prayer like, “Bless him, change me.”
Through Al‑Anon, I have found the spiritual fellowship I had been craving. Today, I choose to stay in my marriage out of love and understanding. My marriage and I are miracles of the program, and I have learned to live happily “whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.”
By Lynn H., Massachusetts
The Forum, January 2018