For me, Step One was the hardest of the Twelve Steps. Step One says, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” I thought I was in control, and I didn’t want to admit my life was unmanageable. I thought I could fix my husband’s disease; I was just missing a piece of the puzzle. I heard about Al‑Anon and decided to go to a meeting to get some insight on how to go about fixing him.
I thought I had tried everything. I poured every last ounce of my love into him, did everything for him, and tried to make everything perfect and easy for him. Heck, I even tried threatening him, screaming at him, and then punishing him with my silence. None of that worked. It’s torture watching someone you love continue to drink and become ever sicker in their addiction. I felt like I was watching him die. What I didn’t realize was just how sick I had become.
After the first meeting, I realized that no one was going to be able to help me fix my husband. No one could fix me either, but I decided that I could at least try to fix myself. I just didn’t know how to give up control. Every morning I would wake up and read Al‑Anon literature and try my best to work the Steps.
After many months of meetings, I had a moment of clarity: If I had ever really had control, how could my husband have developed this disease? And if my life was as manageable as I claimed it was, why was my day full of anxiety and worry about him? It was all an illusion; I had never had control. I felt such a shift that morning. My body felt lighter. I no longer feel the need to control everything… And when I do, I go back to Step One.
By Tracy C., New Brunswick
The Forum, September 2023
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.