Before Al‑Anon I was so sure I could fix both my marriage and my husband. I tried self-help books, couples counseling, and women’s shelters. I thought about Al‑Anon, but I denied that alcoholism was the whole problem. I was ashamed of our marriage, but we put on an act for family and made it look like all was happy. I blamed my husband for all our problems. I thought I knew so much because I hadn’t come from an alcoholic family, whereas he had. Eventually, I couldn’t take his abuse anymore. 

When I was facing major surgery, I thought he should stop drinking, but he continued. In desperation, I went to my first Al‑Anon meeting. I saw it online and thought of going for years. When I finally arrived, smiling faces welcomed me. Tears rolled down my cheeks once I sat down. I thought to myself—I finally did it—and couldn’t wait to ask people how to fix this mess. Instead, they listened to me cry and vent. They hugged me and told me that they understood. They were so comforting and told me to come back. I did come back. 

Since then, my life and marriage have gotten so much better. I have new friends that get me, so I no longer complain to people who don’t understand this disease. My self-worth has improved because now I understand alcoholism. Furthermore, my relationships have improved because I know that I can’t change anyone but myself. I have hope and serenity now. Our family is happy again. 

By Julie P., Illinois 

The Forum, February 2019