I still very clearly remember getting to my first meeting. I had finally started to realize that I was not going to get my husband to stop drinking. I had already tried everything I could think of and decided I was going to save myself. I found a counselor, and not for the first time, but this one was familiar with the program and recognized right away that I belonged there. She kept saying week after week, when I relayed some incident or anger, “Now do you think you need Al‑Anon?”
I strongly resisted because I knew I wasn’t one of those people who married an alcoholic; I refused to be one of those women! I wasn’t a doormat type who let people walk all over her. I wasn’t weak. I could make decisions. How could I have married an alcoholic? How could I admit it?
Weeks went by. The counselor kept asking me the same question. Finally, I said, “Okay.” I would go to a meeting, but only to shut her up and to get her to stop talking about that program.
There was an 11 am meeting not far from me that would be taking place in two days. I had two preschool boys, and that meant I would have to get a babysitter in order to go. On such short notice I knew it wouldn’t be easy and was hoping, of course, that I couldn’t find one! But I did. My next dilemma was what to wear to the meeting. I knew it was at a church. Did that mean I had to wear “church clothes?” I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want anyone to notice me, and they might if I was dressed incorrectly.
I can clearly remember one of the women at that meeting, I even remember her name. She said she had been coming to the meetings three times a week for eight years. I was completely horrified! How awful to have to do that just to survive! I wasn’t planning on doing that, trust me. I would “get it” much quicker and be done. But today I understand. She kept coming because she wanted to. She felt better, she felt hopeful, and she could laugh again. She had serenity! Today I have all that, too, thanks to a persistent counselor who wouldn’t let me stay in denial. I found hope. I found my home.
By Margaret D., Ohio
The Forum, November 2020
Feel free to reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
Thank you for sharing that. I can relate though the details may be slightly different. When I started going to meetings years ago one was on a Friday or Saturday night. My thinking at the time was this was just temporary and that my life must have really deteriorated to the point I was spending that night at a meeting. Now I know that was the very place I should be on that night! To have some peace, hope and serenity were the best gifts of all since I was dealing with not one but three alcoholics!! I couldn’t do… Read more »
I can relate to the anger, denial, and wanting to be perfect. When my HP steps in to give me what I need, today I feel such gratitude. Thanks.
Thank you so much