My former husband drank too much. I had been frightened, resentful, and angry at him, but I was rid of him. Everything should be just perfect now; unfortunately, it wasn’t. I still tried to solve all the problems around me. One of my three daughters had a severe problem with anxiety; another one moved out and kept partying way too much; and my youngest one decided to live with her father, despite the drinking and the chaos in his new family life.
My father became very ill. He confided in me that every time he was in the hospital for checkups, my mother would drink all night. When they had told me that she had slipped on the icy pavements and hurt her shoulder, it hadn’t been true. She had fallen down the stairs at home, drunk.
My strong, confident father cried. He said he hated the constant nagging and pressure she put on him to buy alcohol, but he didn’t have the strength to set boundaries and say no. I also discovered that my parents kept covering up for my brother when he was drinking, and that the things they told me were untrue.
I recognized the patterns from my childhood. Whenever I had blurted out things like, “He’s drunk!” about my older brother, I would get scolded and told, “No, he’s sick.” When my mother’s breath smelled of alcohol and I asked her about it, I was told that it was a new toothpaste, mouthwash, or something. They lied and continued to lie—even now that I am 49 and my parents are old!
My husband, who has a lot of experience with his own recovery in A.A., suggested I try Al‑Anon. I was very reluctant, because I thought I could prove that my problems were caused by other people, but I did eventually go to an Al‑Anon meeting for adult children of alcoholics. I had my first of many spiritual awakenings at that first meeting. Since then, my life has changed for the better in so many ways.
Today, I don’t have fewer problems. My brother still refuses to have any kind of contact with me and my family; we are struggling financially and have been for a while; and there has been a lot of turmoil in my family. But inside, my Higher Power has helped me get rid of a lot of resentment, self-pity, and other emotional debris. My children have noticed the change, and have regained trust in me.
Every morning I read Courage to Change (B-16) and Hope for Today (B-27), and turn my day and my life over to my Higher Power. I have received the priceless gift of serenity and moments of happiness, regardless of my circumstances.
All I have to do is continue doing the work, pray for willingness and courage to change, and get my ego out of the way, so that my Higher Power can take over. But I have to do it.
I didn’t think Al‑Anon was for me, but it most certainly is. I am eternally grateful for the changes I am experiencing on a daily basis!
By Kristin, Norway
The Forum, May 2012
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