She carried the message until the end

It was one of the darkest times of my life. By the age of 36, I had been married and divorced twice, had numerous committed relationships fail, and my latest relationship with an alcoholic was falling apart.

My son was eight years old, and we had moved 15 times in his life span. He was doing poorly in school. I worked on the night shift in a hospital intensive care unit, which left me sleep-deprived and emotionally depleted all the time. I felt helpless and worthless.

One of my patients was a woman at the end of her life. She was in a coma, and on a ventilator. As I cared for my patient, her husband, who had been sitting vigil at her side all night, told me how much he loved her, and said that she had saved his life. He said he was a recovering alcoholic. She had started going to Al‑Anon before he stopped drinking. He told me her changed attitude and behavior helped him to realize he had a problem.

I told him my parents had recently called me from Florida and announced that they had joined A.A., which I thought was odd because my father had been a successful businessman. My parents had suggested I go to Al‑Anon. The husband gave me his wife’s book, One Day at a Time in Al‑Anon (B-6, B-14), as a gift and wished me well.

I read that book from cover to cover, like a novel. I was amazed at the hope and comfort offered in those pages. I decided to look up an Al‑Anon meeting in my town. I never saw that couple again. At the time, I did not realize my Higher Power was speaking directly to me through them.

I must confess that my secret hope was that my alcoholic would get sober and, one day, have that kind of devotion and gratitude towards me. That was not to be. Today, I wish that man well and realize that God had much better things in store for me.

I have been happily married for 13 years to a wonderful, supportive husband. I have a fulfilling job as a school nurse, with regular hours and no nights, weekends, or holidays. My adult son is on his own recovery journey. I understand, through Al‑Anon, that the most loving and helpful thing I can do for him is to practice my own recovery program.

Twenty-four years after that night in the ICU, I still attend Al‑Anon regularly. I still treasure that tattered ODAT book from a dying Al‑Anon member who gave me a lifeline.

By Lynne M., Florida
The Forum, April 2013