After living with alcoholism for the first 25 years of my marriage, I found myself dealing with our teenage son’s drinking. My husband had stopped drinking, yet our lives were full of chaos, more and more each day. Fortunately, a court-ordered counselor for our son recognized the need my husband had for A.A. but, more importantly, the need I had for Al‑Anon. It was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself—one of the toughest and most rewarding.
Being the parent of two children with addiction issues is heart wrenching. Knowing where to turn for help can be daunting. However, since becoming involved with Al‑Anon, my life has become more manageable, my relationships with my children and my spouse are improving, and I’m happier!
My son joined us for lasagna on Christmas day. I’ve only seen him four times in three months, and each time I’ve experienced a joy that I never thought could be associated with my son.
I attended occasional Al‑Anon meetings through the years, but what brought me to Al‑Anon with a willingness to surrender was the realization that, despite several years in another Twelve Step program, I was again hopeless, helpless, and my life was out of control.
My son’s addiction took a toll on our family. The pain and chaos caused by his illness had trans-formed our family life into a screaming, blaming, shaming, and guilt-ridden nightmare. We were living in a feuding daytime talk show. I had started out playing the loving, concerned, and supportive role but, all of a sudden, that role turned into that of the supporting culprit.
I’m glad I have an alcoholic in my life. My son is the alcoholic. I know that he is a good and kind person, a loving person, and someone who has given me great happiness and joy.
I grew up in a loving, stable home; there was no alcoholism. One of my mother’s uncles was said to have enjoyed his drink, but I never witnessed any odd behavior. I didn’t have a clue.
For eight years, I had been living a life of emotional hoarding because of alcoholism. I lived in seclusion, consumed by depression, constant worry, and panic. Unlike a hoarder who collects things, I had been collecting “hurts.”
For over five years, I had thought Step One was easy: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” I certainly felt powerless, and I wasn’t managing my life very well. Then one day, in yet another attempt to help my alcoholic daughter, I had an epiphany.
Three a.m.: My eyes squeezed shut. I crave sleep, but worry, fear, and obsessive projections about what might befall my alcoholic loved ones worm their way through my thoughts. Gnawing. Gouging. Over and over, pulverizing any chance of sleep. Hospital scenes play out. DWI arrests? Accidents? Jail? Bail? Maybe worse. Death. Wakes. Funerals.