Alcoholism slowly creeps in, yet takes us by surprise.
I didn’t grow up with alcohol in my home, nor was it present during most of my marriage. My spouse would meet friends for a drink after work, and one would turn into two, which would turn into three.
Drinking continued at home, and trips to the liquor store, sometimes with the kids in the car and always intoxicated, became more dangerous and worrisome.
At the suggestion of our marriage counselor, I visited Al-Anon. The meeting was upstairs in a historic building that had once been a store. One step at a time, I made it to that first meeting and was welcomed by a woman who had been in the program for several years.
I sat through that meeting, just being there, not participating, barely listening. But I made a promise to myself to come back.
A lot of heartache and pain were felt in those next few years. Tears and frustrations, hopes and fears were shared in the upstairs of that old building.
The alcoholic was arrested several times for drunken driving and domestic violence. She moved out. There was infidelity and eventually divorce. I put up a reinforced concrete barrier between us.
I visited her several times after learning of her failing condition and made my amends. I believe she is now at peace, for this disease took her life after many years of relentless abuse. I still loved her, and I still miss her. What a horrible disease for everyone.
I have been attending Al-Anon for more than 10 years now. Today, I am the best person I have ever been, all due to my faith in God and this fellowship. Life is not perfect, but it is good. There are still problems, but that’s part of life.
There is healing available in the Al-Anon fellowship. If you’re worried by someone else’s drinking, consider learning more about Al-Anon. Meetings are held in-person and online. Find out more at https://al-anon.org/.
Editor's note: To honor Al-Anon's policy of anonymity for participants, The State Journal made an exception to its policy of publishing full names of letter writers.