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
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.