I believe that if my husband just stopped drinking everything would be fine. The nightmare would finally be over, and we could all go back to living a normal life. That is not what happened when I went to Al-Anon...at all.
Where was the miracle
When I attended my first Al-Anon meetings, I was told to “keep coming back” and “stay for the miracle.” I didn't know what they were talking about, and figured these nice people just wanted me to keep coming back to help with their attendance. Why else would they hold off revealing the magical secret to me? Still, they clearly had something I didn't have. They were laughing and enjoying life, and I was miserable. I deperately wanted my family to be happy, so I kept going back. I listened to what the nice people were saying, hoping for answers to my husband's alcoholism. Instead, I began to find answers for myself.
Little tips from the progam began to change my thinking and behavior
I learned to:
- Mind my own business
- Stop trying to fix the alcoholic
- Be kind
- Do something fun for myself
- Find my Higher Power
- Call another member when it gets hard
The result was surprising
My mean face softened. I wasn't really mean, but I had been angry and it showed. Now I was less angry. Not being so very angry also made me a lot happier. I could laugh and enjoy life again. It was not the magical cure I was looking for, but I did notice the lines in my face lessen. My stomachaches came less often. I looked forward to the meetings, knowing they would bring me sanity, if only for a little while.
I wasn't alone anymore
The roller coaster ride didn’t end suddenly, as I had hoped. Having friends who knew what I was going through, however, made the ride less scary. We shared our feelings of powerlessness found in Step 1-We admitted we were powerless over alcoholism-that our lives had become unmanageable. Slowly, so slowly, the lights began to turn on in my soul. I changed.
Knowing alcoholism was out of my control meant I wasn't responsible for the outcome
It turned out I was not the all powerful Wife and Mother I thought I was. In fact, I had been harmed by the disease, too. I needed Al-Anon to show me how to live in the reality of the disease, while protecting my children and myself at the same time. I couldn't do this alone. I also needed Al-Anon to show me how to stop harming the alcoholic in my life. He desperately wanted to be free of the disease himself.
Happily ever after is totally different kind of miracle
I didn't get the happily-ever-after ending I dreamed of in a changed husband and normal happy family. But I did keep coming back, and I stayed for the miracle. I found that building a good life for myself among all the pain and confusion of alcoholism was the answer to my prayers and the miracle I needed.
I keep learning new things to improve my life
Today, I no longer live with active alcoholism, but I continue to attend Al-Anon meetings. The longer I go the happier and healthier I get. Who wouldn’t want that miracle?
Content Originally Published By: Madeline Schloop @ Reach Out Recovery
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