The miracle of recovery or is it discovery in Al-Anon Family Groups
by Joan G, Auckland
I was married to the man of my dreams, after a disastrous first marriage, I met and fell in love with an amazing man.
He was everything I always wanted in a husband, but despite that, I was not happy. I thought it was me (which was partly true) but then someone suggested that he may be an alcoholic. I didn’t want to hear that! I couldn’t bear it. So I went to psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and personal growth courses but to no avail – I was still not happy. I then went to an A & D counsellor to see if I could get him sober, of course not informing him of the fact. She only needed to tell me what to do and I could sort it myself. I sorted everyone else in the family so why not him. I couldn’t understand why I should go there and all I could do was cry and ask why. I was too afraid to ask for intervention, and when I finally spoke to my husband, he said he didn’t need help but I did. The Counsellor said to go to Al-Anon Family Groups and I said, “why I’m not the problem”. I just didn’t understand, I had no knowledge or way of understanding something this peculiar.
Some time passed and I read a self help book and came to see that I was, inadvertently helping him to drink, I was unknowingly making things worse with my attitude of martyrdom and over dependence on him and the kids. It shocked me to see that in writing. I had a phone number for Al-Anon Family Groups that had been in my bag for 12 months, I phoned and asked was the group still going. A tired voice on the other end of the phone said yes. I went to my first meeting that week in my lunch hour.
I didn’t want my husband to know what I was doing, I didn’t want the jibes and fun poked at me yet again for doing something for myself. I had to be in the group for 6 weeks before I could order a book and then had to wait another month for it to arrive, and when it did I devoured my ODAT (daily reflections booklet) like a hungry lion. The book went to work with me and I read often.
I continued with the group for a while, and one day after a particularly difficult weekend I found myself “saying stop drinking or I’ll leave.” He said ‘so leave’. I was stunned. I knew he loved me but didn’t know that he loved alcohol more. That made me sad and angry all at once, that some-thing could be more important to him than me. Sadly it was.
A short time after that our marriage ended. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do. It was hard as I loved him so much. But it was right to leave. Friends were shocked waiting for him to come to his senses to get me back, but he never did. I knew he was in the grips of something far larger than anything I could love him out of.