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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

Congratulations, Dear
I had won the battle. I had gained perfect control over my husband and his drinking. I had manipulated, connived and fought, but victory was mine. I had forced him to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting by threatening to end our marriage if he didn't go.
All I understood about Alcoholics Anonymous in those days was that AA fixed drunks. I had every confidence they'd work magic on my spouse, so I deposited him in the AA room and headed for the Al-Anon meeting. There I truly believed they would serve me tea and cookies and say, "Congratulations, dear. Would you care for refreshments while we wait for the boys?"
I had come to my first Al-Anon meeting dressed like a woman ready for a tea party, but inside I was so scared. For a long tome I had felt like an insane woman. Not a day passed without my screaming at the kids. Daily I'd telephone a half-a-dozen neighbors trying to locate my bar-hopping husband. Constantly I was wound up about the lack of money for rent and utilities. I spun from one crisis to the next.
Most days I thought about suicide, but I never told anybody how I felt or how difficult my life was. Honestly, I felt I was only one crisis away from losing my cookies and being locked up in a mental institution. The night of my first Al-Anon meeting I actually heard members telling my story and naming my feelings. They called it the disease of alcoholism. They had recovered from it by working the program. They said I was sick but I could recover, too.
The first word of the First Step was "We". For the first time I had a taste of hope. What if I wasn't really insane? What if all these bizarre things in my life were just alcoholic behaviors? What if I could get better by doing the things these people were suggesting?
I had to have what they had, whatever the price. Even if they weren't going to give me snacks, I sensed they were going to give me the food that is necessary for life, and I had to have it. In my first six weeks I attended six meetings each week. I would have gone to seven if I could have found one on Sundays. After those six weeks I knew I was here to stay. My spouse never stuck with AA but that was his choice. I found a sponsor, worked the Steps and got involved with service. I have found a way of life that gives me serenity, hope and strength, and I stick with it.
This summer I celebrated eight years in the Al-Anon program. One of the old-timers who has been in my home group forever brought cookies to the meeting to celebrate. It was the first time there had ever been refreshments in the Al-Anon room. She said now that I knew what the program was really about, she'd be pleased to let me have tea and cookies just this once. Those were the sweetest cookies I have ever tasted. I know Al-Anon isn't about passing time at a tea party. It's about feasting at the banquet of life.
Barbara H. - Florida
Alcoholism is a family disease. Those of us who live with, or have have lived with, this disease as children or adults sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help us to resolve. If you have answered yes to some of all of the above questions, Al-Anon may be of help to you. You can contact Al-Anon by checking your local telephone directory, or from the Resources page. Phone numbers and Contact Information for the Austin Area are listed on the Contact Page of this website.
These articles were reproduced with permission from 'The Forum', the monthly inspirational newsletter of Al-Anon. Al-Anon World Headquarters, Inc. is located in Virginia Beach, VA. See www.Al-Anon.org for more information.