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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

Denial Became My Best Friend - AND A REAL ENEMY
A love of nature wasn't enough to sustain a marriage troubled by intimacy issues.
When I married my husband 25 years age, I didn't know he had a drinking problem. We were very similar-sharing a thirst for knowledge, a love of nature, and a good sexual relationship. We could talk about anything and everything, and for the first time in my life I felt truly loved and accepted.
We had lived together for three years and I was very happy. Shortly after we married I realized something went wrong, but I was unable to work through it. I wanted to work through it. I wanted to live up to the expectations I had formed in my youth and live the dream portrayed in books and on TV-so I pretended everything was okay. As we both got sicker, I progressed in my career until I was supporting both of us, which enabled my husband to continue drinking, I made some attempts to talk with him, but when he rebuffed me, I continued ignoring the problem and became very sick myself.
All intimacy in our marriage died. We stopped talking about anything other than superficialities, and our sexual intimacy stopped, too. My illness manifested itself both physically and mentally, as I continued to ignore the "elephant in the living room." Denial became my best friend and a real enemy.
I felt very stressed, cried a lot, and developed a pain in my side. After being threatened with the loss of my job and forced to take a week off, I went to see a doctor. Both my blood pressure and cholesterol were too high. The doctor was wonderful and wormed the truth out of me. Although she gave me Al-Anon contacts, I wasn't ready.
Finally I found Al-Anon and a wonderful home group two years ago. I cried my way through the first few meetings but I kept coming back. The members suggested I attend at least six meetings and I thought, "Anyone can manage that!" I started listening to the members share their experience, strength, and hope, and I was reading all the Al-Anon literature I could buy and borrow. I found a wonderful Sponsor and started working the Twelve Steps.
The First Step, "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable," in particular was a huge relief-I was not responsible for the drinking! Wow! I continued working the Steps with the help of my Higher Power, my Sponsor, and my home group. I got involved in Al-Anon service. My blood pressure returned to normal, as did my cholesterol, and the pains stopped. I still have a way to go, but I'm getting well again.
Six months ago I came to the realization that I could no longer continue enabling my husband. We split up. Yes, it's lonely, but with the help of my Higher Power, my Sponsor, and other Al-Anon friends, I'm learning to live on my own. I'm sure my Higher Power has a plan for me.
Although I often take things back, I'm getting better at turning things over to my Higher power! I have goals now. I find enjoyment and laughter in the little things, mostly in nature, and I can laugh at myself. I'm so much better as I look forward to continuing my Al-Anon journey. I'm very grateful to my Al-Anon friends and those who have kept the programme going over the years. I will continue doing what I can to get the word out to those who need Al-Anon and to keep Al-Anon going for upcoming generations.
By Viv
New Zealand
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.