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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

Saving Grace
I first heard of Al-Anon from a lady who came to Twelve-Step my wife. She took her to Alcoholics Anonymous and suggested that I come along to Al-Anon. My reply was, "Just sober the wife up and things will be fine in this house!"
My wife would not sober up and I was forced to attend Al-Anon. I hoped Al-Anon had answers that would help me sober her up. I was surprised to find that my attitude needed overhauling and that my life could improve if I was willing to change some of my thoughts and actions.
The beginning for me was to let my wife's drinking be her problem entirely. She became sober without my help a couple of months after I came to Al-Anon. Things were not all peaches and cream after she set the bottle down. In fact, I don't believe I could have survived her sobriety without Al-Anon.
At the beginning of this journey, we did not care for each other. We made the 45 minute trip to our meetings in silence. Coming home, we usually exchanged a few words. As we attended meetings nightly, our communication slowly returned. With each of us working a program, the friendship, respect, trust and love returned to our marriage, surpassing what we had.
Life became just life, but the sailing was not always smooth. Our only daughter died from alcoholism. Al-Anon was the saving grace that carried me through such waters with relative comfort. It taught me that I will have feelings for as long as I live. I've also learned that I can't hold onto the delightful ones forever, nor do I have to live with the bad feelings any longer than I wish.
My wife became ill and later died during her 27th year of sobriety. We were at her doctor's office when he told her, "No more treatment." When she asked, "What next?" his reply was that because of what was in her head she had four to six months to live. She looked at him as if to say, "So what?" She said we had better get going and for me to take her by the mall as she had some shopping to do.
We held each other and cried a little after we got home, though not for long. We decided to enjoy each day as it came. We really had a lot of laughs and good times together during the four months that she lived.
It has now been a little more than one year since my wife died. I continue going to several Al-Anon meetings every week. Life is not just good. Life is great and getting better each day. I get up in the morning looking forward to the day and to the good things that will come my way. Seldom am I disappointed.
Through Al-Anon, I have found a God who loves me. He put me on this earth to be content, light-hearted and happy. He never intended that I let any person stomp on my head and heart in a rough-shed manner--the miserable way that I treated myself for years.
Al-Anon has shown me that God sets a beautiful table of life before me each day, but it is up to me to partake. My wife and I had more than 26 years of good sober living. My heart is full to the brim with gratitude for those wonderful times--so there is no room for regrets or resentments. I'm sure she would not wish for me to sit around and be miserable. She would have me continue on the path that Al-Anon has provided. That path leads through a life that is light-hearted and cheerful, with even some humor scattered along the way.
Bob W. - Arkansas
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.