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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

I Unburdened My Heart
"I thought it was my fault and that I should have tried harder."
For over fifteen years I tried to steer my husband away from the almost daily "one too many beers" that turned him into someone else. My battle cry was, "I can fix this problem — I know I can!"
Oh my, was I in the wrong army! No amount of coaxing, reasoning, nagging, silence, disdainfulness, patience, or blunt out-and-out anger had any success. The only thing that happened was I became frustrated - while he showed our son how to be a macho, beer-drinking man. Instead of having one battlefront to contend with, I had two.
I might have foreseen my lack of success in dealing with alcoholism, but I didn't. I held onto the same old motto and redoubled my efforts. For over five years I prayed, begged, ranted, and raved at my husband and son. Instead of turning the tide, I was swept away — drowning in a sea of despair and guilt. I felt I could have, and should have, been able to do something! Anything! I thought it was my fault and that I should have tried harder.
I was dismayed when our son was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Almost numb, although still in command, I went with my husband to the courthouse. Our plan was to show a united front and convey a feeling of "family" and "good people." I thought the judge would see us there and know that this was true! Well, now I know that God has a way of using humor to diffuse my ridiculous ideas. There was the judge, but he wasn't alone. Alongside of him was his seeing-eye dog! So much for "appearances!" Looking back, I can see who really was the blind person - me!
I kept on fighting and losing ground until I became immobilized, shell-shocked, battle-fatigued, and worn out. I got to the point where I could not function inside my own home. Outside I thought I played my role well, but my once neat and tidy home was a mess on the inside. It was a war zone. If I could have gathered all the dust together, I would have asked God to make me a maid—but I was just too tired. It was as if alcoholism was a living thing that was eating up our home and devouring me.
Driven by despair, I finally spoke with an angel who steered me to Al-Anon. No, I did not go right away. I had to work up my courage, but within a month I opened the door and walked into my first Al-Anon meeting. That night’s meeting had been canceled, although one lone Al-Anon member and I didn’t know it. We were meant to be there because one-on-one I unburdened my heart and was handed a lifeline. I was liberated from the alcoholic war by the words of freedom in Step One. I laid down my battle gear and let peace surround me for the first time in years. I discovered it was not up to me to win the war or to fix anyone but myself.
If the world is a stage, I used to act out everyone's role but my own, but Al-Anon is helping me change that. I am making my way, slowly. My house looks and feels more like a home, but more importantly I am feeling alive and hopeful. I am hopeful that I will come to know who I am and finally be able to accept how I fit into the world.
Cynthia N. - Michigan
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.