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Family in Recovery

When our marriage was in tatters in 1990 after 18 years of marriage, we both knew that the other had a drinking problem. It was through separation and lots of pain and hard work that we came to understand our own alcohol problem.

We both got sober and after 6 months got back together, saying that we knew things could not be the same as they were before. Well a funny thing happened on the journey. My husband stayed sober and I did not. I did not want to understand AA and the people in it and I felt no one could ever understand how I really felt. Now my life became very lonely because I had to become a secretive drinker.

I was to forfeit many more things in six more years of drinking. I forfeited my driver's license, a job, we almost lost our home (for the second time), I broke an ankle in three places and of course, I lost the respect of my children and husband. Most importantly, I lost what little self-esteem I had and I no longer wanted to live.

My life was one big lie. When I finally picked the day to end it all, a miracle happened. I made one final call to my husband and somehow, gave up the fight against my alcoholism. That was my surrender. Since that day the compulsion to drink has left me. This has not been easy. I have had to do the footwork and work really hard on my AA program.

The Greatest Gift

My children became involved in Alateen and my husband recommitted himself to his AA program. The recovery of the whole family has been the greatest gift of my life. I do believe, though, that at the end of my drinking, my husband was not doing me any favors by staying in the marriage. I believe it prolonged the process and whatever was going to happen would have happened sooner if he had left with the children. He has often said it was getting to the point of his having to leave but his own denial about me was working hard on him. This disease IS cunning, baffling and powerful.

The most important part of my recovery has been a supportive, understanding family. They have never questioned my need to go to an AA meeting, function or just meet with AA friends. They understand that if I'm not sober, then none of us have the life we have today.

I hear so many people in AA trying to get sober with a partner who still drinks and I think how blessed I really am. I also hear people who's family resents the time they spend in AA. From experience I know that in the beginning we almost have to live at AA to stay sober. But balance does come to our life and the lives of those around us.

It is as if I have been reborn, together with my family.


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