Have You Heard the One About the Mom, the Minister, and the Alcoholic’s Wife?
In a drunken rage, my husband pointed the gun at me this time. I was so distressed. What would happen to me next time? I was so scared! After he passed out, I packed my suitcase and left. I told my parents about what happened and asked if I could visit for the upcoming weekend. They said yes. My mom set up an appointment with her minister.
We met with him on Saturday afternoon. He listened attentively and patiently as I poured out stories about the most recent disaster and the last six years of drunken rages, pain, and disappointment. My mom was so sad that I had been living under these conditions.
The minister pulled out a letter he had received from one of his parishioners and read it to us. It was a letter full of gratitude because the woman had been desperate like me, and the minister had recommended she try Al‑Anon—and she did! The woman described finding hope and real answers about how to deal with an alcoholic. Her problem had been her obsession with the behavior of the alcoholic. Life was so much better for her because of all the things she learned in Al‑Anon. She explained that she didn’t cause the drinking, she couldn’t control the drinking, and she couldn’t cure the drinking. She was so grateful that the minister had recommended Al‑Anon because her life had become her own, not the alcoholic’s.
I was amazed at the woman’s transformation. I identified so completely with her story of hopelessness. I promised the minister that I would call Al‑Anon as soon as I could. Was there hope for me too? I thanked the minister, and my mom and I left.
The following Monday, I called Al‑Anon and attended my first meeting that night. The topic was “responsibility.” I had taken all the responsibility! I remembered the new idea I’d heard in the woman’s letter: I can’t control the alcoholic. A whole room full of people at that meeting shared how they were learning to give up control and just handle their own responsibilities. This was revolutionary information to me! The group invited me to take one of each pamphlet from their literature table. I also purchased the book The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage (B-4).
That night I began by reading the pamphlets So You Love an Alcoholic (P-14) and Three Views of Al‑Anon—Alcoholics Speak to the Family (P-15), and I cried because I identified with them so much. I also identified completely with Alcoholism, a Merry-Go-Round Named Denial (P-3). Al‑Anon was the place for me. There was, and is, hope and help for me here in Al‑Anon. I will be forever grateful to my mom’s minister for recommending Al‑Anon to me. It has given me an amazing program and made me a much happier and more self-confident person.
By Cathy C., Oregon
The Forum, June 2021
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.