When my husband was in the beginning of battling his disease with alcohol, I didn’t know where to go or who to turn to~ I just felt like life was spinning uncontrollably.

I didn’t reach out much at all to friends or family due to the stigma and shame associated with this disease, as well as the fact that my husband requested we keep it quiet within our family.

What I didn’t recognize or realize by not saying anything to anyone, was that I was feeding the disease, which fuels isolation, loneliness, and neglect.

When you first begin your journey as a family member of an alcoholic, it is overwhelming not knowing where to turn. Many start with Al-Anon, but you don’t know the kinds of meetings you’re walking into, the types of people you will meet, or if you will feel comfortable even being in the room.

It Takes Tremendous Courage to Ask for Help With the Unknown Pieces of Alcoholism

One day, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, I knew I needed to talk to someone, or at least be in a room and listen to other people going through the same storm. So, I decided to go to my first Al-Anon meeting.

It took time, effort, planning, managing, and making sure the kids would be okay to leave the house to go and attend this meeting. Time was not a luxury on my side at the time, but I knew it was important.

Taking A Time Out With the Disease of Alcoholism is Necessary

When it was time, I took a deep breath, finally found the room (along with my courage), and opened the door. I took a seat in the corner so as not to be recognized or be the center of attention. I just sat there, taking one deep breath at a time, telling myself it was all going to be okay.

About ten minutes into the meeting, I realized I was at the wrong meeting. It was a meeting for parents of alcoholics. I was embarrassed and mortified that I had made the mistake, and my face became hot and I started to sweat.

Within a few minutes, they asked if there were any newcomers, and I raised my hand. In the conversation, they discovered I was not a parent of an alcoholic, but a spouse. As a result, I was told this was the wrong meeting, it was not for me, and was asked to leave because I was not a parent.

The Devastation Hits Hard When You are Turned Away After Finding the Courage to Ask for Help

Immediately, the temperature of my body got even hotter, my face became beating red, and I raced as fast as I could out the door. I just remember being embarrassed, ashamed, and even more lost than ever before.  

But I didn’t give up. I took the hit, reclaimed my dignity, and tried again. I eventually found a few meetings that were the right ones for spouses of alcoholics, and went for quite some time. Ultimately, though, I realized Al-Anon wasn’t for me because I found I left the meetings feeling worse than when I came. Often, discussions were centered around death, divorce, or tragedy, because that is the devastating reality for many with this disease. 

Over time I just kept looking, trying to find the right fit. And that’s when I met KL Wells and Voices InCourage. I hope that you find a fit here, too, at Voices InCourage. And if not, keep trying. Because just having perseverance and continuing to try is a strong step to finding what’s right for you.

You just have to have the courage to keep going.