I found Al-anon through a devastating crisis. My husband ended up in AA after he drove us home in a traumatic car ride. We had been on vacation after his not drinking for three weeks. This trip was to celebrate his abstinence. However, before dinner our last evening he decided to have a drink during “Happy Hour”. This resulted in the pleasant times disintegrating into a disaster within a short time.
He got displeased, when I was getting ready for dinner and would not let go of his rage. We had an upsetting dinner, embarrassing me at the meal. I went back to our room to start packing to go home. This further infuriated him. Our trip home from the Canadian resort turned into a terrifying experience. I found myself knowing that I would not return home alive. He drove all over the road and down the middle very fast. I found myself praying to God for help. “I really don’t want to die, God, please help me,” I said inwardly. I had not been taught to ask God for help or to pray other than what was written in the hymnal at church at that time. Spontaneously, I knew I needed help. My instinct took over without one thought about requesting assistance.
For my safety I separated from my husband, filed a restraining order and divorce papers. He called me on my birthday, which was against the restraining order. “You are not supposed to call me, I said .” Then just listen”, he responded. “I have been going to AA and I heard that good wives of alcoholics go to Al-anon.” Being the good wife, I went to my first meeting of Al-anon on July 15, 1985. It was the best birthday present I could have received.
With over 28 years in the program, I now have a beautiful life. I have diligently worked the steps to release my insecurity, feelings of not being good enough or safe. My abandonment issues are resolved. These all stemmed from my childhood. I had discounted the shame and guilt that were running my life, because I had no feelings. Through working the steps, I discovered that I had married a person with the same qualities I had. I had attracted the perfect person to reflect back to me the dysfunction within which I was raised.
At meetings, I first heard the suggestion to Trust God, Clean House, and Help Others. Today, this is still my focus; I have healed the root causes of my feeling like a victim, wounded, and abused. Another saying was that I could give up being a victim anytime. I had blamed my husband as the problem in our marriage, when I had to realize that I was projecting my personality onto him; he was my mirror. It was like a boomerang, returning, painfully.
I learned to pray for him, forgive him, and look for his good qualities. Al-non showed me how to understand how new ideas and beliefs could change my behavior and thinking. If I sent out loving ways to others, it would return. It was finally safe to express myself in communications, my talents, and in meetings. Overtime, I was finding courage, self-esteem, and knowing that the universe supported me in all things. I found a loving God.
However, not everyone in the program can change if they are not honest with themselves. Sadly, when I realized my husband could not move out of his fear-based life from childhood abuse, into a love-based life of the program, I did finally leave because he was still attacking me. In those days, no one mentioned domestic violence in meetings. However, it was the only decision I could make to live.
My sponsor was the most important person in my life. When I called my sponsor, she always began with the words, “Focus on Marilyn, What does Marilyn want?” I grabbed on to the program out of survival and found I had not grown up, emotionally.
Focus on Marilyn was totally new to me; I knew what my family needed, my job required, and how to keep the house tidy. Nevertheless, I did not have a clue what I needed. She told me, “Now you can take care of your own needs”. I asked myself, “What are my needs?” I did not want to attract another alcoholic, battering, and abusive marriage. The Serenity Prayer has been my motivation, as the only one I can change is me.
I wanted to find a healthy relationship that reflected my healthier new life. I discovered I did not need to cling to my family, husband, or friends, for love, security, and emotional stability. My insanity was looking outside myself for love. My new focus was found in turning my life over to a God of my understanding. That has become my security, stability, and safety. I found that I am a worthy person, as good as others are, and loved by God.
Becoming a new person based in a lifestyle of loving myself so I can share that with others, instead of looking to others to love me, has become empowering. I am in a relationship of unconditional love. Today, I can focus on Marilyn, because I have my own life. The best part I discovered that what I always wanted was peace. Thank you Al-anon for showing me the path to love and peace.
Marilyn’s common sense knowledge and down to earth solutions and information bring real answers to health concerns and your daily troubles. When you look past the superficial problem to what is motivating this predicament, you find real answers to handle life in a more beneficial way.
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Bringing insights, information, and wisdom to current issues not out in the media, is her goal. Going beyond the misinformation, or biased news reporting, she writes from her experience, facts, and hidden truth. Additionally, you can enjoy Marilyn’s first book, “Roses Have Thorns, Encouragement on Evolving from Pain to Joy” contains her poems and art along with her latest E-books at Amazon.