Finding My Way Out

Having spent more than 50 years in alcoholic homes and relationships, I was fully vested in the insanity caused by exposure to alcoholism. It was normal, accepted and expected. I had been raised well, but everything had a twist—a little distortion to help the drinker stay afloat. All the rules of the house were designed to keep the peace and disguise the problem. As family members, we were expected to sacrifice our dignity and credibility to maintain the family secret. It was our duty!

Finally, enough was enough. I knew something was wrong but all I could see were the problems. I saw no way out! I had tried Al‑Anon before, but the messages simply bounced off. I had trouble understanding the need to place the focus on myself and not the alcoholic. How could I? After all, wasn’t it my job to protect the reputation and the illusion of a healthy household?

Reluctantly, I tried Al‑Anon again and decided to stick with it. I had come to my bottom. Something had to give! It wasn’t too long before I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. Al‑Anon offered solutions. As I listened, I began to understand why I couldn’t move forward. I had become consumed by the problems and imprisoned by the disease.

I decided to redirect my attention to the solutions and detach from the alcoholic’s sickness. That was very hard work. With the help of a great Sponsor and a loving home group, however, it slowly started to work. As I sought answers, the problems started to shrink in stature. Before long, the answers loomed large over the disease—I had found my way out.

Like a ship’s captain who sets his course for the horizon, now I too set my vision on where I want to go. “Solutions, not sickness” has become my mantra. It is my mental reminder to keep looking for answers—not the sickness.

Today my life is very different. I have set sail for new lands and distant shores. I find myself in circumstances I never thought I’d know, and I’m finally becoming the person I always wanted to be.


By J.C., North Carolina
The Forum, July 2017


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