Find­ing sup­port

Antelope Valley Press - - VALLEY LIFE - Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected] cre­ An­nie Lane

Dear Read­ers:

Many of you were touched by the hus­band “Anony­mous,” who wrote a let­ter about the loss of his wife to the dis­ease of al­co­holism. She is still alive, but the woman he mar­ried was a dif­fer­ent per­son than the one who is an al­co­holic. Most rec­om­mended Al-Anon, a spin-off from Al­co­holics Anony­mous that fo­cuses on help­ing peo­ple who are suf­fer­ing be­cause of a loved one’s drink­ing prob­lem. Here is just a sam­pling of let­ters in sup­port of Al-Anon, which I heartily sup­port:

Dear An­nie: My heart went out to the suf­fer­ing hus­band, “Anony­mous,” for the de­spair that he felt be­cause of his wife’s al­co­holism. I am a widow and was mar­ried for 44 years to an al­co­holic. I would highly rec­om­mend that “Anony­mous” at­tend Al-Anon meet­ings. Al-Anon is a highly ef­fec­tive re­cov­ery pro­gram for any­one who has a prob­lem with some­one else’s drink­ing. Al-Anon of­fered me a life­line of san­ity and seren­ity that had eroded through years of liv­ing with an al­co­holic. Even though I no longer have al­co­holics in my life, I hap­pily con­tinue to prac­tice this pro­gram in all my af­fairs.

— Been There

Dear An­nie: I just fin­ished read­ing the let­ter in to­day’s pa­per con­cern­ing the hus­band whose wife is in the down­ward spi­ral of al­co­holism. I, too, was in the down­ward spi­ral of al­co­holism. I wanted to con­trol or quit my drink­ing, but the ad­dic­tion was too strong. I just about de­stroyed my fam­ily.

My won­der­ful wife talked to some Al-Anon mem­bers con­cern­ing my drink­ing and be­hav­ior. Be­cause she loves me, she fol­lowed their ad­vice, and, be­cause she did, I took my last drink on the evening of Feb. 20, 1985. Al-Anon mem­bers take no pris­on­ers. Be­cause my wife de­cided to go to Al-Anon, I am alive to­day. We have been mar­ried for 55 years, and I have no de­sire to drink. My sug­ges­tion is for the hus­band to get in­volved with the Al-Anon pro­gram.

— One Day at a Time

Dear Read­ers: Thank you again for rec­om­mend­ing Al-Anon and telling your sto­ries. There was one reader with a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, and her let­ter fol­lows:

Dear An­nie: It was ap­par­ent to me that this let­ter by “Anony­mous” is only about the writer and his sup­posed prob­lems. There was no real men­tion of the al­co­holic, her name, her feel­ings, her cir­cum­stances or even her sup­posed crimes or at­tempts at heal­ing, just judg­ment, blame, self­pity and la­tent sex­ism.

Who could live with that pa­thetic, emo­tional mess, cold sober, all those Hank Wil­liams men with bro­ken hearts? Why is his let­ter about his changed world, when she is the one at med­i­cal risk?

My fa­ther was an al­co­holic, and my mother hated him for it; she set up un­re­al­is­tic white-knuckle ab­sten­tion goals and de­nied the med­i­cal care and the true emo­tional un­der­stand­ing in­volved in treat­ing an al­co­holic. Her de­nial drove him to unattain­able per­fec­tion: to work and make more money and be sober. Noth­ing was ever enough. Once the love dried up, there was not much com­fort for him but that booze.

My mother was “ob­vi­ously” in the right be­cause she did not drink. Her right­eous­ness was unas­sail­able. But hers was the cold heart, and he died from it. She is now hap­pily alive on the enor­mous for­tune he left her from his hard work, which he was able to ex­e­cute with his drink­ing.

Poor Mr. Anony­mous has a whole lot of AA meet­ings to at­tend be­fore he is in the po­si­tion to change his cir­cum­stances.

— She Needs a Voice

Dear She Needs a

Voice: Thank you for shar­ing your per­spec­tive. Clearly, your re­sent­ment of your mother’s treat­ment of your fa­ther is eat­ing away at you. Please read the let­ters that pre­ceded yours and check out Al-Anon. You are likely to find love and sup­port in the meet­ings.

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