This week, I read some posts by people who have decided to ask for help with their loved one's addiction, rather than go it alone. I know how much courage it takes to walk into a room of strangers and take a seat. Most of us did not think that we would ever need to reach out in desperation, admit that we had a problem, and seek out others. But alcoholism and drug addiction can bring even the strongest of us to our knees.
I suppose it is shame and fear about the disease that keeps us from admitting we need help. I remember that several years before I finally went to Al-Anon, a good friend suggested that I go. I still thought that I could deal with everything. I could take what alcoholism dished out. I didn't want to admit that I needed help, regardless of what my loved one was doing. But alcoholism doesn't give up. I suffered a few more years before I realized just how powerful the disease is.
I am not sure what the turning point was for me. Maybe it was just a culmination of all the little things resulting from alcoholism that added up to my surrender. Maybe it was the night my wife drove off drunk and left me to walk home. Maybe it was having to make sure she didn't fall down the stairs in a blackout or aspirate on her own vomit. Whatever it was, something inside of me shifted, and I saw what a sham my life was. So when another friend suggested I go to a meeting, I knew that it was time. I had come to the point in my life where I needed a life ring, because I was drowning.
So here I am nearly 8 years later. I made the decision to get help and to help others. I have heard my story countless times in the rooms of Al-Anon. I have seen parents lose their children to the disease. I have seen those same parents realize that there was nothing they could have done. I have seen people who were broken, laugh out loud and have tears of joy. I have seen incredible grace reside in the roughest of people. I have found friends that I did not think I would ever have. I have been blessed with a renewal in my relationship with my wife, who I love more than anything or anyone. None of this seemed possible, but now I see that by shedding my pride and reaching out my hand, I have been granted a new way to live.
To say that I am grateful is an understatement.