Monthly Forum Sharing 1

The Forum June 2024

The Right Time for Recovery

By Sam E., Florida

“When is the right time?” I was asked this question recently at a meeting by a young man who felt lost and confused about his spouse’s alcoholism and came to AlAnon as his last hope. This brought back memories of when I had contemplated divorce and wondered when the right time for it might be. Recalling my own raw emotions and understanding how unmanageable life can become when living with the disease of alcoholism made me sit down and talk with him. After a few tears and a clenched fist, he let go with a deep breath and told me what had been going on in his home. 

I’m always amazed when I hear echoes of my own story in the stories of others. I shared that I had been married for 40-plus years, and for most of our marriage, my spouse and I both denied any drinking problem. When I entered AlAnon, I finally admitted my spouse had a drinking problem and started asking myself whether now was the right time. 

By the grace of God, the people in the meetings all encouraged me to slow down, not make any major decisions, and keep coming to meetings. Could I really do that? Was I capable? But every question I had was answered as I attended more meetings. I had tea with other members and listened to their experience, strength, and hope. I read AlAnon literature, and, most importantly, I found a Sponsor. 

I discovered that my spouse’s journey was my spouse’s to walk, and my journey to what was best for me was my own. My decision about the “right time” would depend on whether my spouse continued to drink. I told the young man my story, identifying with his fears, misunderstandings, and rash anger. I then shared how working the Steps brought me relief, love, and serenity. 

AlAnon gave me a chance to pause. It gave me time to understand the disease of alcoholism and my own disease of denial. It gave me time to grow in awareness and come to acceptance of my spouse. So, when is the right time? Only you can decide.

Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.