“I am alcoholics’ adult children, Al-Anon1) and a member of Neocatechumenal Way”.
I did not suppose that the book “Rozwinąć skrzydła” would be so inspiring for me. I bought it because one of the other Al-Anon encouraged me to do it. But I wanted to give that book to other people, for example, teenagers from the alcoholic families because I used to be a guardian of such young people in Al-Anon (or ALATEEN).
It turned out that God has had a wonderful plan for me – I had a possibility to set myself free from the emotions which were inside me through my childhood in the alcoholic family. I am 54 years old. I thought that my a few - years - stay in Al-Anon, the therapy, the long – standing therapy for the alcoholics’ adult children were enough. However, my bad relationships with my mother denied that I recovered. The participation in Neocatechumenal Community let me pray for my relatives and for our relations. First, I placed my mother.
I pray for her every day, I accompany her every time when I have a day off, I talk with her with attention and concentration, I remind her that she should listen to me, too, because I tell her about my experience which is very important for me. In my childhood I needed her, her closeness to me, but it was impossible. Today I know that she was so focused on her addicted to alcohol husband, that she could not bring me and my sister up. I had to replace her in many situations which included care for my younger sister as well.
In my family I played the role of the “child – hero” – I cooked dinners, I took care of my sister, I knew what I should buy and where I could buy everything cheaper. On my school certificate. I had only very good marks… It seemed that everything was right with me and my family but these were only appearances. Inside me I felt permanently tense and I hid my dissatisfaction with that whole situation and with myself. No wonder, because every time when I brought my school certificates with very good marks and I saw my mother’s dissatisfaction, my arms were dropping off and I was crying out loud because of helplessness. Another memory is that every time when I brought my mother a gift or greetings card, she threw them away in my full view.
My tears meant nothing for her. Even worse were biting criticism and nasty comments or hitting after which I had my cuticle cut and many other wounds. I was wondering how it was possible that nobody noticed these cuts during PE lessons. This is a piece of evidence that I was a child – scapegoat. If somebody was guilty – it was always me. Alcoholism is a family secret which causes that you cannot trust anyone. You cannot even trust yourself.
My father always used to say: “I do not believe anybody, even myself”. I am glad that in that family there was a person – my grandfather, father of my father - who showed me warm emotions. He was able to be happy with my very good marks at school and my drawings. He was satisfied with my University degree and the other skills. When he died, I was an adult and I wished to create a happy family. I escaped from the house to the alcoholic husband. It was the sole man who proposed to me and I agreed because I was afraid of being an old maid in the future.
Everybody warned me not to marry that man but I am alcoholics’ adult children and I am too loyal even if it is useless. I was afraid but being reinforced by Light – Life I married that man. After two years of marriage I needed professional help. Outside I was a hero but inside I was again guilty of everything – of shortages, dirty flat, lack of alcohol or even of the look of the other men. During that time in my town there was not any group of Al – Anon. I was the witness of that organisation being set up. God allowed me to recover, I started to think about myself, my life, I stopped thinking obsessively about my addicted husband – whether he stole something, is drunk or stole the money for financial transactions.
Due to Al-Anon’s aid I was able to oppose to the violence. My husband was summoned to police and prosecutor’s office. He was showed forensic examination carried out by the medical examiner. He was immovable in his attitude but he calmed down. In that situation
I decided to division of property in order not to pay off his debts. After a while I decided to divorce him when he was boasting about his betrays. From that time once or twice a week I have participated in meetings of Al-Anon, even now when I do not have an alcoholic husband. Alcohol and alcoholic people made a lot of turbulences, so I need help. Through all that time I felt that only in Al-Anon they understand me and I was badly hurt as well. Other people were curious about my story, my life and I was afraid of their curiosity, like in the previous family, so I decided not to speak about it. Today it is totally different. I write text about that illness, I print my articles in a newspaper of Al-Anon entitled “Razem”.
Once, I took care of the group of teenagers called ALATEEN. In my Neocatechumenal Way I told about alcoholics’ problems in my life and I felt relieved. It is the further step in my recovery. Due to that I started to talk with my husband after 16 year - break, without anxiety. I am not credulous when I talk to him, I am not conned into his fantasies, I do not make up sad stories as it used to be when I was his wife. Now I pray for my husband. But not for his sobriety – with that intention I made a pilgrimage to Częstochowa2) a few times – but for his salvation.
Translated by Monika Piecha
1) Al.-Anon – it is an organisation which helps people, especially teenagers from a dysfunctional house like alcoholic one
2) Częstochowa – it is a holy city of Mother of God, there is a huge sanctuary to which people go on pilgrimage each year