Wendy and Lee are a married couple with three young children who both realised
how much of a problem their drinking was - and who both now live a completely
different life, one they know is vital for their family.
When children grow up in a family home where
excessive drinking is normal it’s devastating for them
and often has lasting effects - not least and all too often
that those children grow up to become drinkers too.
“Someone there gave the woman I took some AA leaflets
that had some questions in to check if you have a drink
problem. I was inquisitive about what was wrong with this
woman, so while she was chatting with some of the others at
AA I answered those questions in my head: I realised in fact
I had a serious drink problem.”
“I was mortified this person thought I was an alcoholic as
I genuinely believed then that I didn’t have a drink problem.
But I agreed to take his friend to an AA meeting as they were
in the same place as the Al-Anon meeting.
Lee went to his first AA meeting in 2007 and has not had
a drink since. But back at home as he started a family with
Wendy, his wife carried on drinking.
Since her teens Wendy had known her drinking was a
problem. She had tried giving up twice but had not been able
to last long.“From the outside my life looked attractive,” says Wendy,
a 29-year-old hairdresser. “But the reality was I was
miserable, lonely, depressed, angry, resentful, lost and afraid.
I just couldn’t put my finger on why I was so like that. By then
I had three beautiful healthy young children, a loving husband,
a lovely home – yet I had this big dark hole that seemed to be
sucking me in.“Lee worked a lot to provide for us, and I had our children
to care for and run the home. Yet I felt unable to even get
out of bed most days – and I blamed my husband for most
of it. It strained our relationship so much.”
Both of them could see history repeating itself, the chilling
chaos of their own homes returning to haunt them – and they
knew the damage to their children that would cause if it
continued.“Even when the children were born I’d drink too much and
too often,” says Wendy. “My last drink ended in blackout –
again. Once more I was vomiting and unable to care for
myself. I didn’t come home and my husband and our children
were all worried beyond belief of course.
“The next day, when I’d recovered enough, Lee sat with me
and told me what I was doing to myself. By now from going
regularly to AA meetings he understood the full picture. He
mentioned his father and said he’d refuse to sit by and watch
another person he loved die from the disease of alcoholism.
“I didn’t want to hear it, but I needed to hear it. The next day
I went to an AA meeting.“I cried for most of the meeting as I felt so ashamed and scared.
I don’t remember much from that meeting, but I do remember the
kindness from others there.”Now Wendy has been sober for 18 months and both have seen
the dramatic improvement in the quality of life in their family home
– with lots more laughter, smiles and family time together. They
both describe their sobriety and new way of life they have with
AA’s help as a “gift”.“For us as individuals it’s just so much better,” says Wendy.
“But we’re also so aware, especially given Lee and my backgrounds,
just how vital it is for the happiness and futures of our children.
“To anyone who’s struggling as we were with their drinking,
I’d say: go to AA, 100 per cent. All you need is open-mindedness,
willingness and honesty. You will get all the help you need there.”
AA is located along the entire Costa del Sol and there
is a meeting with friendly people who will understand
your problems somewhere near you every day.
Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.
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