Find a Meeting
To find AA meetings and your local helpline number in Great Britain, and English-speaking meetings in continental Europe please click below.
Search 'online' to see all currently registered online meetings (updated daily)
Alcoholics Anonymous
Great Britain
and English Speaking Continental Europe
Call our National Helpline
Call FREE on
Find a Meeting
Search 'online' to see all currently registered online meetings (updated daily)

The Family Afterwards

Audio Version  

A while before I began to get the AA message my two children had become young adults, left home and started independent lives. Not of course financially - the money tap in our house somehow remained turned ON. I have no doubt their departure was tinged with relief that some unpredictability and uncertainty had been removed from their lives. They were no longer going to have to look after me, apologise for me and put me to bed. They were also free of the grumpy, hungover me and the one who could not remember a thing about the previous evening. I too experienced some plus factors. I didn’t need to hide quite so much or lie quite as often. I could stock up when I chose and get rid of the empties less secretively. I didn’t have to spend the next day trying to identify what I had done or why there was a more than cool atmosphere in the house. However, on my part behind the relief was a heart full of sorrow because I missed them. It was like a bereavement and between drinks I wept copiously. So this ‘family afterwards’ doesn’t smile and make up their differences. Instead, it was awkward, stilted telephone conversations, full of bright “We’re doing fine” reassurances, hiding the unspoken questions about what might still be going on or has become even worse. It was summed up when one of them told me if we intended visiting, we should come separately, so that our constant bickering would remain at home. Behaviours resonated for some years. Those ‘things I would never have done when sober’ don’t just disappear. Drink has shown your offspring a dark side that is hard to forget, let alone forgive. It is truly hard to win back trust. Words and apologies are just not enough because so many promises have been made in the past. In a state of self-righteous indignation, we might think we deserve a medal and plaudits - dream on! What did happen gradually was that in demonstrating a drink-free life, I won back some acceptance and an element of forgiveness. Attempts to make amends verbally were often too readily accepted and then brushed aside. What is probably still not understood is the need for my abstinence. The manic, happy, dancing to ABBA me, might have been fun on occasion but what happened to moderation? For that sort of understanding I rely on AA and my fellow members. Only we can understand the (often) daily struggle not to drink - because we know we can’t. One is never enough for the addict.

It’s just the start of a well-known, slippery slope into carnage.

To end on some hugely positive notes: there is truly a ‘life beyond my wildest dreams.’ Previously I lived (as one book says), as though I were imminently ‘going to die tomorrow’. Several years on and despite our Covid world, I am learning Spanish, planning more conventions in the sun, have a fresh zest for life and at every opportunity pass the message on. I have a new way of life, new friends - some in other countries. I have also acquired some degree of immortality in that my family still love me and I have, in addition, two grandchildren. I bought them both a kite at Easter and now the sky’s the limit!!

Most sincerely,

Elaine K. Aberdeen