The Family Afterward

All members of the family should meet upon the common ground of tolerance, understanding and love. This involves a process of deflation. The alcoholic, his wife, his children, his “in-laws,” each one is likely to have fixed ideas about the family’s attitude towards himself or herself. Each is interested in having his or her wishes respected. We find the more one member of the family demands that the others concede to him, the more resentful they become. This makes for discord and happiness.

And why? Is it not because each wants to play the lead? Is not each trying to arrange the family show to his liking? Is he not unconsciously trying to see what he can take from the family life rather than give?

Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition. A doctor said to us, “Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. The entire family is, to some extent, ill.” Let families realise, as they start their journey, that all will not be fair weather. Each in his turn may be footsore and may struggle.

There will be alluring shortcuts and by-paths down which they may wander and lose their way.

Suppose we tell you of the obstacles a family will meet; suppose we suggest how they may be avoided – even converted to good use for others. The family of an alcoholic longs for the return of happiness and security. They remember when father was romantic, thoughtful and successful. Today’s life is measured against that of other years and, when it falls short, the family may be unhappy.

Family confidence in dad is rising high. The good old days will soon be back, they think. Sometimes they demand that dad bring them back instantly! God, they believe, almost owes this recompense on a long overdue account. But the head of the house has spent years in pulling down the structures of business, romance, friendship, health — these things are now ruined or damaged. It will take time to clear away the wreck. Though old buildings will eventually be replaced by finer ones, the new structures will take years to complete. (Continued next week)

Reprinted from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page #122-123, with permission of AA World Services, Inc.

Call 09022 771011 or email for more information or to get a free copy of the Alcoholics Anonymous text

DNA Newspaper Mumbai Edition Published Date: Oct 23, 2012

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