From the July 1944 magazine.

Points of View

Dear Grapevine: Those who think a wife's troubles are over when her husband joins A.A., just don't know! As an alcoholic's wife, I'd like to tell you. My husband, for instance, still stays out until all hours. True, he's holding another alcoholic's head instead of a bottle--but he still neglects his family even though the bills are paid on the first of the month. He still has his ups and downs and fits of depression, even though they don't last as long and he now recognizes them for what they are worth. In short, our life together didn't automatically smooth out into a placid lily pond just because he sobered up. Not all at once. Where once our troubles made the breach between us an ever-widening chasm, now each difficulty draws us closer together. Of course that didn't happen over night. When my husband first joined A.A., it seemed as if he were being taken further away from me than ever. And by perfect strangers, too. Even though both of us had been badly hurt by the disease of alcoholism, he was the only one who was "improving." He was getting something out of his new associations--I was left out in the cold. I couldn't even be a member. The words "sympathetic understanding" were beginning to make me seethe. Why shouldn't I, who had borne the brunt in the past, rate a little of that commodity? Was I always to be left out, first through his drinking, then paradoxically enough, through his drying up?

Suddenly, one day, I had a revelation. Take the alcohol out of the picture and I had pretty much the same problems, of character and of living, that he had. So, if alcoholics could have their twelve steps, why couldn't I? I flew to the book, took pencil and paper, and set about devising a set of tools for the A.A.A.s (Auxiliary A.A.s). Next, instead of my usual morning wallow in self-pity, I began to put my plan into action. I started, like any A.A., honestly looking for my own faults, instead of concentrating on my husband's.

-- An anonymous wife

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