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Maggie,

You are a lucky person.
Your cousin 'from the outside looking into your words' couldn't have chosen a better venue than Al-ANON.
You see, I have written before....Unless a person actually lives a situation you don't completly get a hold on the circumstances.
Research is available but that is so superficial.
Telling a friend or a family member is only temporary relief and could become secondhand news into the ears of others and end up abstract.
Your cousin would have had her reasons for her silence. If that is interpreted as aiding and supporting her husbands sickness that is sad.
I would imagine she was living a nightmare and has left scars deep enough that she still attends the AL-ANON meetings.
She can identify clearly with these people on the same level as she is.
They have lived the same nightmares and carry the same scars.
They are professionals because they have lived it and learnt something you will never learn from a book (except the 'BIG BOOK' "Alcoholics Anomynous")
He was the abuser and she was the abused and bruised.
They both had choices and she chose hers.
I am very passionate with what you wrote.
Living with an alcoholic is like living with two people.
One hurts you and the other always seems to be saying they are sorry.
You love them and you hate them and sooner or later you 'don't like them anymore'
An alcholic has a lot of indirect effect on a lot of people. They touch everyone within a unit of friends and family in some way without even knowing it because we don't see the 'Bottom line'
It is normal to look at the surface and pull the blind down on something we don't understand or hasn't been examined or explained clear enough.
I also was on the outside looking in. Then I was on the inside with the problem and the pain became unbearable, especially when I looked into the eyes of my daughter.
The courage it took to walk away I can't explain except fear and feeling totally hopless not having the ability to turn things around and accepting the fact that only the alcholic can takes steps toward realization and fixing themselves.

I also don't have the ability to stop when on a 'Roll'...
Alcohol has destroyed so many lives and only the lucky ones wake up before too much damage is done and the scars reopen.

Thank god for AA and AL-ANON
They have saved a lot of lives.

Kerri
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