John, I am so sorry you had to experience this — my deepfelt compassion and empathy go out to you. My Mom was an alcoholic with a heavy addiction to prescription meds, suicidal from age 36 to 40. When she was 40 (I was 9 at the time, the 6th of 7 children in the family), a brother of hers who had gotten sober in A.A. helped her to get sober. She had one relapse 4 years later, but spent her last 44 years sober, and most of those years helping other alcoholics and addicts, as she ran the state of New Jersey’s Ala-Call hotline for 27 years. 6 years ago, I held her hand as she drew her final, sober breath, after a beautiful second half of life. I wrote this http://cowbird.com/story/23902/A_Most_Remarkable_Mom/?collectionid=333&uiid=widget-409344168-23902 for her last living Mother’s Day. I spent most of that summer by her side, which continues to be one of the most amazing summers I’ve ever lived. Her “downhill slide”, as she termed it, was so sublime, and she passed so much of what was meaningful in her life on to me — including sobriety, as I am 38 + years clean and sober, thanks in large part to her never giving up on me, though I gave her many reasons to in my late teens, early 20’s. Three of my siblings are also in recovery from alcoholism and/or addiction. Among the 4 of us, we have a combined 136 years of continuous sobriety. While alcoholism and addiction are, indeed, family maladies, one person’s recovery can have a profound ripple effect on an entire family.