When I first called Al-Anon, the lady I spoke to said alcoholism affects as many as five family members. I've been thinking about that and come to the conclusion that our actions, no matter what they are, don't just affect us. Actions and decisions we make are like octopus tentacles. Everyone within reach is fair game for the octopus.
I saw a video of deep water fish and was surprised to see the octopus's ability to blend in with the flora and fauna--color and texture and all. They can suddenly push away from their hiding place and the real octopus is clearly seen. It's too late for some unsuspecting prey.
If one of the tentacles grabs a family member or friend, that person can be entwined and imprisoned before they know what's got hold of them. Some people never get free. For those who do, the journey is long, hard and heartbreaking.
My past is littered with actions that touched and hurt others. I don't know how much damage was done or who has forgiven me, but the hardest forgiveness came for myself from myself.
Too bad we have to live over seventy years before we figure some things out. As they say, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I hope that's true for the ones I love.