How some people have dealt with family crises:

A now-grown woman, who grew up with one parent an alcoholic and the other, a compulsive gambler:

It was a time "of never wanting to admit who your parents are, never inviting kids over, no food on the table. I lived in a fantasy world" of dream parents.

"I just managed to live one day at a time," knowing "that one day I would get away." Eventually she married and came to Washington, where she sought help from Al-Anon. It brought the "whole new life" she had been searching for.

A mother who learned of the homosexuality of her college-age child:

"I was determined that I was not goinf to hurt him, to show disapproval. He trusted us enough to come and tell us. 'Certainly,' we told him, 'it's not going to make any difference in our love and affection for you.'"

From a sibling, whose two younger, unmarried teen-age sisters had both told their parents they were pregnant:

"Dad really blew up . . . He told them never to set foot in the house again." The mother, the older sister and the brothers were able to "take it in stride."

After a week, "Dad cooled down." The explosive part of the crisis was over. "Now he's the dotingest grandpa ever."

From a woman whose husband left her:

"When it's happening, you don't realize what's sustaining you, because you live from hour to hour, then from day to day.

"But now I look back, I know it was my anger and determination, not to let my husband's problems hurt me . . . I had to work on it 24 hours a day, and none of it would have worked unless I wanted it to."