I remember in my first Al‑Anon meetings hearing people say, “To thine own self be true.” This was confusing for me as I thought I was an honest person, knew myself so well, and had sincere motives. The more I attended Al‑Anon and read the literature, though, the more I discovered that I really did not know anything about myself at all—not my favorite color, favorite food, favorite recreational activity, favorite type of music, whether I preferred rural or city settings, and the list went on. Sometimes I even wondered whether I was part of the human race!
Having grown up in alcoholism and then continued on in life with one alcoholic after another, I realized that I did not know myself at all. I was whatever the alcoholic wanted me to be (or so I thought). This awareness was the point at which I figured out that in order for me to live a full and happy life—which meant being true to myself—I would have to work the Twelve Steps of Al‑Anon. The journey to me began with Step One, and by the time I reached Step Twelve, I had discovered myself—a beautiful, spiritual woman on a human journey.
Today, I can answer all of those questions for myself with honesty and sincerity. In Al‑Anon, I have learned that this journey of self-discovery is an ongoing process of consistently practicing the Steps and being awakened to my Higher Power’s desire for me. This has become a way of life and a design for living. Thank you, Al‑Anon, for giving me the tools to find myself and learn how to live as William Shakespeare suggested: “To thine own self be true.”
By Ally G., California
The Forum, December 2021
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.