Tradition Eight: Al‑Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
One of my best friends committed suicide. As a psychologist by profession, I carried a lot of guilt for not being able to prevent it. The loss hit me hard, but it was not like me to ask for help. I realized that my independence and professional training made it a challenge to open up to others. I was the one who was in control, knew the answers, and helped others. I did not want to be the one opening up and asking for help.
I tried going to a suicide support group but found that to be too depressing. I needed to find a place to share, be myself, and learn to accept the bad things that happen. My partner of ten years was in recovery from alcoholism and practiced her Twelve Step program. It worked for her. Perhaps a Twelve Step program could meet my need for support, I thought. Funny thing, I never even considered Al‑Anon before that. Despite the alcoholism on my mom’s side of the family, a sibling with substance-use issues, and a partner in A.A., I was nervous that I might not belong.
My first meeting was challenging because they said the Lord’s Prayer at the end. Being in a long-term lesbian relationship, I no longer felt accepted or supported in the faith in which I had been raised. I did not feel that I could be myself in that group.
The next week, I found the only specifically identified LGBTQIA+ group in my city. There, I was warmly welcomed and found a place to be myself and share my struggles while learning that I do belong in Al‑Anon. My focus on caring for others over myself, my difficulty accepting life as it is, my challenge figuring out what I need, and my need to learn that I can turn things I cannot control over to the universe—all of these mean that I belong.
The Forum, August 2022
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.