Before Al‑Anon, I lived in a lot of fear. I shut down when a situation made me feel uncomfortable, or I lashed out like I was fending for my life. It was as if I was going to make sure that others knew I was powerful, and that I was not going to let them abuse me. I had such anger and sadness, such fear and hopelessness. And who could I tell? How could I explain my feelings? Was I crazy? What was wrong with me? I felt very victimized. So many things had happened in the last 27 years, and I didn’t really know where to start.

Everyone in Al‑Anon knew. They were experiencing, or had experienced, what I felt. They knew my story, no matter their age, no matter who the alcoholic in their life was, no matter their background. I’m not crazy. I am good enough. I do need to take care of myself. I need to set boundaries. I can love the alcoholics in my life. I am not the reflection of the alcoholics around me or anyone else. I love the people in my life, or they would not be in my life. I have learned so many things in Al‑Anon that help me day-to-day. This program has saved my life. I am so grateful for the people in this group, and I am proud to be here.

My relationships with my family, friends, co-workers, and everyone I meet is so different and so much kinder. I still have a lot of work to do, and that is why I “Keep Coming Back.” From time-to-time, I revert back to my old thinking. The way I respond, how I take things, and how strong I am is very different now, than it was before Al‑Anon. So, I keep reminding myself that I am the only person I can change.

By Beth S., Oregon

The Forum, March 2021

Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or in your newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.