Recently, I was preparing to move to a new state and had to decide what to keep and what to donate to charity. I had some old beds in storage that had not been used since I was a teenager in my alcoholic home. I decided I would use these beds in my new home, and I began to fix them up for use in a new place.
As I was cleaning and shining the parts of the bed frames, a certain joy came to me. Recovering the beauty of those beds reminded me of how Al‑Anon has recovered the beauty that was hidden inside of me. As a child of an alcoholic mother, I grew up in a traumatic environment full of yelling, financial difficulties, criticism, and judgement that left me full of shame. My response while growing up was to try to be perfect and to never ask for anything. With friends and neighbors, I tried to hide my shame and never show my hurt or confusion. It was a dishonest life where it was safer not to share my real self.
I have been a member of the Al‑Anon program for many years and have uncovered many of my unhealthy responses to living with an alcoholic. I have also learned that alcoholism is a disease that cannot be cured by my wishing or hoping, or by my hating the person with the disease. I found that sharing my truth in Al‑Anon meetings was safe and healing. Working with a Sponsor taught me many important lessons. I learned that an alcoholic’s behavior was not my fault. I also learned that a Higher Power exists for me, and forgives me for the misguided behaviors of my past that harmed myself or others. Today I feel free of shame. It has been replaced with compassion and even love for a mother who was just doing the best she could with a terrible disease. I have learned to live and create my own life.
Now those lovely beds have a second life in a home with recovery. They look beautiful. I am older now, but inside I feel beautiful too. Making the choice to attend Al‑Anon was the most rewarding thing I have done in my life. I plan to be a member forever.
By Laura D., Nevada
The Forum, April 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.