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.
I myself have been healing on this Spiritual journey in the Al-Anon Program. The Shame is a challenge to deal with at times, but with the program and Higher Power we are getting through it. Healing from the hurts of the parents is not easy at times, but forgiving and healing. I believe my Parents did the best they could at the time with the Support of the Al-Anon Program. With time I was able to see that my Parents shared with me: Rich Faith, Perserverance, Humility, kindness, Prayer, Wisdom, etc. Not easy to be a Parent, Their Journey is… Read more »
Really enjoyed this message. A message of hope.
This is the first article I’ve read on the Al-Anon app and I get to the bottom to see it was written by a friend from the North who I met in service. What a God shot! I’m definitely in the right place. I love that acceptance about her Mom doing the best she could with the tools she had. I used to blame and judge my parents for not being perfect. The longer I’m in program the more my compassion and love grows for them. They were hurting too. I just didn’t know it because I was so young… Read more »
This was one of the most profound things I have ever read! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I think it’s time to heal the hurting scared little girl inside me. That part of my life is over now. I’d like to start really living now and I think here I shall find the way and tools.
Thanks for sharing. I have been in Al-Anon for 38 years- and can identify with the process of change you have achieved. Telling our story is a gift for ourselves, and for others.
Please visit our Newcomers page to find out how Al-Anon can help. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many face-to-face meetings are currently unavailable and we invite you to try an electronic meeting. Al-Anon Family Groups offer a large list of electronic meetings on a variety of platforms, including Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, email, and phone. In addition, the meetings are available at all hours of the day, and some even 24 hours a day.
not sure how to make a friend here
Thank you so much for sharing this story. I admire your ability to make something like that work in your life.
This sharing is really beautiful and powerful. Thanks, Laura D. I really liked the lines: ”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…I have learned to live and create my own life.” I grew up in an alcoholic family and I am really grateful that today I have tools that help me when I am interacting with them. Not everyone in my family responds to events the… Read more »
It’s good to be reminded that we can choose to see the good parts in those difficult times. It isn’t all negative. Your share reminded me that I can make that choice and it’s ok.
That’s beyond strong to keep items that once reminded you of hurt. I envy that. I have given away everything that reminds me of bad times besides this one chef clock my ex got me. It reminds me of a time when I loved practical gifts and he was so good at finding things to make me smile. At times tho, it also reminds me of a time when he was drunk and having a mental breakdown and was talking to the chefs in our kitchen. That was the point at which I realized I didnt even know half of… Read more »
I think that this is a very inspiring for you to tell your story.
This gives me hope for the future and the future of my teens who are just beginning their path to recovery.