Thinking back to my first Al‑Anon meetings, I remember how hard I tried to change my teenage son who had become addicted to drugs and alcohol. I can recall how hard I tried to “fix” him. I tried all kinds of tactics—manipulation, threats, and control. Actually, I became really good at these things—but nothing worked.

As I went to Al‑Anon meetings, I learned that I can’t change another person. I can only change myself. That’s when the healing began.

My son suffered the consequences of his behavior: treatment, jail, and treatment again, this time with success. This all happened after I stopped trying to change him and just concentrated on changing myself.

A few days ago, I found out that my 24-year-old grandson is drinking heavily. I told my daughter that she has done all the right things. She had offered a helping hand, but that this is no longer her problem—it’s her son’s problem and she can’t change him. Before Al‑Anon, I would have been a basket case upon hearing about my grandson, but because of Al‑Anon I’m okay.

By Lee E., Minnesota

Forum March 2015