When I became aware of my 15-year-old son’s drinking, I put him into a treatment program. The staff at the facility recommended I attend Al‑Anon. My first thought was, How can I do one more thing to help my son? I was already getting him to treatment three days a week, taking him to meetings, driving him back and forth to school, and monitoring all of his time. This was in addition to trying to parent two younger children and maintain our household. I had no idea how I could fit one more thing into a schedule that didn’t even have room for what I was already trying to accomplish. However, I came to realize that what I was doing was not making my son sober, because his disease progressed despite all of my efforts.
In desperation, I attended my first Al‑Anon meeting. As I listened to people sharing about their own experiences, I began to understand that my efforts weren’t going to cause an instant change in his disease. I kept going back, and I began to change some of the things I was doing. Constant checking up on my son had not stopped his drinking, so I made time for myself and the other family members. Yelling, crying, negotiating, and punishment did not stop his drinking, so I stopped doing those things too.
There were many painful days and nights when my fear for my son affected my daily life, but I got a Sponsor, started working the Steps, read Conference Approved Literature, attended meetings regularly, and developed a relationship with my Higher Power. I came to understand that making Al‑Anon a part of my own life was not doing more, it was doing things differently. The things I learned in Al‑Anon helped me identify my motives and understand that rescuing my son from the consequences of his disease was not helping him or me. I also learned how to work on a loving relationship with my son.
Today, after several years of drinking, my son is sober. He’s an adult now, and we have a relationship of love and respect. I have become a better mom and a better person from attending Al‑Anon and applying the principles of the program to all areas of my life.
By Tracy G.
The Forum, November 2021
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.
This reminds me of a recent trip to detox for my brother. My sister had run herself ragged looking for an empty bed for him and suffering through his drunken visits. I was the recipient of all the details. Now, today was the day. After my brother failed to follow through on a bed (confused, drunk), my sister secured a bed an hour away. I drove. My brother was drunk, my sister was too upset; he almost couldn’t get to the car and we had a deadline for showing up. I’ve been attending Al-Anon meetings for 2-3 years. Huge help… Read more »
What I really related to in this sharing, was the freedom I experienced when I started to look after my own life. It was a little scary to work on letting go of controlling, however with hp’s help it got easier and easier. Then at some point I looked back and realized that my actions had really helped my relationship. Thank you to all the Al-Anon members, over the years, who did service at every level to help friends and families of Alcoholics.