My former Sponsor used to share a “growth opportunity” expression—one not appropriate for polite company—which reminded me that good can be found in every challenging situation. The expression often allowed me to laugh instead of cry. It usually also reminded me both of our saying, “This Too Shall Pass,” and the need for me to pay attention for the lesson. Over the last twelve months, I have heard many members use variations of that expression as the 2020 theme, and I have found that encouraging. Not because it lessened the intensity of the experience but because it informed me again that I am not alone and that even in the midst of struggle, I can always choose to turn the moment into an opportunity for growth.
In 2020, I have experienced many “growth opportunities” and I’m grateful for the support of both temporary and permanent electronic meetings, which have helped me to connect, to stay hopeful, and to grow personally and in my reliance on my Higher Power. In 2020, I have felt enormous amounts of fear—for our program, our future, and the wellbeing of my family—and I have felt despair. Each time I have been reminded to return to the foundation of my program, often through my service as a Sponsor or the kind words of members during a meeting. As suggested in From Survival to Recovery (B-21), “I focused on members of my Al-Anon group and remembered how they urged me not to buy into crazy thinking. I have a choice, I remembered.” (p. 112)
As we roll over into 2021 with its continued uncertainty, I am buoyed by the knowledge that through their reliance upon the God of their understanding, Al-Anon members are and will continue to find ways to connect with each other and expand our message of hope. Whether through the Al-Anon Family Groups mobile app; electronic, hybrid, or face-to-face meetings; or virtual Assemblies, we will continue to meet the challenge of both the family disease of alcoholism and the pandemic with grace and dignity. I am grateful for all of you.
By Vali F., Executive Director