My first Al‑Anon meeting was the one I didn’t attend. I sat in my car outside the building and watched the people going inside. They were smiling and hugging each other.

I was here because my best friend had told me that I would find help in Al‑Anon, and even serenity. But I couldn’t go inside. I went home to my empty apartment and to the pain, anger, and sadness within me.

The following evening, I went back to the meeting, and this time I gathered enough courage to go inside. When the group secretary asked if there were any newcomers, I raised my hand and said my name.

As the meeting went on, something happened to me. I still don’t know what it was. It had nothing to do with anything anyone was saying. It was a sudden sense of being at home, of being in the right place for me—for the first time in a very long time.

By Ed S., California
Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017