Early in my married life, I lived abroad in the Middle East. Alcohol was forbidden where we were, but it could always be found. As a result of its forbidden nature, the drinking had a frenetic quality, which I saw especially in my spouse. It scared me and made me feel even more isolated and unsupported. I was so miserable. I found Al‑Anon through another spouse there, and together we attended a meeting in the diplomatic quarters. It helped, but not enough.
Twenty years later, my son began drinking and drugging, and the slogans and readings were again not enough to help me deal with my anger and anxiety. What was missing was the Twelve Steps. I hadn’t understood their precious purpose. It was the Steps that changed me—from feeling like a passive victim and being full of fear to finding a sense of purpose in my life and feeling hope. The Steps were my ABC primer that showed me how to begin to live life on life’s terms.
As I worked the Steps, I began to see patterns in how I reacted and why I reacted, as well as the deep-seated things that scared me into inaction. My Sponsor and I worked hand-in-hand, which helped me change and grow through the Steps. My Higher Power gave me hope, courage, and tools to believe He’s got it all under control and to trust Him.
If it weren’t for the Steps, I’d still be muddling along without direction, guidance, and insight. The Steps continue to help me see my strengths and my flaws. Working the Steps for myself allows me to give my alcoholic and addicted loved ones the respect and dignity to choose for themselves whether to work on their own lives.
By Celia G., Oklahoma
The Forum, December 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.