Over the course of a few years, my family’s life seemed to spiral out of control. Solutions I thought should work didn’t. I was worn out, and I was out of ideas. I finally took a friend’s advice and came to an Al‑Anon meeting. With grandchildren now in the mix, I somehow sensed that I might be facing some life-long challenges. At meetings, I couldn’t believe anyone was going through anything as bad as I was. That’s because the others seemed happy. They were smiling and making jokes. I wrongly concluded that their problems were solved and that the main reason they attended meetings was because they were so grateful to Al‑Anon for what it had done for them.

In time, I learned that other members were going through serious problems, too, but unlike me, they took better care of themselves. I also saw other newcomers improving. I could see how I had been stuck in a rut—emotionally reacting to every new crisis and spending time examining and regretting the past. I needed help to recognize my feelings, accept reality, and move forward. My load lightened up a bit when I made a friend in the program to talk with. I’d already received plenty of advice from family and friends, but hearing my new friend’s experiences in detail gave me a new and different perspective.

She let me make my own decisions. But even today, when I need to make a decision, I often think of some of the experiences she had and how she handled them. Looking back, my first decisions early in the Al‑Anon program seemed so big, and they were. I am thankful to Al‑Anon for pointing the way towards a happier and healthier way for me to live.

By Gina B., Arkansas

The Forum, June 2020