Before going to Alateen, I often felt alone and lonely. I did not want anyone outside of my dysfunctional house to know what I was living with. I was always trying to hide or wanting to disappear into the shadows, hoping my terrible secret would never be exposed.
One day, my mom shared with me that my dad had a disease (alcoholism) and that it affected the whole family. At the time, I did not know why I was always sad and afraid and feeling cut off from the world. My mom promised me that if I went to Alateen, I would start to feel much better. At my first meeting, we read from a red book, Alateen—a day at a time (B-10). As each week passed and we continued to read from it, I was always amazed at how easily I could relate to the stories and feelings expressed.
As months went by, I realized my mom’s promise was coming true. I no longer felt alone, and my sadness started to melt away as quickly as it would surface. With the tools presented in the little red book, I was starting to feel better a day at a time. After almost a year in Alateen, my mom bought me my own Alateen—a day at a time book as a Christmas gift. Inscribed was, “Read this for Health and Happiness. Love, Mom.”
Today, I still have my Alateen book, except now it sits in my son’s room, where he knows he can reach for it anytime if he is struggling with his feelings or starts to feel alone. With this book, we have been able to pass down from one generation to the next how to live in recovery and not live in the disease. I am eternally grateful.
By Rita, Ontario
The Forum, October 2022
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.