I came out of retirement when Child Protective Services took my granddaughter away from my son for the third time. Her mother was in and out of jail, and my son was mostly in an alcoholic haze.

I love my granddaughter with all my heart, but having her with me full-time made my emotions churn with a mixture of bitterness and resentment. I was angry with my son, with his girlfriend, with the government system we were stuck in, and sometimes, even with this darling baby girl. That was when I decided it was time to go to Al‑Anon.

I would like to say serenity and happiness came over me the first time I read Step One. It did not, but that room filled with people at different stages of similar journeys brought me into a community that helped me eventually get there.

Step One became part of my DNA only after reading, listening, talking, and listening some more. I grasped the second part of the sentence first: full realization that my life had become unmanageable. I asked myself why. The answer was easy: because of alcohol. Then the first part of the sentence finally made sense to me: I am powerless over alcohol, but not over my life, my actions, or myself.

Once I unlocked the power of Step One, I could move on to the next Step, then the next, and so on. Step One began the journey that brought back my sanity. From there I learned to set up boundaries, to “Let Go and Let God,” and to detach with love. I have rediscovered happiness, joy, and a renewed sense of self. I owe my happiness and my granddaughter’s to Step One, and the doorway to all that Al‑Anon offers.

By Suzanne W., Texas
Forum May 2016