Hope from My Very First Meeting

When I attended my first Al‑Anon meeting, my denial was so thick I did not recognize there was any alcoholism in my family. I thought the problem was me.

It was my good fortune to attend my first Al‑Anon meeting in Seattle. It was a large meeting that broke into smaller groups. One of the groups was for beginners and met in the hallway. We sat in rows of chairs that faced each other. When it was my turn to speak, I said that I was there at the recommendation of a counselor and that I didn’t know if I belonged in Al‑Anon. The member who volunteered to lead the meeting assured me that I was welcome to keep coming back until I knew for sure whether Al‑Anon could help me. She said I could share why the counselor suggested I try Al‑Anon, or I could just listen. She left the decision up to me.

I explained that I went to see a counselor because I felt tempted to cross the centerline and ram my car into opposing traffic. I didn’t know why I felt like causing a serious accident, but I knew that, if I didn’t get help, someone was going to get hurt. The counselor suggested I go to Al‑Anon. The chairperson thanked me for sharing and encouraged me to keep coming back. She also introduced the acronym, H.A.L.T. to me, which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. She said if any of us found ourselves feeling too hungry, angry, lonely or tired, it might be a good idea to drop everything else and take care of that need right away. It was just what I needed to hear.

Eventually, Al‑Anon helped me recognize the alcoholism that permeated at least four generations of my family. I have learned so much by listening to other people talk about their families. Of all the people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking, I don’t know how I got lucky enough to find Al‑Anon. I am very grateful, and today I feel safe behind the wheel of a car.

By Pat Q., Traveling

The Forum, August 2018


  1. Jay August 2018 at 11:22 am

    I am extremely happy for all of you who feel better about their decisions. I am struggling to find a solution to my problem, yet when I read your testimonials (sorry for my spelling) I don’t see any answers. I apologize as I may be very myopic or short sited but I am looking for anything. Any responses would be much appreciated, and congratulations to all of you who have made a better life for yourself.

  2. Kim H. August 2018 at 11:32 am

    I’ve felt hopeles. I’ve felt it before and after starting to attend meetings. The difference is that I have a place go and people to call today. The difference is Al-Anon. The difference makes a difference in me.

  3. Roy A. August 2018 at 5:58 am

    I came to Al-Anon because of how it affected the life of a good friend. I did not grow up in an actively alcoholic family, but my parents were (as far as I know) adult children who passed on to me their coping mechanisms.
    I felt like a phony at first because I could drink or not drink, so I thought that the First Step [Admitted we were powerless over alcohol] did not apply to me. Then someone said that this meant “powerless over the effects of alcohol on our lives” and I was able to move on. As to unmanageability, when I was in it I couldn’t see it (like a fish can’t see the water), but when I came out to the air I could then see the chaos I had come out of.
    The important thing is that the person who needs the Al-Anon program finds it. I am so grateful that I can’t refuse to help others in Al-Anon when asked.

  4. shirin August 2018 at 7:20 am

    I have also had this feeling. I found it rather paradoxical as I think life is sacred. It is truly a gift that is granted and taken by a power greater than ourselves. I think our human brains are too tiny to comprehend this. Now I simply acknowledge that it’s a way how living with active alcoholism has affected me.

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