One day, I was listening to an Al‑Anon speaker, who shed new light on me and my relationships. I had been working with my Sponsor about them and, in describing my failing relationship with my wife, he said, “She must be in considerable pain to have done, said and acted as she did.” I was stunned because I had never looked at our relationship from her perspective before. I also thought about my anger at my dad for his lack of involvement in my life. But, with a bit of compassion, I saw that he, too, had grown up without a father in very tough times. If he hadn’t had a role model, how could he be one?

All my life, I had focused on what I believed I was missing. But the speaker gave me a new perspective, saying “We are all born whole.” I began to see that, while I am flawed, I am not broken, not missing anything. I was finally able to embrace myself as the little boy who had been hurt and too often left by himself. I had experienced terrible things, but I had emerged. I did not have to be defined by my experiences, and I could see that I was not a victim, but a survivor.

By Lewis J.

The Forum, March 2018