I went to my first meeting the same day my doctor suggested it. It couldn’t have come at a better time. For almost a year, I cried at every meeting—and still can. These tears cleanse my soul, and I feel better when I come out of a meeting. I need meetings now just like I need water.
I am 31, and I spent half of my life close to one addicted person or another. I had no knowledge of the disease and its effects on me. The changes were so subtle. I lost my sense of self-worth because I wasn’t focused on me. I found people whom I wanted to change so I could feel worthy and important. Now, because of Al‑Anon, I realize I was and still am addicted to chaos. That’s what has become familiar and, unfortunately, makes me comfortable. I am aware now, and my addiction to chaos needs to change if I really want to live.
I have to work on me every day and will for a long time to come. But I need to be patient with myself and accept where I am. I don’t want chaos. I want peace and serenity, but addiction is baffling, powerful, and cunning. I don’t need to understand. I just need to be open and willing to change.
My habit of focusing on others for so long has made me sick. It will take time to get healthy. I have gotten better. At least, I am aware now. As long as I go to my meetings and bring my body, my mind does absorb the words. My behaviors are taking longer to change, but I am a work in progress.
I don’t need to beat myself up because the alcoholics and addicts did that for me. I can sound like a textbook if that’s what it takes for me to learn. I can be flawed because, after all, I am still human. As long as I strive to have a better day than yesterday and not insist for things to go my way, everything will be okay.
I heard that no one deserves my love as much as I do. Putting my needs first is okay. Only then can I be of help to others, and only when they ask. Most importantly, I have learned to pray for strength and not for life to be easier. Life and its problems will happen. At times, it will be painful, but how I react is up to me. I don’t have to be upset forever and continue to suffer in self-pity or fear. I’m allowed to have these feelings, but at some point I have to release them in order to move on.
I used to question everything, and, honestly, this habit may never change, but I have learned it is easier to let go and accept. In Al‑Anon, I can trust people, because they don’t question me. They just listen. They help me be less judgmental. They have shown me many lessons and, most especially, what it means to truly love. I can love myself and the addicted persons in my life most by letting them go. I pray for me, I pray for them, and then I work on me.
By Heidi H.
The Forum, March 2017
Feel free to reprint this article on your Web site or in your newsletter, along with this credit line:
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Hdqts., Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
Thank you so much for sharing! This really gave me a lot of encouragement and perspective. And hope for things to get better as I keep coming to my meetings. Good job and thank you so much for having the courage to share ❤️
I think all of us when we first come to Al-Anon feel this way. My first 14 months Al-Anon truly gave me sanity, then at the end of March 2018 I slipped back, stopped going to meetings all because of something the alcoholic in my life had done through her attorney. It took me 3 months to start going back to meetings and a month of meetings to start gaining my sanity again. For those three months I lived in self-pity, in isolation, in pain! I cried each and every day wondering if I would ever feel good again. I… Read more »
I keep reading this web site and I went to my first local meeting to understand what my son , daughter in law and grand daughter are going through. My son is the alcoholic and the problem. He is well educated has a really good job and makes a real great salary. He just likes to drink and his body needs more and more endorphins to be satisfied and get that good feeling he seeks. I came to my first meeting last week to see how I should fit into the solution to the problem. My son and I have… Read more »
Reading this has gave me so much hope and confidence especially living with an addict who doesn’t see his flaws or problems the way I see them every day and with a child on the way I’m stuck in between a crossroad….thank you so much