I went to my first Al‑Anon meeting because I was desperate to help my daughter. I’d tried everything. This was my last chance. A small group of people there were talking and laughing. The meeting began. I was shellshocked, and I didn’t hear a single word until someone said, “My daughter.”

I began to cry. I hadn’t realized the depth of my despair, and soon I was openly sobbing. Someone handed me a box of tissues, but no one interfered as I cried for the next 45 minutes. I just couldn’t stop. It took all my strength to remain in my chair until the end of the meeting, instead of running out in total humiliation.

I thought they would all look away from me, embarrassed. Instead, several members came up to me, smiled, and took my hand. Two women asked if I needed a hug. I did. They said, “Keep coming back.”

I realized this group understood my suffering, sympathized, empathized, and wanted to help me. They loved me. And that was exactly what I needed.

By Vivian M., Florida
Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017