In the years before I came to Al‑Anon, I felt persecuted—first by my own stinking thinking and secondly by the verbal abuse thrown at me by my alcoholic husband. The abuse went on for 18 years. We met as seniors in high school, and at first, we were best friends. We went to college and partied together, but years later, after our son was born, the effect of the disease manifested itself in every decision and discussion we had. I thought I was living in a mental institution, and I was becoming emotionally and mentally attached to the craziness of this disease.

I came to Al‑Anon 13 years later—broken mentally, emotionally and physically. Although I had a responsible job, my personal life was a disaster. I didn’t want serenity because I thought it was boring. I had no sense of who I was or what I needed and wanted in life.

I heard a story at my first meeting that was more disastrous than mine, and I was drawn to the spiritual words of the Serenity Prayer and the Twelve Steps. I felt accepted.

I heard, “Take what you liked and leave the rest.” For the first time, I felt that what I was doing and who I was as a person was okay. I did not feel that I was being judged, nor that I had to fit in, which gave me the willingness to keep coming back.

By Judy T., Oregon

The Forum, July 2018