I have always been a loner—independent and in control of my life. I raised two children alone and considered myself a successful mother. After all, my upbringing was so unpleasant that if I just did the opposite of my parents, I would do everything perfectly.

But something happened on my way to perfection. My daughter turned to alcohol at puberty to self-medicate for manic depression. As she moved into the difficult teenage years, I tried to cover up the disorder and chaos that was taking over our home. After all, from the outside, our family looked competent and successful.

Sharing my life story with others was out of the question. But, after seeing the progress of a relative in recovery, I reluctantly decided to try Al‑Anon. At the first meeting, I realized that my emotions were not unique. I heard experiences that paralleled my own—I no longer felt like I was alone, trying to set things right in my family all by myself.

At first, I worked Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps with my head, but not my heart. It took me some time to realize that the key to serenity was patience and practice. I was so used to coping with chaos that serenity at first seemed a bit boring, but gradually it became a soothing lifestyle and it remains so today.

The most important slogan for me at that first meeting was “Keep Coming Back.” Gradually, going to meetings became a habit. One slogan saved my sanity and my daughter’s, too. They said, “Take what you like and leave the rest.”

By Carolyn K., Ohio
Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2019