Growing up in an alcoholic home, I had to figure so much out for myself. As a result, I developed an arrogant, smug belief that I had all the answers. I felt that I was the one who had to keep things together. Once I left home, I was sure that I was prepared to take on the world and vowed to myself to live differently. I put on my coat of armor, and it was going to take a miracle for me to reveal my true self to anyone—including myself.

I heard about Al‑Anon during an internship I was completing for school and attended some Al‑Anon and A.A. meetings as part of my assignment. My immediate thought was that my mom really needed to do this Al‑Anon thing because it was clear that she was unhappy with my father’s drinking. She went a few times, but did not see how Al‑Anon could help her. After all, she didn’t drink. She purchased one of the daily readers and felt that was enough for her.

Even though my alcoholic loved one became sober and started going to A.A., I was more miserable than ever. My deep-seated insecurities were running amuck, and by the time I got back to Al‑Anon, I didn’t think I belonged because I didn’t want to belong. I didn’t want to see my part. Fortunately, I heard that Al‑Anon was about my disease. My behavior and attitudes were making me sick and I didn’t even realize it. I put everyone else first, thought I knew the answers to everyone else’s problems, and justified my actions to the point that I didn’t think I could change.

By listening to others share their experiences, I felt hope for myself—hope that I could risk taking off the armor, or maybe just a piece of it, to reveal the real me. Amazingly, I started to change as this loving program began to unfold in front of me. Al‑Anon has helped me love and accept myself as I am, despite the family disease of alcoholism. I will “Keep Coming Back” to remind myself that I am worthy.

By Sue P., Virginia

The Forum, March 2019