I sometimes think of Al‑Anon meetings as an emergency room or infirmary where I can get treatment for my anxiety, anger, fear and uncertainty. I come when I need a dose of Al‑Anon medicine. I come because I need to hear someone share their problem, which may resemble mine. It helps to know that I’m not the only one who has it. I want to hear and feel members’ experience, strength and hope if they are up for it. And if not, it’s okay to hear about their hurting, too, because we can bond through our pain, as well as our joy.

I know I will feel better after the meeting—no matter what I hear or say. I think of it as a treatment to help me deal with the effects of the family disease of alcoholism. It is good medicine that helps me get better. As I listen to people share and get healthier, I get healthier. I try not to forget that this is not a short-term healing process. Even though I will make more trips to the emergency room, I don’t need to call for an appointment—I can just walk in to attend an Al-Anon meeting.

By Robert H., Virginia

The Forum, November 2018