My sister Kris is 18 months older than I am and was truly my best friend throughout childhood. We grew up in the country and built forts, played kicked the can, went sledding until our cheeks were rosy, set up our Barbie neighborhood on the ping-pong table, caught tadpoles and fireflies, and played for hours and hours on the big swing. Oh, how we loved the big swing. When we had a neighborhood parade, Kris insisted I be the queen who got to ride on a chair in the red wagon. I felt so special. For Junior Prom, Kris carefully applied my makeup and did my hair. What fond memories. After her high school graduation, Kris moved away. My heart sank as she pulled out of the driveway in her loaded car.
Over the last decade or so, Kris’s drinking has escalated. In 2015, she got her first DWI. Her husband called and said she was in jail. Shocked and crying, I met Kris’s husband and my younger sister at her house to try and figure out next steps. Kris went to her first rehab and proudly told me about accepting her coins at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Sadly, her sobriety was short-lived. She has been in five rehabs since, wrecked a few cars, skirted jail time, and has challenging relationships with her children. Meanwhile, I prayed for Kris. I cried a lot and had no idea what to do. I went to a few Al‑Anon meetings at first, but I guess I wasn’t ready.
Finally, in April 2020, I contacted my church to ask for guidance and prayers for my sister. The woman I talked to suggested I try Al‑Anon and emailed me a list of meetings. This time, Al‑Anon changed my life. When I heard, “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it,” I thought the Liberty Bell had clobbered me over the head! The comfort I now feel, the knowledge I’ve gained, and the love I’ve experienced is inconceivable. Al-Anon has become my place of solace.
I share at most meetings and listen intently to the stories and lessons others share from their experience. I have a Sponsor and recently finished Step Five. Yesterday, I skipped a networking event for my new business to attend my weekly meeting because I needed to be grounded and work my program. Who knew working the Steps would be so rewarding?
Today I am at peace and taking care of myself. I work the program by taking time for daily readings, talking with others, listening to recovery podcasts, and attending meetings. I even chaired a meeting for the first time on my one-year Al‑Anon anniversary. The program works when I work at it.
I love my sister unconditionally. Today, I pray she will have a sober day. Although our relationship has changed, my sister will always be my best friend.
The Forum, January 2022
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
Sadly… I found out about this support 2 yrs. too late. My brother died by himself in a San Francisco hotel from a fentanyl & cocaine overdose. June 2020 was the worst time of my life, the coroner’s office called me at work. I will never forget that day, month, & moment that I found out my little brother was dead. I am still struggling w/ this trauma, trying to cope every day.
I love my alcoholic sister too. I’m taking a fearless and moral inventory of myself not blaming her no more. Also relying on my Higher Power than on my understanding.