Before I came to Al‑Anon, I had wrapped myself up in so many layers of denial that to sit in a room and admit the truth to myself—let alone strangers—seemed crazy. Part of me wanted to cling to that denial, and part of me knew I couldn’t sustain the insanity of trying to control someone’s else’s behavior or my own life any longer.

In the beginning, I would think, how did I get to this point? Those first meetings were hard because I had to look at where I was square in the face, and I didn’t like it very much. Before coming to Al‑Anon, I felt completely ashamed about my behavior, and that made me feel alienated and isolated. In meetings, however, I felt I was accepted, and I belonged no matter what had happened in the past. I went to a lot of meetings in the beginning because I needed them to help keep me on track.

Where friends or family had let me down, the program tools were always there. They created a sense of constant support in my life that allowed me to entertain the possibility of actually feeling better. I have since learned that I don’t have to carry so much shame about what I had done. I don’t have to beat myself up for being in denial in the past. I could tackle moving forward “One Day at a Time,” and that meant I didn’t have to have all the answers. By focusing on the right steps in that one day, I learned I didn’t have to lug my denial and shame around anymore, which allowed me to start really living again.

By Kate L.

The Forum, May 2019