My therapist suggested that I attend Al‑Anon. The keyword is “suggested.” Believe me, I did not want to sit around a table with a bunch of strangers, but something told me to and gave me the strength and courage to do it.
It was as if I were carrying this huge steamer trunk full to the rim. I dragged this baggage everywhere I went. It was so heavy and weighed me down, as well as everyone I met. I didn’t want anyone to help me carry it. Eventually, friends, family members, and co‑workers simply didn’t want to be around me. I continued to drag my baggage along until I was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. I remember thinking how tired I felt and that I couldn’t do it anymore.
So, I dragged this trunk full of stuff into my car, drove to the meeting location and parked. I just sat there, waiting until the coast was clear because I didn’t want anyone to see what I had with me. I got this baggage out of the car, dragged it along on the pavement and pulled it up the steps, clunk‑clunk‑clunk! I slid it to the door, turned and finally looked in the room. I thought, “Oh, my gosh. What do I say, what do I do, what if they don’t like me…?”
The members of the group looked up at me and then noticed what I was carrying. Someone said, “Oh my. I used to have one just like that, except mine was blue.” I felt relief. Everyone came toward me and seemed to know just how to be supportive. I finally accepted the kindness of others and just let them help me.
Since then, I have been able to go through that baggage, throw away what I don’t need and downsize. I have worked very hard to reduce my baggage, and now it fits nicely into a backpack. The weight of it continues to get lighter, and someday I hope to be able to fit all of my stuff into a small coin purse.
Carrying my load is so much easier now. I have freedom, energy, serenity, and hope—“One Day at a Time.” And I can even ask for help.
By Tina F., Wisconsin
The Forum, October 2017
I went to my first Al-Anon meeting on my 30th birthday. I am now 62. I just found that my son has the same disease that has afflicted every male for 3 generations. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I want to put my bag on a plane and fly to him and save him.
Wow. That’s all I can say ? I thought I was the only bag lady
I too have a lot of baggage. I talked to my mom last night about my husband and my life. Her late husband was also an alcoholic and as she put it, loved her, but loved the bottle more. He finally gave up on life. She recommended going to a meeting. He’s been gone several years now and she still goes. I asked her why she didn’t leave him and it was because she didn’t have any money. They were both on social security. She said it sounded like I am trapped, like she was. I have no money. I… Read more »
Thanks a lot for reminding us: how to cope with our common problem.
I’m so tired I can’t move my baggage is so heavy because I have two daughters with this heroine addiction. I raise her two beautiful children and I’m afraid, I’m trying to move but my heart is broken.
Thank you for this detailed yet succinct post. I just attended my first meeting, claimed my seat by sharing that I was a brand new person, and cried after I hung up. It’s all very confusing. The baggage metaphor is very helpful, because I do feel so weighed down and tired all the time and haven’t known why when I know I don’t hav any medical problems. I still don’t know why, but I’m going to keep coming to meetings and listening.
I have a son with a drinking problem and doesn’t think it’s a problem. I know you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink. I don’t know how to get him interested.
This is so well written. Thank you. The imagery of luggage is very powerful. Helps me see progress I’m making in Al-Anon and to look forward to continued growth.
Would like to find meeting for myself.