I remember my first Al‑Anon meeting well. Due to the progressive dis‑ ease of alcoholism in a loved one, I was suddenly left a single father, with a teenage son and a preteen daughter. My life was in chaos. I felt as if I was shipwrecked, with no idea what to think, say, or do. I didn’t know up from down. My life was unmanageable.

That evening, as I parked the car outside the meeting, I told my kids, “I don’t know how this Al‑Anon thing is going to go, but I know we need something, and I really hope they can help us. Let’s go in.”

As we entered the room, a young woman was setting out books on a table. I asked her, “Is this the right place? Am I in the right place?” She listened to me stammer out something about my troubles. She saw the look of panic, sadness, and despair in my eyes, and she said, “Oh yes, I’m pretty sure you are in the right place.”

She explained a little bit about what Al‑Anon was, told my kids they could go into the Alateen meeting, and that I could take a seat in the Al‑Anon meeting anywhere I wanted. I sat in the back row, and waited.

The opening was a blur of voices and people talking about this or that. I could not focus on much at first, but as the sharing began, with personal stories of experiences and lessons learned, I felt something.

I felt something move inside my heart, and after listening to three or four more people share, I knew what that feeling was. It was hope.

Al‑Anon gave me hope in that first meeting—and in every meeting since.

By Bill T., California
Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017