When I first came into the program, my priorities were informed by the family disease of alcoholism and the recent death of my father. My immediate priority after losing my dad to alcohol abuse was to save my mom, also an alcoholic, from the same fate. My priority then, above all else—above sleep, sanity, my family, my health—was to stop my mother from drinking and, by extension, dying.

I came into the program because, no matter how much I fought, cried, and begged, my mom refused to stop drinking. She told me she couldn’t and wouldn’t, and suggested I get over it. I didn’t know how to get over it. I didn’t know how to just accept that those were her choices. So I found an Al‑Anon meeting and became willing to learn.

It’s been six years since I started going to meetings, and my recovery has been at times swift, at times stalled, but slowly, with time, patience, and the wisdom of the program and my fellow Al‑Anon members, I started to understand that my mother’s choices were not something I had the ability to change.

I began to see that the real change I needed was inside of me—a spiritual change. I needed to “Let Go and Let God” and to re-prioritize, putting my serenity above all things. What I quickly realized was that my serenity was a great barometer of whether I was trying to force solutions, control others, or exert my will. If I lost my serenity at any time, it was likely because I had once again “fallen off the wagon” and resorted to my old way of thinking—that I was responsible for the actions of others and that I could change them if only I tried hard enough.

Today, my serenity comes first. What gives me serenity is my connection with my Higher Power, my love for my family, and working my program in all things. And the fact that I have serenity at all, despite my mother’s continued drinking and the consequences of her drinking that I must deal with every day, is the true miracle of my life. And it is all thanks to Al‑Anon.

By Diana M., Ontario

The Forum, December 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.