It was a cold, dark, February night when I came to my first Al‑Anon meeting. I was young in years (only a couple years too late for Alateen), but I felt ancient, worn-out, and totally lost in spirit. The effects of my mom’s alcoholism had ravaged me, but all I could focus on was my desperate attempt to save her. The members at that meeting welcomed me and assured me I was in the right place. Their stories were different than mine, but they shared the same feelings. I went home that night feeling hope, and as if a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I was no longer all alone.
My road toward recovery has not been easy or short, but as members helped me let go of the many coping mechanisms I developed as a child, I began to feel better every day. I can never give back as much as I feel I owe to Al‑Anon, but today I do whatever I can. As my Al‑Anon anniversary comes around each February, I celebrate it by honoring the kindness of those members who encouraged me by offering that same kindness to other children of alcoholics still in pain. I let them know they are no longer all alone.
How appropriate it is that this year in the US, Children of Alcoholics Week will be held February 14-20, to bring national awareness to the effects of alcoholism on children. Throughout the month, the World Service Office (WSO) will be publishing content to draw attention to the support that Al‑Anon and Alateen meetings provide across the globe to adult children of alcoholics and teenagers living in alcoholic homes. It’s the perfect time for local service arms and groups to plan special speaker meetings focusing on children of alcoholics, to reach out to local community support agencies about how Al‑Anon can help, or to provide Al‑Anon speakers for educational meetings held at institutions, facilities, or schools. Individual members can also participate by sharing WSO content on social media. Let’s do all we can to let anyone who has been affected by parental alcoholism know that Al‑Anon and Alateen can make a difference.
By Tom C., Associate Director—Literature
The Forum, January 2021
Feel free to reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.