My son relapsed, and so did I. As I had done before Al‑Anon, I felt sorry for myself and wished my son were different. I thought obsessively about what I could say to him that would make things better or easier. I wanted to withdraw. I wanted to figure out, without anyone’s help, how to fix him.

These old behaviors didn’t last long, and for that, I am grateful. Thanks to Al‑Anon, I asked for help from my Higher Power, who answered me through the daily readings. My blessed Sponsor accepted my need to email my feelings and then follow up with a phone call rather than unload all of it on the phone. And I went to meetings, where the sharing and love from my Al‑Anon family were the light that helped me climb out of my darkness.

Through this experience, I figured out the important difference, for me, between control and choice. Trying to control outcomes—for instance, my son’s sobriety—mostly brought resentment and disappointment. When I understood the real power in my own ability to choose—particularly, my ability to choose my response to this situation—I was able to loosen my grip on my need to control and begin to heal.

I didn’t fix my son. I fixed myself. He will most likely have more relapses, which I cannot control; however, I can choose how to respond to them.

By Julie J., Texas

The Forum, October 2021

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.