In my personal life, the slogan “Let It Begin with Me” reminds me that taking care of myself is not selfish; it’s the opposite. Before I found Al‑Anon, I didn’t think about taking care of myself, because I thought someone else had to take care of me, just as I thought I was in charge of someone else’s well-being, which led to frequent disillusionment, resentment, and anger. I tried to be perfect, to do what I thought was expected of me. I put my alcoholic loved one’s needs ahead of my own without realizing I was losing my life.
Through meetings and readings, I learned that I could be the one to bring about change through my recovery. It starts with telling myself that my family can’t be well if I’m not well myself. If I’m rested, if I’m cheerful, if I’m not brooding, then I can bring a pleasant atmosphere into the house and avoid tensions. This does not mean I feel responsible for everything again, but that focusing on my recovery, on respecting my needs and setting my limits, can be beneficial not only for me but also for the whole family.
“Let It Begin with Me” is a slogan that also accompanies me in my life as an Al‑Anon member. When I don’t feel like going to meetings or when I feel discouraged because the group seems to be struggling, I remember what the fellowship did for me when I needed it. I know that someone, someday, will need to find the door open, and I will be happy to have contributed. By attending meetings, by getting well, by witnessing, by serving, I can help Al‑Anon continue to be there—and it begins with me and with each of us.
By Claire L-M., France
The Forum, November 2023
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.