Growing up in an alcoholic home, I learned to focus on how my dad came home and whether my mom was going to be sad or angry. I learned to worry about my sister when she didn’t come home at night, and I learned to do things for other people that they could very well do for themselves. I was full of fear and anxiety, and I didn’t sleep or eat well. I tried to be quiet when my dad was home, and I tried to comfort my mom when she was upset. But I had no idea what my own needs were and couldn’t see a future for myself. My Sponsor would listen to all my woes and then ask me what I was going to do that day to take care of myself. I would come up with something like take a walk or watch a movie. The next day, she would ask how the walk or movie had been. I began to learn what my needs were, to take the focus off others and to place it on myself. And life started to improve.
By working through the Steps, I was able to quiet my anxiety and fear. I talked with my Sponsor, instead of trying to get comfort from people who weren’t capable of giving it. I learned how to mind my own business and to take care of myself every day. Today I continue to talk with my Sponsor, do written Step work and attend meetings. I take care of myself by eating and sleeping well, minding my own business and helping others in Al‑Anon. Those simple steps I took in my early recovery continue to be a source of comfort and growth for me. I am forever grateful to Al‑Anon for giving me a wonderful, useful life.
By Heleen B., Montana
The Forum, December 2017
My younger son called to share about the increasing anxiety he had been denying. It was an opportunity to let him know many adult children of alcoholics find these things to be addressed in meetings. He shared deeply and I understood he had been trapped in fear, anxiety, perfectionism, still trying to please us and prove to the world he had not been affected. Surprise! He never saw his father or grandfather take a drink and he really thought he had beat this! His obsessive college career of long distance running rolled over into his next education and professional goals… Read more »
Fear is one of the most common feelings we experience with alcoholism, especially when we grow up in that environment. It’s no wonder that FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) play a part in our lives. It’s like living near an active volcano, waiting for the eruption. As much as we have loved and love those who are addicted, there’s not much we can do for them. Their choices are not our choices. Although we know this to be true, we’re attached to them……We love them. For me, personally, I had to reexamine what it means to love. If I love… Read more »
I am working on my first inventory. I grew up in drugs and alcohol, married into it, and now my brother and daughter have these problems. I’ve always been one to control everything. But now I am broken. I am in control of nothing anymore.
I live with daily panic attacks. They are extreme and I rarely leave the house. I cannot drive anymore. My sponsor is wonderful. I just want all this fear to go away. I am trapped and I really don’t fully believe the inventory could work against this wall I am hitting.
Thank you for sharing this story. This really helps. I am new to Al Anon online meetings and I am finding the courage to attend a meeting in person. I also grew up in a household where I had to take the temperature of the room. My dad would be at various stages of drunkenness and my mom’s mood would depend on whether she felt like drinking “on a school night”. As their alcoholism progressed, everyday was a drinking day for both of them which is great for unruly teenagers like my sister and I. I felt scared and nervous… Read more »