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