Self-Care Replaced Fear and Anxiety

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

2018-02-02T14:55:55+00:00December 4, 2017|Categories: Alcoholic Parent, The Forum|

One Comment

  1. Denise August 2018 at 10:50 pm

    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 most of the time and was always ready for the fireworks and drunken misunderstandings.
    Learning to take care of myself never occurred to me until my therapist gave me permission to do so.
    My mother died when I was 25 so I had to take care of myself and my children. Learning healthy habits and letting my dad live his life is the greatest gift I can give myself, my dad and my children.
    While I am concerned about my son’s drinking, I will continue to grow, voice my concerns and let them live their lives. I have always been honest about drugs and alcohol with my children. I pray they make the best choices for them.

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