Al‑Anon saved my life. I truly believe if I had not found this program, I would have died. Yet here I am, able to find happiness and joy, even though my life’s circumstances aren’t perfect. My program really came alive for me when I felt I had no choice but to kick my underage son out of the house. While it was one of the most painful things I had ever done, letting him stay in our home was even more painful. To help me get through the hard times, I would meditate on the following ideas.
It’s happening to him; it’s not happening to me. Oh, what a good empathizer I was. I would imagine my poor son—he must be so hungry and cold and lonely and sad and tired. I would become stricken with imagined grief, as if I were in his shoes. Yet, my son was out there living his life. In Al‑Anon, I learned how to live my life fully and not project my wild imagination onto what he might be going through.
“Helping” him is not helping him. When I gave handouts to my son, it just prolonged his disease. I really just wanted to make myself feel better, and while I might feel some temporary relief, I would eventually come to regret my offers of assistance. Also, each time I rescued him, it gave him the message that someone would always take care of him. I had to learn to say no every single time he asked for something.
What would he do if I were dead? When I felt obligated to help him, I would ponder this idea. It was a good way to remind me to detach with love. If I did choose to buy him a meal or pay for a haircut, I could take the time I needed to think and not react.
In Al‑Anon, I’ve found many tools that I can rely on to help me get through challenging times. If I think I want to give something to the alcoholic or help him in some way, I will seek my Higher Power’s wisdom before deciding. I can always do it tomorrow.
By Ellen S., Oregon
The Forum, May 2023
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