Hands shaking, heart racing, stomach churning—it was all I could do to hit the “Join” button on my first online Al‑Anon meeting. It was almost more anxiety than I could take. I actually hung up three times before I stayed in the call and listened. I told myself, “You can just sit here and listen to others share. No one knows who you are. No one knows that you are even in this meeting. Just sit and listen.”

My sense of relief once that meeting was over was tremendous. “Phew! You did it! You attended a meeting. Now you can at least say you tried.” These are the things I told myself once I hung up. Amazingly, I found myself attending the same meeting the next day, and the day after that, until eventually, I was attending multiple meetings a day and even sharing in some.

The sense of belonging that I acquired by hearing others share, knowing I wasn’t alone, and knowing that others had gone through the same things I had, was such a sense of relief. The more I attended the meetings, the more relief I felt, and the more amazed I was that these meetings made such a difference. Who knew that Al‑Anon would have such a positive effect on my life?

As I attend more meetings, and now serve in those meetings, I find myself more and more often looking forward to my days, finding old hobbies that I used to enjoy, and feeling more fulfilled. There are days when I still struggle, but there are fewer of them than there used to be and on those days I can attend a meeting where I find myself in good company, surrounded by people who love me in a special way.

By Alison C., Nevada

The Forum, September 2020

Feel free to reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.