The biggest change since coming to Al‑Anon: I don’t always have to be in charge…

A common misconception of the Al‑Anon program is that it is a religious program. To the contrary, it’s a spiritual program with the sole purpose of helping the friends and families of alcoholics. Our groups welcome people of all faiths and of none. In meetings, members avoid discussions of specific religious doctrine, and keep the focus on what everyone in the room has in common – a loved one with a drinking problem.

In this on‑camera interview, Heather, an anonymous Al‑Anon member, shares about her doubt and inability to identify with the “Higher Power” idea when she first began in the program.

To find out how members have handled this aspect of the program as well as many others reading their stories


This interview was recorded at the 2018 Al‑Anon International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Members were asked to share about various aspects of the Al‑Anon program and their personal experience.

Members’ anonymity is protected so that they can share openly and honestly about their experience with a loved one’s drinking and with the Al‑Anon program.

The opinions expressed in this video were strictly those of the person who gave them.

Video Transcript

The biggest change since coming to Al‑Anon:
I don’t always have to be in charge…

INTERVIEWER: What would you say the biggest change that happened in your life since you started attending Al‑Anon?

HEATHER: Wow. Well, for me, but before I came into the program, I really didn’t have a connection with a Higher Power or God. And one of the things that I heard when I first came into the program was take what you like and leave the rest. And that was so wonderful. I was reading through the daily readers and some other sources of literature. Sometimes there would be a reference to God or a Higher Power. And I wasn’t ready to go there, but I felt like I was able to take what I liked and leave that aside. And I came to realize that this spiritual program allows me to define my Higher Power in whatever way suits me. I just I just needed to recognize that I wasn’t it.

And so, recognizing that there was something greater than me was such a gift and, like, such a load off my shoulders because I didn’t have to be in charge. And I remember talking with someone about turning over my life and my will to this power greater than me. And I thought, well, how could I ever do that? Because you know, I know me. And you know whatever this is out here, that that doesn’t know me. And it took a long time for me to get to a place where I was accepting that I was not the Higher Power and that I could sort of relax and give it up. And I find that I ask for my Higher Power’s will for me. And when I stop and pause and ask for that, I make a choice to have a different type of response instead of a reaction. And so that has allowed me to have better relationships because I’m not always reacting.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. That’s great. Thank you.