When I entered the Al‑Anon rooms for the ﬁrst time, I was in deep despair. My adult daughter’s drinking was out of control. She was living with us, so her drinking affected my husband and I daily. I thought Al‑Anon would show me the path to cure her! I soon learned that is not the way Al‑Anon works. The program is designed to help me focus on my own recovery. I also learned that I didn’t cause the disease, I couldn’t control the disease, and I couldn’t cure my daughter’s disease. This knowledge was such a relief to me once I heard it, and then I accepted the truth and wisdom of these words in my mind and heart.
As I recovered, I also learned that there were other people in my past that had the disease of alcoholism, such as my ex-husband and my father. Both of these men affected my life profoundly, and both are no longer on earth. I learned that what I experienced living with them—walking on eggshells, people-pleasing, and keeping my head down to shield me from their verbal assaults—reverberated throughout all my present relationships. I had become invisible, and I had lost my voice and my path to living life fully.
By applying Al‑Anon’s Twelve Steps, working with a loving Sponsor, attending meetings, and reading Al‑Anon literature, I learned to live “One Day at a Time,” and to even ﬁnd peace and joy. I was able to get reacquainted with myself and discover the many assets and faults I possess. Finding out these things about myself gave me the courage to grow and change, laugh at myself, and reach out to other people who were hurting because of their loved one’s alcoholism.
I’m grateful to my loved ones, for their disease has led me to the path of Al‑Anon. I’m also thankful for that fateful, sleepless night that led me to ﬁnd an online Al‑Anon meeting in my community! When I began attending meetings, someone always encouraged me to “Keep Coming Back” and to attend at least six times before I made a decision to stay or leave. Although I don’t know where my daughter is with her recovery, I have learned to detach with love knowing that I am on the right path for myself.
By Wendee S., Washington
The Forum, March 2021
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm 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.