I didn’t grow up in an alcoholic family. I grew up in an alcoholic world. Every grown‑up I knew drank too much—it was the norm. Of all the immediate family, my mother, a mean drunk, was the only one to admit to her sickness. As a result, she spent almost a year in an institution and became a “dry drunk.” Of course, Alcoholics Anonymous and Al‑Anon were foreign words in my family—after all, if we didn’t acknowledge the problem, we certainly didn’t need any help.

Five years ago, my sister was literally dying of alcoholism. To prepare for a visit to her, I dropped by an Al‑Anon meeting to get the magic cure. This, of course, was the wrong reason, but fortunately I kept coming back and found that I was the one who needed help. I had finally found a sanctuary in which to learn how to forgive and forget the demons instilled in me in my youth. I’m certainly not perfect yet, but the program is stronger than I am, and I can see the progress taking place in my soul. The best part of Al‑Anon is that it has no graduation. It’s a program about life—for life.

By Toby F., Rhode Island

The Forum, August 2020

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