The illusion of control made me feel powerful in a world where I had frequently felt powerless and resentful towards the people, places, and things in my life while growing up. In adulthood, I micromanaged the lives of those closest to me so I could focus on their missteps, rather than on my own character defects and my unhealthy relationship with control.

My people-pleasing ways brought me to Al‑Anon. I took the suggestion to try several meetings before I settled on one—it was crowded with individuals who had the serenity and recovery I so desperately desired. As I began to accept the fact that I have no control over anyone, and lovingly handed my closest family and friends over to the care of their respective Higher Powers, I was amazed at how much time I had to develop my own interests and hobbies. I also began to sleep better at night, because I no longer had to worry about how I was going to solve everyone’s problems.

Before Al‑Anon, I struggled to not feel responsible for the actions of the alcoholic and others. For the most part, letting go of the illusion of control has also led me to feel significantly less responsible for the actions of others. Without my attempts to force solutions, my loved ones feel less resentful toward me, and I’ve been amazed at the lives my stepsons have created for themselves—without my meddling!

Recently, I purchased an automatic vacuum that uses Wi-Fi signals to clean each room in my house. The vacuum signaled it had reached the end of the cycle and would return to its docking station. I watched as it meandered in the general direction of the docking station. The haphazard nature of the path caused a family member to stand on the edge of this path, forcing the vacuum onto an alternate path. I chuckled to myself knowing that I’d behaved similarly with the lives of my loved ones. Much like the Wi-Fi for my vacuum, the Higher Power of my loved ones had been guiding them on the path they were destined to take, without needing my interference!

By Natalie S., California

 The Forum, May 2021

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