What if there are people in the meeting that I know? What will they think of us? Will they judge my son? Will they judge me? What if they gossip about us around town? These were the questions that kept me from attending my first Al‑Anon meeting. For far too long, I suffered needlessly in silence.

I grew up with an alcoholic parent, and now my son was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. I talked to nobody outside of my immediate family about my son’s struggles, and I wanted to continue to keep our “secret.” My mother didn’t even know. I had completely isolated myself, and fear kept me from reaching out for help.

Thankfully, a dear friend’s gentle coaxing gave me the courage I needed to attend my first meeting. Walking through those doors was the best thing I could have done for myself. The help I found within that room saved my sanity. Listening to members share, I learned that there were others who had been where I had been and had not only survived but thrived! I was so relieved to find out that I wasn’t alone, that people weren’t going to judge me or my son, and that my anonymity would be protected.

I am so grateful I found the courage to go to that first meeting. Thanks to Al‑Anon, I have found that I can have hope, serenity, and even joy, whether my loved one is sober or not. What a priceless gift!

By Nikki K., Kansas

The Forum, November 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.