From as far back as I can remember, I lived with constant anxiety. As a person affected by the family disease of alcoholism, I worried about everything and lived in a constant state of fear. I chewed my fingernails. I had eczema. I had a bleeding stomach ulcer by the time I was in second grade. When I was 15 years old, I finally had a complete breakdown and ended up in a mental hospital for two months.
My life went out of control and eventually crashed. Through my therapist, I was led to Al‑Anon. When I walked into my first meeting, I knew that I was “home” with other people who understood and accepted me. I remember many times when members told me, “We will love you until you learn to love yourself.” I felt cradled in their love.
As I worked the Steps with a Sponsor, little by little I found my life beginning to turn around. I vividly remember the day I first felt serenity. I was standing in my living room all by myself, and a feeling of peace washed over me. Surprised, I said to myself, “This must be serenity!” I had never felt it before in my life. My very next thought was, “Now how do I keep this?!”
The feeling of serenity was all kinds of delicious! Like a beautiful sunset, the best dessert, a symphony, and the beach all rolled into one. Since that day, I have continued my journey in Al‑Anon and discovered that, in fact, I can continue to live every single day in serenity. It feels as if I have awakened from a long, dark confinement in a prison of fear and anxiety and emerged into a bright day of joy and light. Some days I am so happy and joyful, I feel like I could just pop!
I am so grateful for Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions, and Concepts of Service, and for being part of the loving, compassionate, and wise family of Al‑Anon members. Through this journey, I have come to build my life on a whole new foundation of peace and serenity.
By Amy T., North Carolina
The Forum, May 2022
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.