There were two things that I received pretty early on from the Al‑Anon program. First, I was told that I didn’t need to continue to tell my relatives and friends all of the hardship I was experiencing from living with a problem drinker—that I now had my group to talk with about those things. This was important because my family and friends didn’t know any more than I did about what to do.

I later came to understand that they, too, were upset and frustrated in not knowing how to help. Once I shifted my sharing to my group, my relationships began to improve. I also began to notice that I had created for myself places that I could go for a while that were pleasant and where I had a break from thinking about the alcoholic and whatever effects of alcoholism I was experiencing.

The second thing I received soon after coming to Al‑Anon was an understanding of genuine friendship. I cherish the safe feeling I have with those with whom I share my experience, strength, and hope, knowing there is no gossip or criticism among us. I am so thankful that I raised my daughter with the tools of the Al‑Anon program. Because of that she was able to grow up loving her father and knowing that he loved her.

By Renee S., Pennsylvania

The Forum, October 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.