When I entered the rooms of Al‑Anon years ago I felt like a frightened little girl. I gathered the courage to walk into the rooms by first listening to Al‑Anon podcasts where people shared their experience, strength, and hope through working the program. It was in listening to others share about their lives and struggles living with the disease of alcoholism that I heard my story told repeatedly. I gained an understanding of how a meeting would feel and thought this program might help me. At the very least, it would give me some‑where to voice my hurts, resentments, anger, and deep confusion about where I found myself today. A spark of light, of promise, and hope was lit for me.
I will always remember how I felt sitting and listening to others sharing that first night. My mind was racing with millions of thoughts streaming through it and my heart felt so broken. In being able to share about my struggles, I felt a sense of lightness from my burdens. The members there offered affirming nods, which let me know that they understood—how comforting and encouraging that was! One of the constant things I shared in the early days of Al‑Anon was how confused I was about how this program was going to help me. People gently suggested that I “Keep Coming Back,” but I had no idea what that meant and initially found it very irritating. But I had not found the answers to my misery on my own, so I kept returning to meetings. I began to open my mind to a new way of thinking and behaving. I realized I had choices; they may not have been easy ones, but I had the freedom to choose.
I have gained many wonderful, supportive, and loving friends through my Al‑Anon program. When in doubt and when I’m hurting, I know they are just one call or email away. When the going gets tough, they are the ones who can feed my soul and bring joy and a bright spark of hope into my life.
The Forum, November 2019
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters., Inc., Virginia Beach, VA