Before I came to Al‑Anon, I had wrapped myself up in so many layers of denial that to sit in a room and admit the truth to myself—let alone strangers—seemed crazy. Part of me wanted to cling to that denial, and part of me knew I couldn’t sustain the insanity of trying to control someone’s else’s behavior or my own life any longer.
In the beginning, I would think, how did I get to this point? Those first meetings were hard because I had to look at where I was square in the face, and I didn’t like it very much. Before coming to Al‑Anon, I felt completely ashamed about my behavior, and that made me feel alienated and isolated. In meetings, however, I felt I was accepted, and I belonged no matter what had happened in the past. I went to a lot of meetings in the beginning because I needed them to help keep me on track.
Where friends or family had let me down, the program tools were always there. They created a sense of constant support in my life that allowed me to entertain the possibility of actually feeling better. I have since learned that I don’t have to carry so much shame about what I had done. I don’t have to beat myself up for being in denial in the past. I could tackle moving forward “One Day at a Time,” and that meant I didn’t have to have all the answers. By focusing on the right steps in that one day, I learned I didn’t have to lug my denial and shame around anymore, which allowed me to start really living again.
By Kate L.
The Forum, May 2019
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters., Inc., Virginia Beach, VA