I was in the middle of “dealing” with another one of the seemingly endless string of crises involving my son’s alcoholism, addictions, and just plain poor decision-making, when someone I knew pulled me aside for a few words. He had witnessed my futile attempts at controlling the situation. He said, “I feel that I really need to tell you something. I have been sober for over 12 years, and neither of my parents lived to see my sobriety.” In the midst of all the chaos and drama, that simple sharing has stuck with me to this day.
I had not yet found Al‑Anon at that time, but that was an “aha” moment for me. For the past six years, I had been trying to save my son from himself. I had effectively put my life on hold, seemingly beating my head against a brick wall, while trying to control his addictions and self-destructive behaviors. I felt like I had been “holding my breath” for years.
That night, I came to the stark realization that if I was going to wait until my son got his life together before I allowed myself to have a life, there was a distinct possibility that I would never have a life. I deserved a life just as much as anyone else did.
When I did finally make it to Al‑Anon, the first idea that caught my attention was that I was powerless over the actions of any other person. I had absolutely no control. The healthy course of action for me was to take the focus off my alcoholic and put it on me.
I have now been in Al‑Anon for over six years. In the beginning, I found myself drawn to people in the meetings who had things that I wanted—sanity, peace, and serenity. I soon realized that what these people seemed to have in common was working the Steps with a Sponsor and being involved in service work.
So, I got a Sponsor and worked the Steps. I also began doing service work, which has become an invaluable tool in my personal recovery. The spiritual awakenings I have received from this program of recovery have been far greater than anything I could have ever imagined. And to think, I just came here to find out how to fix my son!
My son is still writing his story. Not much has changed in his life since that eventful night. Thanks to Al‑Anon, I now know there is a program of recovery available to my son that could and would offer him the same spiritual gifts I have received from Al‑Anon, if he so chooses.
One of the special gifts the Al‑Anon program has given me is the ability to accept and love my son just as he is. The same way that I have come to realize that my Higher Power accepts and loves me just as I am.
By G. W., Louisiana
The Forum, March 2016
Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.