After an Al-Anon meeting one night, I stood outside the church in the freezing rain. Cars drove away, and people waved to each other with promises to meet next week. Once again, I felt deep despair because no one in the meeting was able to give me the answers I needed. I wanted a recipe for ensuring the sobriety of the alcoholic. I hoped for a prescription to put my shattered family back together and to enjoy a good night’s sleep without worrying about the next bounced check or overdue bill. Instead, a woman grasped my hands before I left, looked into my tear‑filled eyes and said, “Just ‘Keep Coming Back.’” Is she kidding? Why would I come back here? I thought as I drove home that night. I resolved not to go back.
But I did go back. I went back because of the urging of a friend who had been in these meetings for many years. And I went back because the literature I began reading told me that alcoholism is a disease and that there was nothing I could do to get my loved one sober. As I studied the Steps, worked with a Sponsor and continued to attend meetings, I learned that I could live life with hope and serenity with or without the sobriety of another.
That was over 30 years ago. I have learned a great deal about the disease of alcoholism, how to live with the alcoholics in my family and how to care for myself in order to live a fuller life. One of the things I do for my self‑care is to regularly attend meetings. And I try not to miss an opportunity to welcome newcomers. I grab their hands, look into their tear‑filled eyes and say, “Just ‘Keep Coming Back.’”
By Laura P., Colorado
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
My feelings of “lack” all connected to events that occurred in my childhood alcoholic home. The fighting, drunkenness and disorder all confirmed to me that there was not enough love, peace, sanity, money or even the basic needs to lead a successful life. There were fleeting moments when I got a glimpse of a broader, more abundant world, but I would quickly retreat back into what seemed like a normal and safe view. I thought there would never be enough of anything for me, and that I was some kind of a mistake.
Through practicing Al-Anon principles, I have learned that I am not a mistake and that my life is exactly what it is supposed to be. None of the events of my childhood or adult life in alcoholic relationships were sent as punishment, but as a path to enlightenment. I’ve learned that a “good” life can be a wasted life and that difficulties can lead me to a place of abundance. Unconditional love is available to me when I open my heart and give from a place of abundance. Today abundance begins deep inside me and spreads from there to affect all of the external relationships and circumstances in my life.
By Bette R., Oregon
The Forum, June 2017
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Hdqts., Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.