I met someone new recently. It was a completely unexpected event. As I spent time with this person, my heart was touched in a way that it hadn’t been in quite some time. A cascade of feelings came up afterwards, and I was a little unsettled for a while. I continued to work Steps One through Three and Ten through Eleven, every day, as I walked through all the feelings.
One thing I came to see is that meeting this new person and having my heart open up brought up other times in my life when I opened my heart for someone, but that someone was just not available to me.
When I was a young girl growing up in alcoholism, my father was the first person who was unavailable to me. He remained unavailable until he got into Alcoholics Anonymous and tried to reach out to me when I was in my 30s. By then, my heart had been hurt so badly that I was not able to let him back into my life. That was before I found my way to Al-Anon.
My mom was also not available. She was very focused on my father in the way that we all focus on the alcoholic when they are suffering in their disease. Unfortunately, the family I was born into has been deeply impacted by alcoholism. Although my father has long since passed away from the disease, my mother, brother, and I have not yet found our way back to each other.
I know that I have also had my heart open in romantic relationships where the other person was not available. I also know that before I found my way to Al-Anon, I was not available either.
I am available today, though. My heart is open, thanks to Al-Anon. Meeting this new person has helped me to see that I have some grieving to do for the times I gave my heart to someone who was not in a position to receive it. I am grateful for Al-Anon’s book, Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses (B-29), which I can refer to as I work through my grief.
The gift of this experience is that my Higher Power is giving me an opportunity to see some of my past patterns in relationships more clearly, and to do another layer of healing. It feels good, today, to have the capacity to be in relationships with people who are available to be with me. I am very grateful to the Al-Anon fellowship for these gifts.
The Forum, July 2016
Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.