My first year of Al-Anon is kind of a blur. There are many memories that come to mind. The first is of crying. There were many meetings where I cried nearly all the way through. I guess I needed to grieve. I guess I had not been able to safely grieve in any other place. One time I called a lady that was on my Al-Anon phone list and I tried to tell her who I was. She identified me in her memory as “Oh yeah, you’re the one who cries through the whole meeting.” At the time I was very embarrassed about that. I can look back now and see that the tears of sorrow and pain from what I had been through and was still going through were the first layer that needed to be peeled away. I thank God that He provided that safe place for me.
I started hearing words that I did not know the meaning of such as detachment and boundaries and the slogans Let Go and Let God, One Day at a Time and many others. I started hearing the stories from real people of how they were changing their lives with God’s help. I realized that even though I was married to a very sick individual who refused to seek recovery for himself that I could still get better without him. I had been in complete darkness because I had given the alcoholic/addict in my life control of me but I started seeing a ray of light seeping in. That ray of light was called Hope.
The truth of the matter is that when I stepped through that Al-Anon door I had stepped into a place where God was very actively at work. This was an obscure place where people showed up who were not looking for Him but who were desperately in need of Him. I had never been introduced to Him in the way He introduced Himself to me through Al-Anon. This is one of the reasons that I am a defender of the 12 step programs when people who call themselves Christians start bashing them.
I had sealed the front door shut so tightly that God had to use something as unassuming as Al-Anon to show me that He really did want to meet me where I was and that He wanted to be my friend, not my tyrant. In Al-Anon God came in through the back door with me and utterly surprised me with the aspects of His personality that He introduced to me through the program. I was also able to do the things that made Christians uncomfortable like smoke, say curse words when describing a particularly bad situation. I was able to describe just exactly what went on in my home without worrying about someone judging. People were real there. I was not alone.
There was a time that I would say that Al-Anon saved my life but now I see that God saved my life through Al-Anon. There are parts of the program that have never worked for me. That’s ok. There are other parts of the program that are ingrained in me that I will never forget like the Serenity Prayer that is at the beginning of this post. Although I don’t go to meetings every week anymore I know the doors are open for me to attend at any time. It has been close to 20 years since I attended my first meeting and I still read something out of the Al-Anon literature almost every day.
The alcoholic/addict died a few months ago. He never sought any type of recovery. The alcohol and addictions are pretty much what killed him. I divorced him over 15 years ago but he was the father of my three youngest children. My children are all grown now with children of their own. Yes, at this time they have pretty much followed in the footsteps of their father’s sicknesses but they are still young. Life does go on. Recovery is also available to them whenever they decide they need it.
I have come to a place where I know that I can only change me. I am living in the “Light” now, thankfully. I am free.
Love and blessings to you,
Until we meet again,