When I attended my first Al-Anon meeting, I was tired and full of despair. The last 18 years of living in the active disease of alcoholism had taken its toll. I didn’t know what to expect from the meeting, but I was willing to listen. During that meeting, I heard Al-Anon members share some basic information: Go to meetings, read Al-Anon literature, get a Sponsor, use your Sponsor, work the Steps, pray and meditate daily, get involved in service and “Keep Coming Back.” None of it really made any sense, but I decided to go back to the next meeting. That was 24 years ago. What I discovered over time was that those simple suggestions changed my life. By going to meetings and listening to others share their experience, strength and hope, I learned that I was neither alone nor unique. Others had experienced the same or similar circumstances. Reading Al-Anon literature gave me an understanding of the disease of alcoholism and how it had affected me. Developing a relationship with a Sponsor helped me to openly share my deepest, darkest secrets. As I worked the Steps, I eventually understood how my behaviors, attitudes and perceptions affected my life in unhealthy ways. I realized that I could change by developing a relationship with a God of my understanding. Through daily prayer and meditation, letting go of my self-will became easier. Eventually, I got involved in service. I came to appreciate the broad influence of Al-Anon throughout the world and the importance of following the Al-Anon principles.
By Sheri S., Kansas
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters., Inc., Virginia Beach, VA