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Al-Anon and Alateen Family Groups in Santa Barbara

The Pain of Self-deception, the Joy of Self-discovery

The truth was in front of me one Saturday afternoon after years of living in the disease of alcoholism. Revealing my pain and fear was a simple way to admit my life was out of control. A friend's daughter was visiting and she told me about Al-Anon. Prior to that day, I had no idea what Al-Anon was or what it could offer me.

For years, I'd seen a church marquee that listed Al-Anon. I also knew where a meeting was held that very evening. Now I believe my Higher Power had been preparing me for that afternoon.

The Al-Anon members welcomed me with warm smiling faces. I discovered hope that evening. Not only did I see and hear hope, but the members showed me enough peace and serenity that I knew I wanted what they had. I also heard, "Mind my own business," which I began putting into practice.

Long ago, I'd replaced being honest about who I was with stories about what I wanted other people to believe about me. As I continued attending meetings, I found a home group where I felt comfortable enough to trust other people. The Al-Anon tables were where I began getting honest with myself and started taking off my mask.

Through taking those baby steps, I learned about feelings and admitted how the disease affected me. Soon the heavy burden began lifting from my shoulders and I, too, was looking at my life differently.

I truly believe that through working the Al-Anon Steps, having a supportive Sponsor, developing a closer relationship with my Higher Power, and getting involved in service, I was able to replace the mask with the real me. I've found happiness I never believed could exist.

Al-Anon is a program that has given me a life. I've discovered the real me - the one who is willing to take risks and dream again. I'm grateful for everyone who has offered the hand of unconditional love. Now I can give back what has been given to me.

By Nancy B., South Carolina
The Forum, February 2007

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