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Al-Anon and Alateen Family Groups in Santa Barbara

How I've Changed Since My First Meeting

I recently celebrated my eighth anniversary in the Al-Anon program, and I'm a very grateful member. I look back at my first meeting and smile, knowing that my Higher Power played a part in getting me there and having me hear just what I needed to hear.

The room was very full of people. I was so sad and afraid. My best friend was with me; we sat in the back row, close to the corner. My head was down and my shoulders were slumped. I was barely able to say my name as everyone went around the room for introductions.

The topic was "Let Go and Let God." My friend and I were amazed. I remember feeling better that day, just being in the room. I kept coming back, wanting to feel even better. I read some Al-Anon literature and found all of my secrets exposed. These people knew everything I had done and loved me anyway.

They knew about my threats to leave the alcoholic, how I poured alcohol down the drain, and how I drank with him so there wouldn't be as much. They knew about my searches in the garage for hidden bottles. I realized that not only was I not alone, but that these strangers understood me and loved me. I kept attending week after week and started feeling much better.

My life has totally changed from that winter eight years ago. I am no longer afraid. I have the strength to take care of myself and my children.

I have faith that things will work out just the way they are supposed to. I will be forever grateful for a room full of strangers at that first meeting and to the Al-Anon program for giving me back my life.

By Diana B., Oregon
The Forum, February 2008

Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.