When someone first suggested I come to an Al-Anon meeting, I immediately rejected the idea. How could it help me, the child of an alcoholic? I thought all Al-Anon members were married to an alcoholic.
At the time, I was 20 years old. I didn't think I would fit in with most of the members who were all older. Surely I wouldn't be able to relate, much less benefit, from going to these meetings.
Though I was reluctant to go, I tried my first meeting. As members shared, it was comforting how similar everyone's thoughts and feelings were to mine. They were speaking what I had held inside for so many years.
They expressed feelings of guilt, the need to control and have everything perfect, yet somehow they seemed happy and content with their lives. I wanted what they had - and was told that I would, if I kept coming back. I felt so much at home and knew this is where I was meant to be.
I started to cry when I heard the traditional Al-Anon Closing, "Whatever your problems, there are those among us who have had them, too..." This "showed me there was hope!
That was five years ago and I still "Keep Coming Back." It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I'm learning how to deal with the effects of alcoholism because everyone in the meetings shares the tools to get better. I'm learning to have a warmth toward others that I never thought was possible. I have acquired a love and acceptance for the alcoholic in my life.
By Katie T, Michigan
The Forum, November 2007
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.