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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

The Best For Me
When I first came to Al-Anon, I knew I didn't have a problem. It was the alcoholic who had the problem. If the alcoholic would just listen to me, I would tell him what he needed to do. When I explained this to people in Al-Anon, they smiled and said, "Keep Coming Back." I thought I had too many things to do to keep going to meetings. Obviously, they didn't have the busy life that I had.
Well, I kept coming back--not really wanting to at first. Little by little I related to something somebody said. Of course, they never said it the way I would have said it. They were kind, courteous, and peaceful. I, who was loud, angry and resentful, didn't understand. Someone suggested that I get a sponsor, but I didn't think I needed one. I had lots of friends whose advice I followed through the drinking years, and none of it ever worked. Why call someone I barely knew to talk about my alcoholic, when they hadn't even met?
All of the people in Al-Anon seemed to have a secret. While not all were happy, they openly shared and gave hope and encouragement to one another. They talked like they had known each other for years. I thought, "What's the catch? All these people can't be this nice--they must want something." They wanted to hug and talk to me after a meeting. At first, as soon as the meeting was over, I'd run for the door. I didn't have anything to talk about. If they talked to me for very long, they'd find out that I wasn't a good conversationalist. When they talked about service work, I thought they meant the community-service work an alcoholic gets as part of his sentence for driving under the influence. I soon learned I was wrong about a lot of things.
Al-Anon was not a program for the alcoholic. It was a program for me. During the drinking years, I became ill--full of anger, resentment, and self-pity. I became controlling and unreasonable. Al-Anon helped me change by taking the focus off the alcoholic and putting it on myself. Today, after a little time in the program, my life has changed dramatically. The meetings that I thought I didn't have time for, I attend about five times a week. Although I still have a long way to go, I've gained self-confidence, understanding and a serenity that I didn't think was possible. I have a sponsor--someone "who has been there and done that." She is willing to share her experience, strength and hope with me. I don't feel like I've known her all my life, but I hope and pray I know her for the rest of my life.
The people that I thought wanted something from me, did. They wanted the best for me. That was the secret. Now I'm one of those hanging out after the meetings, hugging and talking. I've turned into a chatterbox. I found out that service work means giving back what I received. It's only as much as I want-things like answering the phone, manning a booth, chairing a meeting and coming to newcomers' meetings. All are things everyone can do. I've found the more I give, the more I get.
Anonymous - Florida
Alcoholism is a family disease. Those of us who live with, or have have lived with, this disease as children or adults sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help us to resolve. If you have answered yes to some of all of the above questions, Al-Anon may be of help to you. You can contact Al-Anon by checking your local telephone directory, or from the Resources page. Phone numbers and Contact Information for the Austin Area are listed on the Contact Page of this website.
These articles were reproduced with permission from 'The Forum', the monthly inspirational newsletter of Al-Anon. Al-Anon World Headquarters, Inc. is located in Virginia Beach, VA. See www.Al-Anon.org for more information.