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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

New Tools
"I called...to complain about my recovering husband monopolizing his computer."
When I first came to Al-Anon, I heard it was a gentle program. I could "take what I liked and leave the rest." Three of my favorite tools were - regular attendance at meetings, raising my hand to share and calling people between meetings. I felt less inclined to read Al-Anon literature than to call an Al-Anon friend. The immediacy of a response, tailored to a particular problem I was experiencing, satisfied me more than reading about it did. Often I made four or five phone calls before I found someone home.
After sharing a concern with one Al-Anon friend, she often said, "Have you written about this yet? I've found that writing my feelings usually helps me come up with solutions that I wouldn't have thought of, otherwise."
I always thanked her and told her I'd think about it - but I hated to see my words in writing. They seemed so whiny and self-indulgent. I'd rather talk to somebody, feel better and then forget about it. Besides, writing reminded me of my Fourth Step, and I'd already done one.
Another friend suggested, "Maybe it would help you to read some Al-Anon literature and then pray to let go." Again, I said thanks for the suggestion, but I thought she was probably tired of hearing me complain and that was her reason for telling me to read. I knew reading Al-Anon literature meant taking responsibility for finding my own solutions, but using a new program tool would mean working new muscles. I was afraid I might ache afterwards.
A few months ago, our new district representative took the initiative to gather subscriptions to The Forum. She asked if anyone wanted to take advantage of a special offer to order on a group rate. Even though I had been in Al-Anon for nine years, I had never subscribed. Because I felt there was safety in numbers, this time I took the plunge.
Recently, I called an Al-Anon friend to complain about my recovering husband monopolizing his computer. It was getting to the point where I could only use it for one hour a day - if I got up very early in the morning. I explained that, as a result of my recovery, I now have some things I really want to say. One hour a day was not enough time to record all the stories and articles that were bursting out of my head. I'd been spoiled by working on the computer. I didn't want to write in long-hand or to go back to using a typewriter.
My friend suggested that I come up with plans B and C for doing my writing. She noticed that I was focusing more on the recovering alcoholic's work habits than on finding other ways to get my writing done. When I hung up the phone, still feeling frustrated, I picked up my issue of The Forum that had just arrived in the mail. As I read through the issue, I felt as satisfied as if I had dropped in on a great meeting. Resentment and tension drained away and serenity flowed back into my life. As I read, I had room to breathe again and I saw options.
One of the articles, "Closed Lips and Open Ears," described a woman who was using unfamiliar program tools because laryngitis had left her speechless. Normally, she would have talked to her sponsor on the phone, but she discovered the power of communicating in writing - then she wrote about her experience for The Forum. Inspired by her example, I picked up pen and paper and began to write this story. By the time I had finished, my good humor returned. I even joked about the frustrations I had been feeling.
Things do not always go the way I want them to go. When I Let Go and Let God speak to me through the sharings of Al-Anon members in meetings, on the phone and in Al-Anon literature, the understanding, love and peace of the program always grows in me.
Emily D. - New York
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.