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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

Who Me, Powerless?
One weekend in early 1990 my husband came home from a business trip and declared "I don't want to be married to you anymore." Period. End of discussion. I was devastated and for a time focused solely on how I might get him to stay. I felt as powerless as I had ever felt. I had enough program to know I couldn't fix things with him, make him change his mind; I needed to let go. I was so grateful for Al-Anon. I wrestled with the powerlessness, taking small steps with one aspect of separation at a time. Sometimes I could let go willingly and gracefully; other times I had to be pulled off kicking and screaming. I wrestled and struggled and held on... until I was ready to let go of that particular piece.
With the help of Al-Anon, I survived the separation, settlement negotiations and divorce. It was very painful and never easy but Al-Anon had given me the gift of hope - I knew that I would be OK, no matter what. Throughout this tortuous time, I renewed my commitment to my recovery. This shattered relationship was still the healthiest one I had ever had (a very scary thought!). I wanted to fix ME so I would never be in this kind of pain again.
As is written in our book From Survival To Recovery, page 269, "If we willingly surrender ourselves to the spiritual discipline of the Twelve Steps, our lives will be transformed." This has come true for me from day one in the program. When I surrender myself to this program, miracles beyond my wildest dreams come true.
Coping with an earlier breakup in recovery (from the man whose drinking brought me to Al-Anon) led to astonishing results. Within a year I had purchased my first home; six months later I left a very unfulfilling job for one in a related industry that started me on the road to knowing myself professionally. During this time I became a trusted servant in Al-Anon, boosting my recovery with new friends and new confidence.
After my divorce, I felt like a phoenix rising from the ashes as my assembly entrusted me with an area position! Two years later, I had the courage to leave a job that had become stagnant for a new challenge. Though the new job turned out not to be what I had hoped, my growth was in having the "courage to change." Within two years after that, I was offered a job at the World Service Office in New York. Eventually I was given the opportunity to come to Virginia, and later to work with our publications - truly my "dream job!"
And the sale of that "starter home" purchased so many years ago will enable me to buy my "dream home" in Virginia Beach!
Soon after the separation from my husband, when I was in deepest despair, my sponsor suggested that I make a "gratitude list." I did not want to do this. When I grudgingly did it, was that list short! But each day after that I would think of something else to add to the list. That taught me to always stay in touch with the positives in my life, no matter how black things look or how powerless I feel. I have so many blessings in my life and am always grateful to Al-Anon. This doesn't mean I don't struggle. As we go to press, I am dealing with the THIRD buyer of my house and the FIFTH rescheduling of closing dates on both houses. It has been difficult to let go and let God (and the Realtors and Bankers) be in control. I still do not like being powerless. But the tools of the program are always there when I choose to use them. This program has transformed my life. And for that I will be ever grateful.
Mary Lou M. - Virginia Beach
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.