Member Stories

Finding the right Al-Anon meeting

My husband had been working in Mississippi (or so I thought) while I was living and working in Florida. I knew that he was an alcoholic and suspected he had also become addicted to prescription pain killers. He called my work one day to say he had quit his job and was checking himself into a rehab program. I was stunned yet happy, and relieved.  Little did I know that was just the beginning.

Each time he called home, I learned of another unknown fact of his life. He hadn’t worked in months, had been involved with another woman, and there was a new credit card charged to the $20,000 limit. My world was closing in on me fast.

When I went to the rehab center for family day, my husband’s counselor encouraged me to find an Al-Anon group. And she added, “Make sure you find a group that you like.”

I procrastinated for the first few weeks that my husband was in treatment.  I was feeling very alone, ashamed, and overwhelmed. He was surrounded by counselors and support from other alcoholics. I kept thinking, “What about me?”

I finally took the plunge and found a meeting. I didn’t feel very welcomed, and the topic of the meeting was service. As each person shared how they had been volunteers, helpers, officers, it was difficult for me to relate. How can I be in service when my world is crumbling around me? 

I felt very discouraged. But, I remembered what the counselor had said about finding a meeting I liked. So, I tried another meeting. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with such care and love. I felt like they understood. I had found a meeting I liked.

I haven’t missed a meeting since that first one. There is a peace that comes over me during that hour of sharing. When I share my struggles—my husband is still drinking—the other members listen and I know they understand.

Last week, as I traveled to my meeting, I realized that the members of my group are virtual strangers to me. I only know their first names and only see them for one hour each week. And yet, I have shared some very intimate details of my life with them. I have grown to care about and love them.

By Maria B., Florida
The Forum
, March 2010

© Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. 2010. All Rights Reserved.


Suicidal—because my attempts to control failed

I came to Al-Anon as the 48-year-old adopted daughter and only child of a loving but alcoholic mother. She died when I was ten years old. I grew up with a loving but controlling father, whose alcoholism got worse as he got older and suffered dementia.

From the age of five on, with Mum drunk (or in rehab) and Dad at work, I took on the excessive responsibility for my own welfare, for Mum’s welfare, and for Dad’s serenity since I dared not upset him further.

As I grew up, I progressed from “people pleasing” into “black and white” thinking. I was self-righteous because I thought I knew best. I judged those who deviated from my tried-and-tested right and wrong rules. I tried to control everything and fix everyone’s problems, for their own well-being. I was God in my little part of the world—attempting to run the whole show.

I had always believed in God but He had big problems with the starving millions in Ethiopia, etc… He was way too busy for my daily problems. I was also familiar with the Serenity Prayer but I thought it was for weak people. It didn’t apply to me since there was nothing that I couldn’t change and I had plenty of courage to change everything.

I arrived at Al-Anon exhausted, depressed, and suicidal. My supposedly controlled environment was collapsing around me. I couldn’t control my husband’s unacceptable behavior; my young-adult children were rejecting my black and white rules; I couldn’t fix my aging father’s depression; and I failed to protect my eldest daughter from a hurtful marital relationship.

My first Al-Anon meeting introduced me to the word serenity. It was like water to a man dying of thirst in the desert—an urgent need. In just twelve months, Al-Anon allowed me to experience serenity; undertake a reality check of my life and my expectations; personally appreciate and apply the Serenity Prayer; develop a “Live and Let Live” attitude; and recognize that God is my spirit and my friend who is with me 24/7. Thank you, Al-Anon.

By S.T., Australia
The Forum, December 2010


© Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. 2010. All Rights Reserved.


Download Previous member stories

PDF   Conquering the spiritual disease of fear
PDF   Honesty begins with staying true to myself
PDF   Forgiving myself was the only path to serenity
PDF   Overcoming my inner emptiness
PDF   One Alateen conference changed my life
PDF   Celebrating anniversaries, making amends
PDF   I was ‘crazy’ in love - and couldn’t blame the drinker
PDF   I came to understand and accept my feelings
PDF   As an outsider, I couldn’t figure out Al-Anon members
PDF   Al-Anon - after everything else failed
PDF   At mid-life I found self-knowledge
PDF   How I’ve changed since my first meeting
PDF   From anger to serenity

Finding the right Al-Anon meeting

My husband had been working in Mississippi (or so I thought) while I was living and working in Florida...
... Read more
By P.A.M., Wyoming



Suicidal—because my attempts to control failed

I came to Al-Anon as the 48-year-old adopted daughter and only child of a loving but alcoholic mother...
... Read more

By Marsha C., Oklahoma