I'm going to Al-Anon every week and hoping to add a second meeting just to have another resource when I need it. Today's meeting was really great. There was a newcomer, so experienced folks geared their sharing toward how the program has helped them overall. The speaker described how much emotional pain she was in when she first came to an Al-Anon meeting 20 years ago, and she said, "We come for the relief, and we stay for the recovery." Later someone else said to the newcomer, "We come because of the pain; we stay for the miracle." Al-Anon is a miracle to me, so those words meant a lot.
There is a reading nick-named The Recovery that is read at the beginning of every meeting and it's one of my favorites. It holds a lot of hope for me. I know if you're not familiar with 12-step programs, it all sounds kind of wacky/cult-ish/Saturday Night Live skit-ish, but those that know, know.
In Al-Anon we find the tools that enable us to put the past to rest, to forgive, and go on to live meaningful adult lives. Al-Anon helps resolve feelings of anger, guilt, and denial. Through working the Al-Anon program, children of alcoholics begin to change attitudes and behaviors that no longer work into rewarding and productive ways of living. The new understanding they find, through sharing their experiences and hope with others, improves their current relationships. Every area of their lives is affected by the desire to better themselves.
In Al-Anon we learn individuals are not responsible for another person's disease or recovery from it. We let go of our obsession with another's behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a power great than ourselves.
In Al-Anon we learn not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people, not to allow ourselves to be used or abused in the interest of another's recovery, and not to do for others what they should do for themselves. The emphasis begins to be lifted from the alcoholic and placed where we do have some power - over our own lives.