I am alone … in a fog … afraid … not knowing where the ground is. I want to fly away but instead I am seating in a chair surrounded by others that are suffering but willing to tell their stories. In a moment of clarity, I realize this may be the first time I can be honest with myself as I take my first leap of faith.
I am at my first Al-Anon meeting. The one story that drew me in was a Mom in the throes of anguish. Her hand was touching mine as she reveals that her daughter’s world for the past two years was filled with drug and alcohol related arrests, rehabs, and the up and down turmoil that comes with knowing you have done everything you can to help and protect an out of control daughter. In less than a year, she would be part of the adult system and time was running out.
The past few months her family was filled with so much hope as they watched their daughter return from another rehab, another chance. She had returned to school and gotten a job. A few weeks later, she met a boy that led her down old paths. She abandoned her family and moved in with her boyfriend. The hardest part was not knowing, “Where is she.”
I was here because I know I needed help dealing with family issues. For the past few months, I have felt so overwhelmed with out of control thoughts trying to fix every problem that seem to consume me. My husband and daughter had health issues, my sister was an alcoholic and had just lost her job, and my stalwart Dad is showing signs of Alzheimer.
I was so lost and consumed with the drama in my life that I was unable to unburden myself. Finally, I took my first leap of faith! I shared with other Al-Anon members my story willing myself to make changes to help relieve the ever-mounting pressure and restore my sanity.
I committed myself to this amazing program. Al-Anon is NOT just a program for alcoholics. It is a place that family and friends gather to try and help a loved one with a disease. Here, despair can be replaced with hope and a hand to hold.
The Al-Anon program changed my way of thinking and consequently made a difference in my life. The Mom with an out of control daughter and I are friends. We realized we are not responsible for the actions of others. We hold our own destiny in our hands and by setting boundaries it allows us to heal and not be pulled into this dark place that robs us of our own life.
After several months of being in Al-Anon, my friend got a call from her daughter. She was in jail and wanted to be bailed out again.
In a calm voice, my friend said, “You know I love you, right?”
Her daughter responded, “Yes, now will you pick me up.”
The heartfelt response, “No, I will not bail you out this time,” and hung up.
Her daughter later told her Mom that it was such a defining moment. “I was in jail because of what I had done. I had to own up to my mistakes. By taking that leap of faith, my Mom saved my life.”
My daughter and husband still have health issues, my sister is a recovering alcoholic, and my Dad still remembers me. With Al-Anon’s help I see that each relationship is different. I have learned to love them as they are. By setting boundaries and with a leap of faith, I have learned to let go of what I cannot control looking for that beacon of light. In the process, I found that person I had lost – me.