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In my effort to carry the message I recently tried to console an old and very good friend's by suggesting she consider Al-Anon. Her mother was an alcoholic and I suspect that our strong friendship of 30 years may have included our recognising this in each other.

Keeping counsel with my own Higher Power and not wanting to advise, judge, or control, I simply told her of my experience giving her specific examples of how I got to al-anon and what it has done for me. Her main concern about going to  meetings included a fear of being exposed in her small town. She didn't want anyone to know that she was the child of an alcoholic. She said she didn't trust the participants to respect her privacy.

Rather than remind her that the Twelth Tradition is the spiritual foundation of the program, I suggested that she try a meeting in another city nearby where she may know fewer people, if in fact that was her resistence. She said she'd done a great deal of self-help work, that she was really beyond the simplicity of a twelve-step program.

I went out on a limb and said, "but your life is still unmanageable and as an ACA, you think it's all your fault and that you've failed". There was silence on the other end of the line. I am far enough along in my recovery where I'm able to let go of the outcome. Her Higher Power will lead her in the right direction.

Early in my program I tried to persuade my siblings to read literature and go to meetings. No one jumped on my wagon. They all said it wasn't for them; their experience was different; they wished me luck. Each time I walk over the threshold into another meeting room, I know that it's taking a step toward healing myself even though I cannot bring everyone I love along with me. Some days, taking that step and leaving others behind, is the hardest thing I have to do.


I used to think that the Al-Anon literature was too soft, too simple, written in sophomore English, as if I was above that. Now that I have been in the program for a while and I've read a good deal more, my opinion has changed. The literature is written to expose the disease, to explain what we are going through, and to support our journey by helping us understand how to "work the program". What is on the page is benign compared to what is going on inside of me when I'm reading it. That's enough to deal with as I heal my wounds.


Some personal shares bring up so much pain inside of me. I don't have words for it because it brings me back to a time when I didn't know the vocabulary to describe my fear and sadness. It's a pain in my gut that gets triggered when someone tells a story from their own experience that's familiar to me.



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