An Online Al-Anon Email Meeting
I was a very confused individual when I entered these rooms. I had been relying on my own judgement and reason for far too long. It really is the only time in my life that I recognised that I couldn't do it alone anymore.
I had felt numb for quite some time before and had this panicky feeling inside that I was going mad. I had spent a lot of time trying to work out how I could possibly change my husband and situation and then I'd run out of steam. I guess by the time I fell in the door that I was well and truly at my rock bottom and was willing to try anything.
I came to realise, by listening to others, that there were no "shoulds or musts" in Al-Anon. That I was free to go to as many meetings as I liked, that I could take from the meetings what I liked and nobody was going to "beat me around the head" if I didn't follow every suggestion.
It was also pointed out to me that I could do it in my own time, at my own pace. I have mentioned before that I wasn't keen on God when I came in, but I came to realise that I didn't have to - I was very much free to follow my own beliefs/non beliefs.
This was a new experience for me. Somewhere to go where nothing was expected of me. Members greeted me just as I was, gave me encouragement, didn't put me down if I felt I'd fallen short of being the "perfect human being".
They shared what had worked for them and it was up to me whether I used their suggestion or not. Gradually I started feeling better about myself, my life started to become more manageable in little ways.
Although I needed to put this programme into practise myself in my own life, I was never alone again - I always had this wonderful membership of Al-Anon to fall back on - it was like having the family I'd always dreamed of having.
If I had to face something where I needed extra courage (which happened a lot in the first few years) I'd mentally take my home group along with me. I'd imagine all of them and the looks of encouragment on their faces.
I remembered their own acts of courage, and it gave me strength to face my own hurdles. So even when I had to do something physically alone, I didn't often feel alone anymore (unless I chose to). I mentally took them all with me.
I do the same thing now. I mentally take you all with me when I have to do something scary. I reckon with hundreds of you with me I can't go wrong.
Gradually as the years went on and I started practising the eleventh step, I became aware of someone/something else beside me all the time, guiding my journey. It's still amazing to me that I came into this programme to find the answer to getting my husband sober, and found so much more.
To me Step 2 is all about my being willing to let go, gradually one day at a time, that I don't have all the answers. That I can't live life as an island, that I need others input in my life.
When I'm not feeling strong others are there to help me and maybe at other times I can do the same for them. If I try to do it alone, then I get into problems - those committees in my head come back, I get confused and the insanity returns.
Rosemary in OZ