Maurice W. Tells His Story
When I entered my first Al-Anon meeting, I was terrified, lost, and desperate, while at the same time hopeful.
I had been aware of AA meetings, but hadn´t heard of Al-Anon until the week before, when my marriage counselor suggested it to me. I was unhappy in my marriage and felt my wife´s drinking had been part of that. I hadn´t yet realized that my life had become unmanageable.
I had been struggling for years to improve my relationship with my wife. I didn´t know that there were others like me, that there was a support group for us, and that I was part of the problem.
When I walked into that first meeting, I saw unfamiliar, yet sympathetic faces. As I nervously settled into my chair, Anne began to read the opening statement and her calm manner and soft voice soothed my nerves.
When she asked if there were any newcomers, I shyly raised my hand, and was surprised that all she wanted to know was my first name. The resounding " Hellos" and "Welcomes" from the group were heartwarming.
The Steps seemed foreign to me as they were recited – with the exception of Step One. What a concept – acknowledging that I was powerless over alcohol, that my life had become unmanageable. I had felt powerless for years, and didn´t know that it was OK to feel that way. I thought I was supposed to have all the answers.
The meeting was a blur of people sharing. I couldn´t absorb what was being said. I was too focused on my own pain.
After the meeting ended, I was approached by several members who gave me a warm smile and a firm handshake. They let me know that I was exactly where I needed to be. They encouraged me to come back, without prying into my situation. It took several meetings for me to draw up the courage to share.
Nearly two years later, I still remember that first meeting and how the meeting chair and those who came up to me afterwards, eased me into my journey towards recovery.
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Hdqts., Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.