Al-Anon is my life-saver. I couldn’t solve the issues with my son, which were destroying me completely.
He was a teenager with so much going for him, however, his behaviour was incomprehensible. He dropped out of school. He threatened suicide. I couldn’t understand why and tried everything possible to fix the situation but things just kept getting worse.
In desperation, after a series of events had brought me to my rock-bottom, I was told that I needed Al-Anon. I had never heard of it but was willing to try.
Initially I was amazed how honestly members shared about their experiences and for the first time I felt a glimmer of hope as I had believed that I was to blame for my son’s problems. It was such a relief for me to learn that I hadn’t caused my son’s alcoholism, I couldn’t cure it and I couldn’t control it. I wasn’t alone anymore. I had found people who understood what I was going through and offered me the emotional support that I had been searching for. I heard laughter at the meetings. There hadn’t been laughter or joy in my life for many years. I learned to put the focus on myself as I am the only one that I have any control over.
After a short time in Al-Anon my son was involved in a serious car accident and was trapped in his car. The jaws-of-life were used to cut him free. He got out with only a small scratch on his chin. I certainly wasn’t the one who had saved him. I had spent years protecting him and trying to save him only to find out that my behaviour had in fact been enabling him to continue acting irresponsibly. I had been treating him as if he were still a little child and had denied him the opportunity of taking responsibility for his own actions and behaviour and to mature.
Initially, I found it very difficult to step back out of his life as I was consumed with worry, guilt and anxiety. Since handing my son over to his own Higher Power, my life has improved. I don’t get involved or pry into his life. I am now free to enjoy the interactions that we have together.
Thank you to Al-Anon for a new and simpler way of dealing with life on life’s terms, not mine.
[Excerpt from Families Facing Alcoholism: there is hope, PI Booklet published in Australia, 2013]