I was first introduced to Al-Anon when I was in my early 30s and my husband entered treatment. “Introduced” might not be the right word. The family counsellor at the treatment center gave me a One Day at a Time in Al-Anon (B-6) daily reader and told me in no uncertain terms that I needed Al-Anon.
I would have done anything to help my husband get well, so I went. I soon found out Al-Anon was not for getting my husband sober, but for finding myself. For the next ten years, I survived with the love, fellowship, and wisdom I found in the program. My husband had periods of sobriety followed by relapse and despair. I thought I was working a program, but actually, I was just showing up to meetings. I did use the slogans and followed basic Al-Anon guidance, but I was holding on by my fingertips until the next crisis came along.
What happened next changed my life and unlocked the door to true peace and serenity. Three things occurred within a week of each other. First, my husband found A.A. and started working a strong program. For the first time in our marriage, he seemed to be healthier than me, and I wanted what he had found in A.A. Second, I heard a great Al-Anon speaker talking about how working the Steps with a Sponsor, in addition to attending meetings, was key to her recovery. I did not have a Sponsor and had never worked the Steps outside the meetings. I wanted what she had found in Al-Anon.
The third thing that happened was that a woman I knew who was really suffering asked me to be her Al-Anon Sponsor and walk her through the Steps. I knew I wanted her to find relief, peace, and serenity through the program, but I did not know how to help her do something I had not done. So, with these three nudges from my Higher Power, I found a new group that worked the Steps with Sponsors. My Al-Anon program and my life began to change as the miracle of recovery unfolded for me through living the Steps and practicing the principles of Al-Anon outside my meetings.
My wish for anyone who hasn’t already done it is that you would ask someone to be your Sponsor and walk with you through the Twelve Steps of Al-Anon. And when you reach Step Twelve, I hope you will share this message with others by offering to be a Sponsor and walk with others through the Steps. That is what has made all the difference for me!
By Rachelle C., Minnesota
The Forum, March 2023
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.