My Journey in Al-Anon Family Groups – Linda H

My Journey in Al-Anon Family Groups
by Linda H, Auckland

Twenty-three years ago I rang an Al-Anon Family Groups number in desperation, went to a meeting, bought an ODAT (daily reflection book) and for the next five years I tried to fix my alcoholic but all that happened was that we both got sicker.

Eighteen years ago, after encouragement from his friends my alcoholic went to AA and stopped drinking. I was delighted as I thought that would be the end of all our problems. However the alcoholic needed to attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) to keep himself sober and I felt left out, as I wanted to be the one who helped him. His sponsor’s wife rang me and suggested that I go to an Al-Anon Family Groups meeting and I was so desperate that I went to a meeting and have been going ever since.

Once I was safely ensconced in Al-Anon Family Groups, my Alcoholic threw in AA meetings, went back drinking and today continues to do so. We are still together after 42 years of marriage and I realise I can’t blame everything on alcohol. In a marriage there are differences because we are two individuals and male and female do think differently. Life isn’t perfect!

Letting go of the alcoholic has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. I realise that it doesn’t matter to me anymore, whether my alcoholic is drinking or not. I experience serenity today because I have changed my attitudes about my life. I no longer worry about the alcoholic as he has his own path to take in life.

If I don’t keep attending Al-Anon Family Groups meetings I can easily slip back into my old behaviour. Al-Anon Family Groups is a lifelong commitment for me. It really does work and I am so much happier than I used to be. I use the tools of the Al-Anon Family Groups program the Steps, Traditions and Concepts in everyday life, dealing with family and other people. Al-Anon Family Groups has brought me peace of mind, the freedom to be myself and to live my own life.

“I experience serenity today because I have changed my attitudes about my life. I no longer worry about the alcoholic as he has his own path to take in life.”

Al-Anon Family Groups Service has played a major role part in my recovery. In my home group Howick-Pakuranga Al-Anon Family Group I had several roles, Hostess, Chair, Alternate Group Representative and then Group Representative. From there I went on to do service at Area level, Alternate Area Delegate and then Delegate for Area Seven. In this role I attended the New Zealand Service Conference as a trusted servant for my Area. I have been enthused and inspired to do service by those who have gone before me, and I wish to do my part to keep Al-Anon Family Groups alive and well for others who are yet to come.

After a break from Service (while still attending my weekly meeting), I am now on the NZ Al-Anon General Service Board as Treasurer. Since June 2012 this has been another big learning curve for me. It is inspiring working alongside the other Board members to manage the affairs of the NZ Al-Anon General Services.

The Board is responsible for the legal and financial responsibilities and acts as a custodian of the traditions and guarantor of prudent management of the NZ Al-Anon General Service Office.

Al-Anon Service has helped me to grow in my understanding of Al-Anon Family Group principles. At Board level we continually refer to the Legacies and especially the Concepts, to make sure we follow them in all our dealings. The Traditions are referred to when dealing with others, and are a guide as to what to do (or not) in a situation.

I do follow the Steps and Traditions myself as I analyse my own behaviour – what went wrong, what I wouldn’t do again as I try to stick to the Al-Anon Family Groups program. In service, I have to be aware that people will not always agree with my opinion, but if we use principles above personalities to do what is best for Al-Anon Family Groups, things do work themselves out.

Al-Anon Family Groups has given me my confidence and self-esteem back. I really had to do service to progress in my recovery and to get better.

I know I will never graduate from Al-Anon Family Groups and the program does work if I work at it! I can see my Al-Anon road stretching ahead into the distance, (it does not have the many curves and unknown corners that it used to), but I need to keep on that road forever…

Thank You Al-Anon