Anonymity and trust

In high school I was the classic overachiever, excelling in school and sports while also caring for my siblings when my mom was suffering from a disabling depression. A neighbor in recovery suggested that I try out Al-Anon, so I went, but only a few times.

I was sure Al-Anon wasn’t for me. Since neither of my parents was a problem drinker at that time, I didn’t think I qualified to be there. I didn’t trust I could be anonymous in my small town where most members were mothers of my friends, and quick to mother me too. How outrageous! Couldn’t they see I didn’t need parenting?

In college I was still trying to do it all and be everything to everyone. After coming out as gay in my junior year, I became a public target and struggled with the earthquake that erupted in my relationships with my family, friends and classmates.

Al-Anon was exactly what I needed, but was I safe sharing in a meeting on the same campus where I was being vilified? Phrases like “principles above personalities” sounded good, but were they true? Could I really trust promises of respect and anonymity? I was too scared to find out.

I discovered later that my father was raised by a codependent mother and an alcoholic father. This is a family disease, and I am “qualified” for Al-Anon. I am also my own qualifier struggling to accept myself regardless of what others think of me. I don’t have to be an overachiever for God to love me.

As a young adult I have found an Al-Anon community that embraces who I am, and my anonymity has never been broken. Regardless of whom we date or what brought us to Al-Anon, we can find love, respect and trust in our Al-Anon fellowship.

by C.M., Oakland CA

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