I’m a grateful “double winner”

I came into Al-Anon shortly after I’d gotten sober in Alcoholics Anonymous, at my sponsor’s suggestion, and I’ve been active in both programs for nearly 30 years. I find that Al-Anon and AA complement each other in amazing ways. I couldn’t have started doing my Al-Anon work if I hadn’t gotten sober first, because my life–and my mind–were too chaotic for me to get honest. But for me sobering up was not enough to get me sane. My inner landscape was a mess, and it took a long time to set things right.

In AA I started to learn how to say “Yes”–to service, to making big changes in my life, to being willing to trust others. I started to let other people into my life in ways that I hadn’t before. But I didn’t have any idea where I ended and the next person began. I had no boundaries. I had no gauge for what was okay and what wasn’t. 

That’s why it was so important that Al-Anon started to teach me how to say “No”–to things that weren’t healthy for me, to behaviors that were unacceptable, to people I didn’t want in my life. And of course, in learning how to say “No” to those things, I was learning how to say “Yes” to countless more–to better boundaries, healthier relationships, higher self-esteem, and a connection to a higher power. 

Today both programs are an integral part of my life. I do service in both, have home groups in both, and sponsor in both. My “Al-Anon defects of character” will get me drunk if I’m not careful, and my “alcoholic thinking” will destroy my healthy relationships if I don’t stay on the ball. That’s why, after all this time, I’m still a grateful “double winner.”

by Heidi, Richmond CA

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