Hyde Park Al-Anon Family Group’s 50th Anniversary Reminiscences of some members

Joe: After my first meeting, in October 1982, Rose said to me: “Joe, your wife has been getting better in AA for 7 years, and you have been getting sicker. Welcome and keep coming back.” Thank you, Rose, thank you Al-Anon. I’ll keep coming back.

Kay: Hello, my name is Kay, and I am gratefully recovering in Al-Anon! I came to Al-Anon 11 years ago, broken, I thought beyond repair. My despair was great; I was numb. I know today that I will always be an adult child of an alcoholic, but Al-Anon teaches me how to live in today! I have found peace and serenity, a family that loves me in spite of myself! I learned how to be honest for the first time in my life in Al-Anon, because I no longer had to hide who I was. I found my voice!

Jane.: I walked into my first Al-Anon meeting 7 years ago. It was the night before Thanksgiving so there were only three other people. All I could do was cry, which I think I did at every meeting for the first year. From that very first night, I have found the caring, acceptance, wisdom, and courage to face what life has thrown at me. Our group is amazingly diverse: rich, poor, black, white, Latino, Asian, religious, atheist. At times the room is crowded, other times not. We share acceptance of each other as needing support to deal with the devastating disease of alcoholism. I believe our consistency and longevity has to do with this single focus.

Cheryl.: I attended my first Al-Anon meeting on Feb. 16, 2005, because my spouse had decided that Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time to break the news to me that he was addicted to drugs (and it turned out later, alcohol). While I’d known something was seriously wrong in our lives, I hadn’t seen that. At Al-Anon, I burst into tears and cried my way through the meeting. People still tease me that my first meeting was different from most newcomers’, who often sit quietly.

I love this group because it is a safe place to open my heart, just as I did at my first meeting. Even though we’re in a transient university community, quite a few people remember my first meeting and have helped me every step of my journey. My spouse and I are no longer together, but thanks to Al-Anon, I have been able to work through my anger and fear to a place of forgiveness. He isn’t in recovery, but we are successfully co-parenting. My life is good. My children are well; one attends our Al-Ateen group. Surrounded by friends, I have reopened the door to a spiritual life, a door I had thought closed for good. Ten years ago, I couldn’t have imagined any of that would be possible, and without Al-Anon, I don’t think it would have been.

Mary.: I came to the Hyde Park group in dire need. I had not found a compatible group since having returned to the Chicago area several years before. What I found in HP was a group that closely followed procedure. While being very open to all kinds of people, the group adheres to Al-Anon principles and guidelines in a way that allows newcomers and long timers to feel secure and to make progress. The Al-Anon spirit is strong at the Wednesday night HP Al-Anon group!

NIAFG Area Chairperson
Illinois North, Panel 55

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