I started going to meetings out back in Chicago, Pat had been going to meetings there form some time, and when he called me, I could tell there was a difference. When I saw him, he looked different. He was in and out of the program for a few years before and. I never saw a change like this, those times it just wasn’t real. As a matter of fact, I have like radar now for people who aren’t serious, so watch out! Anyways, this time I knew he was ready and we ended up together. Now we have been together for thirty one years and we have been in the programs for thirty two and thirty one years each!
You know, when I first came in, people who had like ten years got my attention and I would say to myself “Holy Crap! Why are you here for a decade? What are you missing?” I used to think to myself, “Goodness is this how I am going to spend my New Year’s Eve, with six people in the basement of a church, what have you done to me now?” I thought “My life is over.” But I have to tell you, this was just crazy thinking, now I know it is such a blessing. Our time is filled with conventions and conferences; we go to barbecues and retreats that aren’t retreats too. Being in Al Anon is such a wonderful experience. The friends that I have today are amazing. If I am ever going through something they are the first ones at the front door with spaghetti and Kleenex, ready to see me through it.
Now on to my story, when I was a kid, I didn’t have any grandparents. My last grandparent died when I was three. My father was diagnosed with cancer when I was thirteen and died a year and a half later. So really, all there was was my mom growing up. To my three sisters and I, my mom was everything to us. She was our mom and she was also our dad. She was the sweetest nicest kindest most loving person I have ever met. For many decades I would I talk to her every Saturday, she would call me at like 7:00 o’clock or 6:00 o’clock in the morning because it’s later in Chicago than it is in California.
One Saturday she called me up she said, “I’ve got something to tell you. I’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer and they’re giving me six months to a year to live.” I was shocked, I ended the conversation pretty quickly and I was devastated. Here is some honesty, I was devastated for me. What am I going to do without my mom? Thanks to the program though, I was able to handle the situation and be there for her with maturity and grace. I was just an incredible experience. We would sit on the couch some days and not say anything at all, or she’d sit on the couch and tell me about my dad who I never knew as an adult. Thanks to Al-Anon, all of this was possible and something I absolutely treasure.
Odomtology’s note: The program of Al-Anon allows for one to fully engage in life on life’s terms. This is one of the many benefits of it. Situations that seem so difficult, so hard to handle, are given a new perspective and people realize that they can handle any situation gracefully. Furthermore, hearing others’ experiences with many different types of situations allows for the endless river of experience, strength, and hope to be utilized and applied to just about any situation.