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All are welcome to the weekly meetings on Wednesdays 7:30pm in the Lower Hall at Grace United Church.

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Some Thoughts on “Helping” 

(“I would become stricken with imagined grief, as if I were in his shoes.”)

From The Forum (May 2023), by Ellen S., Oregon


Al Anon saved my life.  I truly believe if I had not found this program, I would have died.  Yet here I am, able to find happiness and joy, even though my life’s circumstances aren’t perfect.

My program really came alive for me when I felt I had no choice but to kick my underage son out of the house.  While it was one of the most painful things I had ever done, letting him stay in our home was even more painful. 

To help me get through the hard times, I would meditate on the following ideas: 

  • It’s happening to him - it’s not happening to me
  • Oh, what a good empathizer I was, imagining my poor son hungry, cold, lonely, sad, and tired.  Yet he was living his life.  Al Anon, showed how to live my life fully and not project my imaginings onto what he might be going through. 
  • “Helping” him is not helping him.  Handouts just prolonged his disease.  I wanted to make myself feel better, and the temporary relief would eventually become regret 
  • Each time I rescued him, it gave the message that someone would always take care of him.  I learned to say no every single time he asked for something.
  • What would he do if I were dead?  When I felt obligated to help him, I would be reminded to detach with love.
  • If I did choose to buy him a meal or pay for a haircut, I could take the time I needed to think and not react. 

In Al Anon, I’ve found many tools that I can rely on to help me get through challenging times.  If I think I want to give something to the alcoholic or help him in some way, I will seek my Higher Power’s wisdom before deciding.  I can always do it tomorrow.