Cultivating the cult

Cultivating the cult

Some people say programs like AA and Al-Anon are a cult.  If that’s so, may there be more cultists among us!

Often in Al-Anon meetings – and AA too – you will hear someone say, “the program saved my life.”  It is not an exaggeration.

Shame, anxiety, fear, and depression overwhelmed me when Jacob was actively abusing drugs and alcohol.  At moments I felt as though my own life was being destroyed by addiction.

Not until I entered that small church conference room nearly 13 years ago and sat with a group of men and women who understood my suffering did my healing begin.

For newcomers to Al-Anon and similar support groups, there’s so much that is new.

There are readings, slogans, and steps. There is even a framework for every meeting.

After attending meetings in many states and even a foreign country, here is some of what I have learned so far:

  • Try as you might (and I did), there is nothing you can do to get your loved one to stop abusing drugs or alcohol. You are powerless over his or her addiction.  But you can make it worse.
  • You cannot depend upon another’s happiness for your own.
  • Your loved one who suffers from addiction is independent of you. He must find his own way through addiction – and through life.
  • Focus on today. Yesterday is gone.  And no one knows how tomorrow will go.
  • It is okay to say “no.”
  • Though it seems so counterintuitive to everything a parent learns, it is permissible – and even encouraged – to take care of yourself.
  • If one person in the family gets healthy while living through another’s addiction, it can help the whole family to heal.

Today I am grateful for every day of my son’s 11+ years of recovery.

And I am grateful for programs like Al-Anon that help my own.

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