When I entered into the Al-Anon program I saw it as a rite of passage, leaving behind the broken person I had become. Initially, I was reluctant to admit that parts of me were damaged. They welcomed me anyway. My past had molded me into an angry vessel and hurricanes quickly formed where ever I landed, leaving a trail of wreckage in its wake. I had a laundry list of demons to confront and tame, criticizing was first on my agenda.
I’m not sure when or even why I dubbed myself an expert on the private lives of others. For some reason, I felt comfortable enough to express my disapproval of perceived mistakes to anyone that crossed my path. Although I do possess a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice, my process of analysis was already cemented into place long before I stepped one foot on the college campus. What’s interesting is that I honestly thought other people wanted my opinion, why else would they confide in me? Even worse than criticizing others, however, is doing it in a public forum. I regrettably did that also.
I came to learn a lot about myself via the Al-Anon program, which changed my life. I was self-centered and thought the world revolved around me. I didn’t realize my constant criticism created enemies and damaged relationships with those I loved.(I’m still not sure why it is that we hurt the ones we love the most). I was more than a handful for my Al-Anon sponsor, but she patiently and lovingly guided me through the process of becoming a better version of myself. Each time I hit a landmine and relapsed, she gently navigated me back on track, without one word of criticism.
Today I’m a totally different person. I will always be a work in progress but when I speak, I TRY to follow these principles, is it true, is it necessary, and is it kind.