Al-Anon is a support/discussion group of peers with loved ones who self medicate to battle recurring demons in their lives. It’s also a program that saved my life, and improved damaged relationships with those I invested in, but simply couldn’t relate too. After getting over my initial shock that I was the problem and there really was no magic to get anyone else to do what I wanted, I opened my mind. The Al-Anon is required to attend at least one AA meeting per week (2 Al-Anon per week since we’ve got issues!), and walking through the 12 Steps with a Sponsor is suggested. During the AA meetings I was educated on the lives/choices of the addicts, by the addicts themselves. It was the first time I felt even a shred of empathy, and the new perspective gained was well worth my time. In the Al-Anon meetings I was educated on how the result of their choices occurred in my life. It was hard to hear initially that it was in the area of control. I was a control freak in denial, and thankfully this program was a cure for that! (only if I committed to the hard work!).
One of the most important gifts received from Al-Anon was the freedom to remove toxic people from my life. No matter the relationship, I don’t have to be an active participant in their battle of self-destruction (drug related or not). This might seem like common sense, but it really wasn’t for me. I thought the ties that bound us obligated me to pick up my shield and join in on their madness. I subscribe to the thought process of choosing between being right, or choosing peace. These days I no longer feel the need to share every thought or opinion I have and was shocked to learn in Al-Anon that not everyone wants to hear what I have to say, lol. I filter a response based on two questions. Does it NEED to be said, and do I need to be the one to say it. Other times I simply remove myself from the lives of those who are toxic to my own self-esteem. If I don’t like how I feel about myself (or them) after the majority of interactions, that’s a sign. Everyone isn’t a part of “my people” and I accept that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes the best choice is to just wish them well and love/support them from afar.