I can see the real me now

I grew up in a family where anger, violence, and alcohol were part of everyday life. I was sexually molested and a victim of incest. I learned that God hated you if you were not straight. I learned that alcoholism can and will kill. I buried my uncle, an ex-wife, and a boyfriend—all of whom I lost to this disease.

I entered into relationships with drug addicts, alcoholics, batterers, and cheaters. The entire time I would do the same things I had always done—slowly lose sight of my desires, sacrifice things that meant a lot to me, and begin to wonder who I was without them.

When I first read How Al‑Anon Works (B-22), the passage on page 23 made me cry, “We hid our real feelings in order to survive...In attempting to protect ourselves, we let our personalities slip away until we were emotionally numb.” The words resonated with me. I, too, had been asked about how I was doing only to answer about my partner’s well-being or activities.

Over time, and listening in meetings, I began to identify my obsession, anxiety, anger, denial, and feelings of guilt. From the time I was little on up until I was a grown man, I had assumed that everything was about me! I took everything personally.

I had a lot of denial about my feelings and had a lot to learn about how to function without my old values and assumptions. I learned that those closest to me were careful because I would jump to conclusions about what they meant and what they thought about me. I learned that thinking something did not make it true.

I found a loving, caring place to learn about how to live without wrecking my life and everyone else’s. Al‑Anon is the tool kit that I use.

By Geoff O., Mississippi
The Forum, June 2012

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