As an African-American female, entering Al‑Anon was quite a challenge for me. I’m strong in some ways, but I was lost in the way of living and focusing on myself. At the first meeting, I felt uncomfortable because I was the only African-American in the group. I was not that trusting of Caucasians in an all white setting, and I wasn’t sure how genuine or accepting their responses would be.
It was one of the darkest times of my life. By the age of 36, I had been married and divorced twice, had numerous committed relationships fail, and my latest relationship with an alcoholic was falling apart.
Today, I spent the day reminiscing about my very first Al‑Anon home group. I came to them totally battered inside and out. For three months, I sat alone away from the table not speaking a word, week after week. I was the only minority there. I lived in a city where race relations were deplorable, the absolute worst in this country. I didn’t speak because I feared I would not be accepted and, worse yet, they would not be interested in my pain. So I became a human sponge, soaking up everything I was hearing, and running out after the meeting.
It may not be the case in your meeting but in my meeting, the member count is typically ten women for every man. It is said that every alcoholic affects the lives of at least twenty people but, certainly, those twenty people can’t all be women. So why aren’t there more men in Al‑Anon? Some evenings, I’m the only man in the room.
Finding out that the alcoholic was not the cause of my unhappiness was my first revelation in Al‑Anon. Even though he had made me so unhappy, I discovered another window through which to view the situation. I took a good look at myself: at my attitude; my arrogance; my selfishness; and my lack of faith, prayer, and spirituality. Through that new window, I tried to take another look at all my life experiences.