I had a mind-opening experience last night.
Thomas my nephew and I drove to Spencer and attended a beginner's Al-Anon meeting. There was no Alateen, so we went to this meeting instead. There were about 6 of us, and Rita, a 65 year-old woman chairing the meeting. She was terrific, Ed. So much experience, so much wisdom, she addressed each person and listened to their problem, and spoke with humor, compassion, and deep understanding. Bless her heart. I listened, and Thomas participated, describing the anguish of living with his grandparents, and of being tossed around between sets of grandparents, and his mother. Of being badgered by his grandparents when they are angry, being badgered about everything. Of stuffing his feelings and hiding in his room. Rita gave him a 12-step Alateen book. Thomas was told that there is hope for him. That he needs to go to as many meetings as he can get to, and that he needs to take care of Thomas.
The meeting last night reminded me how common my problems really are. Because I am an alcoholic, I am not unique. The pain and misery I inflicted on members of my family is no different than that which has been experienced by new members at this AL-Anon meeting last night. One woman spoke of how her husband, sober 9 months, constantly berates and criticizes the kids at the dinner table. I thought she was talking about me! Another spoke of her husband's fanaticism about meetings... etc. The meeting was so good for me. I went in there with the big EGO, thinking, I'm a member of AA and these people can learn a lot of from me... but after I listened for a while, I started coming down to size. I needed to hear where these women were coming from.
It's a bloomin' miracle the way God weaves his strands of love and hope into our lives, creating a fabric to keep us and watch over us.