This week, I celebrated the milestone of 30 years in this life-saving, sanity-preserving program, by purchasing again, for probably the tenth time since I started all those years ago, the first piece of Al-Anon literature I ever read, the book entitled: "How Al-Anon Works, for Families and Friends of Alcoholics."
I've bought this book for myself many times, then lent it to one of my sponsees, or a newcomer who couldn't afford to get one for herself, and all but one time, it has never been returned. The one which did get returned, got lent out to another sponsee and it went the way of all the others. I've never minded not getting this book back, because I knew I could always get another one at any of the groups I attended, and because I was hoping that it could give to the reader some of the enormous comfort and calm that it gave to me when I was so new.
I love this book. I've read it dozens of times from cover to cover. I've read it in small sips of a few pages at a time, and I've read it like a novel, starting at the beginning, and continuing right to the last page. Either way, each time I read it, I find something new that had eluded me.
I'll never forget an old-timer at an Al-Anon meeting reading a page from the book aloud, and stopping partway through to exclaim, "I've read this 20 times, when did they put that paragraph in?"
That's one of the wonders of this program, and of Al-Anon literature - I hear what I need to hear when I am ready to hear it, and not before. When I'm ready, the wisdom washes over me in a wave of astonishment - I had never thought of it that way!
(whatever "it" is at the time.)
With that new thought, my perception and my attitude shift: sometimes a few feet, sometimes only a millimetre or so, but there is movement, and with it, the world is new again, and possibilities appear that until now, were hidden in the shadows of my confusion.
I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with the awful agony of trying to live in peace with another person's addictions without being swamped and swallowed up. I also recommend it to those of us who have reached a peaceful place in our lives, and are dealing with other challenges in our lives. It's a great read, and it helps.