I remember in my first Al-Anon meetings hearing people say, “To thine own self be true.” This was confusing to me as I thought I was an honest person, knew myself so well, and had sincere motives. The more I attended Al-Anon and read the literature, though, the more I discovered that I really did not know anything about myself at all-not my favorite color, favorite food, favorite recreational activity, favorite type of music, whether I preferred rural or city settings, and the list went on. Sometimes I even wondered whether I was part of the human race!
Having grown up in alcoholism and then continued on in life with one alcoholic after another, I realized that I did not know myself at all. I was whatever the alcoholic wanted me to be (or so I thought). This awareness was the point at which I figured out that in order for me to live a full and happy life-which meant being true to myself-I would have to work the Twelve Steps of Al-Anon. The journey to me began with Step One, and by the time I reached Step Twelve, I had discovered myself-a beautiful, spiritual woman on a human journey.
“I realized that I did not know myself at all”
Today, I can answer all of those questions for myself with honesty and sincerity. In Al-Anon, I have learned that this journey of self-discovery is an ongoing process of consistently practicing the Steps and being awakened to my Higher Power’s desire for me. This has become a way of life and a design for living. Thank you, Al-Anon, for giving me the tools to find myself and learn how to live as William Shakespeare suggested: “To thine own self be true.”
By Ally G., California
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.