The concept of detachment was baffling to me when I first stepped through the doors of Al‑Anon. Were these people asking me to change the way I thought and viewed the world, the way I’d learned as a child? How could I detach from the alcoholics and still love them? How could I allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions—was that really loving?
Each morning before I left my bedroom, I read the readings on “detachment” in One Day at a Time in Al-Anon (B-6). This gave me some peace, even though those readings made no sense to my way of thinking. However, that peace evaporated quickly when I entered the fray of my day, and I reverted to behavior patterns I’d been relying on my whole life—controlling, nagging, manipulating. Nothing changed at first, but I kept going back to Al‑Anon.
Slowly, as I listened to others at meetings and worked with my Sponsor, I started to apply the tools for detaching that had worked for others. At first, I used them in my workplace, minding my own business and job description and allowing others to do their work as they saw fit. Gradually, I was able to apply the principles in my more emotionally fraught family life. And gradually, my relationships changed. I was able to give others the respect to live their lives without my interference. An unexpected benefit was that I found I could have an enjoyable life of my own when I focused on my own recovery.
By Laura B., Hawaii
The Forum, July 2022
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.