By Tanya S., California
Reprinted with permission
What makes me happy is when my brother is sober and my family goes to meetings. I feel sad when I find my dad passed out on the couch because he's had too much to drink. I know he's hurting himself.
Out of the Twelve Steps, I've experienced nine of them. I'll tell you, they've helped me greatly in dealing with the alcoholic. They kept me sane, even when he yelled at me for his own problems.
My dad hurt my family and divorced my mom when I was six-and-a-half years old. I didn't really know about his disease, but when I got into the sixth grade I realized what the problem was. My dad was having too much to drink. I didn't do anything like throw away his bottles-but I hated him, I really did. Then one night my brother got drunk and the police caught him. For us, that was the wake-up call to let us know we needed help.
My mom found Al-Anon and I found Alateen for younger members, since I was only 11. After being with the young members a while, someone told me about a regular Alateen group. So I was going to two meetings a week. One met on Tuesdays and the other one met on Wednesdays.
After being in the program, I learned that I didn't hate my dad. I loved him--I just hated the disease he and my brother had. I believe God wouldn't put me in a situation if He thought I couldn't handle it.