Rustlings (August 19, 2019)

I walked into my first meeting over a decade ago. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I attended three times a week—two different locations. It wasn’t until the third week that I could utter a word. Even then, the words were mixed with tears. It took a while to sift through the wad of fear, guilt, embarrassment, worry and misguided determination that had become my life. Everyone in the room knew what I was going through. Some of them were just like me. Others looked fine, and I wondered why they were there. Turns out, the ones smiling had already been there a year or two or three or ten or more. A year after my first visit, I was smiling too…and someone in the room said, “I wish we had a ‘before and after’ picture of you and everyone else who ever walks in this room. The program is a miracle.”

On Monday evening, September 9, at 6:00pm, First Baptist will host her first Alanon meeting. Alanon is a support group for the family and friends of persons who struggle with alcoholism and addiction based on a 12-step program. The only qualifier for walking in the room is you love someone who struggles in this area. It’s an interesting observation—Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) rooms are filled with persons who struggle with their addiction. For every person in AA there are numerous family members and friends affected by their disease, yet fewer people go to Alanon than go to AA. Alanon rooms should hold ten times the people attending AA! Those of us who love the person who struggles with addiction can easily become unhealthy in our care for them and our care for ourselves. Alanon helps move us toward serenity whether the alcoholic/addict is using or not.

If you love someone who struggles with addiction…if your life has been affected by someone who struggles with addiction, I want to invite you to join me at this first Alanon meeting. We will be meeting each Monday evening. If you miss the first meeting, you can join anytime. We will meet in the Adkins-Bouton Sunday School Class, room A306. Come in the ‘chapel entrance’ underneath the church’s bell tower, take a left down the hallway and we are the first room on the right. Believe it or not, after a while, you’ll be smiling too…

—Jim