No longer strange


As much as I would like to convey the impression that everything is just dandy with our son, Chandler, and that he returned home an entirely different person with none of the former addictions or behaviors anywhere in sight, I cannot. And if I could, some of you with experience in these matters would probably have reason to question our supposed full disclosure. But it’s been hard, because our story had such a happy ending. I’m beginning to realize that was just one chapter of our story, and most of it has yet to be written.

We made such incredible strides through his time at the treatment center, that I don’t want to tell you the real picture looks more like one step forward, two steps back. But many of you already know that any kind of addiction is an ongoing battle that is never over.

Two weeks ago, Marti and I started going to Al-Anon meetings (A.A. meetings are for the addicted, Al-Anon is for family members of the addicted who are just as hooked by negative behaviors and attitudes). What an eye-opener. We’ve only been to two meetings; I should probably not assume I know anything about it after hearing from people who have been going to the same meeting for 15, sometimes 20 years. I can really only say at this point what it feels like to be there, and it feels terribly comforting. It is comforting to be in a roomful of people who admit their life has gotten out of control and they can’t make it without support from other people and help from God. (Some say “higher power” but most prefer to simply say “God.”) Of course, we’re good with that.

I’ve heard many people say that church should be more like this; I say this is better than church. You’re there not because you got fixed, but because you are messed up. Everyone who talks, talks about being messed up. Everyone talks about how much they need to be there. No one presumes that they are out of the woods. No one is “well.” No one has to make sense out of what they share. No one has to have the answers. Everyone has each other — as much of each other as they want or don’t want. I walk away from there feeling like I am friends with strangers … who are suddenly no longer strange.

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12 Responses to No longer strange

  1. Terri Main says:

    I always thought that the 12 steps were almost a condensation of the Christian experience. First we admit that we are powerless, then that our lives have become unmanageable, then that only by turning our lives and will over to God that we can restore sanity, then we make a searching moral inventory, admit our wrongs and ask God’s help in resolving them, be transparent when we fail and then spread the news to others like us.

    And they never talk of a “cure.” There is the constant admission that even if they went 50 years without a drink or a hit of a drug, they are still an addict and are only one failure away from addiction.

    How much different church would be if we were required to say before speaking, “I’m Terri and I’m a Sinner.” I kind of doubt we would be as harsh with others if we did.

    • Grace says:

      You can’t get it unless you’ve been there.
      I thought the same thing until I got it.
      Many people by finding God find Jesus too.
      Freedom comes in many ways.

      • Grace says:

        I see what you are saying and I agree about churches saying that!!
        Ive wondered what separates the ones that keep the sobriety and those that don’t. Many times its more about outside issues like ADD Depression and Bipolar (which is discussed in the big book).

    • jwfisch says:


  2. KaT H. says:

    Amen to what you have just stated! Welcome to the wonderful world of Recovery and “One Day at a Time-ness” 🙂 You have just “begun” your journey–the trek started when Chandler was in rehab, and it continues for the REST of ALL your lives. Blessings to you all!!

  3. Janet Licklider says:

    So glad you shared with us. You are constantly in my prayers, all of you. I know your struggle will be life long and I pray for wisdom and endurance for you all. Blessings!

  4. Grace says:

    Amen Amen Amen
    Better than Any Church
    Because it’s real people being real people!! 😅😅😅

    Welcome Home
    don’t leave until the miracle happens

    2 of the best statements I’ve heard in the rooms.

    Keep coming back

  5. loreta says:

    Love alanon, such honesty! Working the alanon progam hand and hand with Jesus really makes a difference in all areas of your life. Hope you keep going.

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