Back In Step

I’ve been a member of Al-Anon, a 12-Step program for those affected by the aftershocks of alcohol, for 12 years.

I stopped attending meetings due to my hearing loss, but two weeks ago, went back.

It was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

Growing up in an alcoholic home is no picnic.  You develop, as an adult, strangely, since you spend most of your youth just trying to survive, which is what I did.

The results of a childhood conducted through your parent’s drinking, are anything but gentle, distorting what you see and hear.

I’ve heard it described as life through a funhouse mirror, just minus the fun.

We tend to suffer heavily in the self-esteem department meaning, we haven’t much, since, no one, as kids, instilled it in us.  It was more the opposite…you’re a big failure with little value to the world.

The alcoholic’s misery spills like the contents of their glass into your young consciousness taking hold, destroying much in it’s midst, the sad nature of the addicted beast.

Through the grace of the Al-Anon program, you can improve how you think of yourself, but the scars remain.  Takes very little to incite a bad case of the…I hate myselfs, causing an emotional fever that can halt you in your tracks.

When you attend a meeting, you get to listen to others who have suffered as well.  The great news is, you’re not alone, therefore, not the unique freak you always thought you were.

I learned to go easy on myself in Al-Anon…to not judge my wounds as if they were self-inflicted.

But alas, my recent lapse into unworthiness was due to many things pinching those wounds.

Had to let some old-time friendships go that were too painful to keep.

Had to accept that my hearing loss keeps people at bay, but it doesn’t make me less of who I am.

It hurts to be so blatantly rejected, not asked to the party, if you will, but it’s a grace to remember their discomfort is not because of you.  You’re just the unfortunate recipient of their ignorance and absence of humility.

But the doors on a Sunday in a church basement, on the Upper Eastside of New York, where you’ll find 30 or so people, who don’t judge you by anything but your overall goodness, will welcome you no matter what.

Imagine an oasis with smiles and folding chairs.

A safe place where you can share your experience, strength and hope emerging at your full height knowing, this too shall pass.

I’m not standing at my full height as yet, but I’m getting there.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in alcohol, Books, Faith, Family, friendship, grace, Gratitude, humanity, humor, Love, New York City, parents, words and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Back In Step

  1. Kate Howell says:

    A truly inspiring story!

    Hal Rubenstein from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

  2. says:

    You are at your full height – your kindness and generosity – put you so far ahead of so many people – what you have accomplished mainly on your own put you out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Validation is a powerful thing, my friend. I’m glad you found some peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. no face woman says:

    Really inspiring, good for you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am very happy for you. We all need a safe place to recoup from life. Sadly as we get older, it’s hard to find in friends.


  6. You are magnificent. I have never had a peek into the childhood of someone whose parents were alcoholics. I’ve probably known people with scars like yours, but they never spoke of them. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s an expression… if you shake the family tree, all the alcoholics fall out. It’s amazing how common a story it is. Just read Eleanor Roosevelt lost her father, brother plus a son to alcoholism which was why she never drank. Thanks for writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Patricia says:

    It is not enough to just survive our childhood we must fight for victory. Good that you are back with the soldiers of your battalion. March on mighty warrior.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I see you as a very strong person, Susannah, to point of having the strength and insight to see what you need and do it. I admire that in you. Glad it’s good to be back there.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, I’m happy you have a source of strength to dip into when needed.
    My youngest two children were taken from their biological parents at ages 5 and 8 years, in Russia. They were severe alcoholics that left them alone, with no food, for as long as 3 days at a time. It breaks my heart to hear some of the stories the oldest, Troy, has told me.They joined our family at 6 and 9 years, after spending a year in an orphanage. They are now 27 and 30, and doing well. But I keep an eye on them for inherited traits.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gail Kaufman says:

    Your words can be applied in many scenarios. I’ll have to remember them: “You’re just the unfortunate recipient of their ignorance and absence of humility.”


  11. Glad to hear you are almost there… my parents were alcoholics and it became worse for my dad after my mom died.. Self esteem does take a hit and it does waver at times… so very glad you have a group to support and lift you up. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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