WHAT I LEARNED: 1. For the fellowship, this book marked a major turning point in fully welcoming adult children of alcoholics in the mid 90’s. At 300 pages, it’s probably only a few pounds, but it felt so much heavier than that because of all the memories it brought back up for me growing up in an alcoholic household. Some of the stories even venture on being poetic in their agony – grab some tissue & see page 269 for “Untangling Confusion,” page 85 for “Saying It Aloud Helped Me” & page 89’s “All I Knew Was Bitterness.”
There’s a possibility that these pages won’t match up exactly if you have the 1st edition. I’ve got the 2nd edition which was revised in 2007 to remove an excerpt of Al-Anon’s “promises” or “gifts.” Per the 2005 Conference Summary, “It was the Committee’s further consensus that the passage not be promoted or reproduced as ‘promises’ or ‘gifts.’ In Al-Anon we offer newcomers our experience, strength, & hope. We don’t make promises because each individual’s needs & situations are different.”
2. A short version of the book’s recurring theme is about creating something from nothing – or as stated better on page 206: “We are becoming the mature people we lacked in our childhood homes.” …From parents that couldn’t give what they didn’t have, to reaching understanding & forgiveness, freedom is possible once we make peace with our past.
3. My favorite line is from page 229: “My family may have given me the disease, but it was my own actions & reactions that impaired me.”