When I found Alcoholics Anonymous it was like finding a family I had been looking for a very long time. I loved my family - my mother, father, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, but somehow I always felt that things weren't quite right. I always seemed to be looking for something else from them that I could not put in words.
I remember when I was very young and my family would be driving from the Washington, D.C., to the shore (Ocean City, Maryland), I would sit in the back seat of our car as it got dark, looking out the window at all the other cars headed in the same direction. I would fantasize about those unknown and nameless families in those other cars. I would wonder about them, what their lives were like.
I also remember spending more time playing at my friends homes than having them over to my house to play. I could not have explained why this was and I think I felt guilt over preferring to be somewhere else.
Something happened to me when I found AA that helped me understand some of my feelings about family. I heard people say in the meetings that the fellowship was like another family. There were those who had to distance themselves from their own families and claimed AA as their only family. I remained able to love and have relationship with my family for which I am very grateful. But I also found in AA that unknown quality of family that I had been searching for so many years. I found people who spoke my language, who I understood, and who understood me in a way my own family had been unable to do.
I have learned over the years that the AA family is like all families in many respects. There are members of the family that are most wonderful and who I dearly love being around. Then there are the more eccentric, kind of crazy, downright nutty, or just unhealthy members of the family that I may choose to be around less. No family including AA is made up of perfect people. We are all human and like all humans we have our faults and shortcomings.
I love my AA and Al-Anon families. I accept them as they are. I make reasoned choices about which members I will spend more time with. Others I choose to treat with respect and dignity, but do not develop deeper relationships with.
I have also discovered there is a blog family. Those of you who are reading this are in it. I love my blog family too. :)
More pictures from Can Tho July 20
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