The members of the Al-Anon group shared their experience, strength and hope and the mother remained silent. She didn't shed a tear. She desperately clung to the illusion that she was "fine." We let her cling.
I listened as the group shared. Their stories were different but the same. The stories were painful but these members, through the miracle of Al-Anon, could relate their experiences with laughter and hope. I remember how terribly resentful I was at my first Al-Anon meeting because of the laughter. I didn't understand that people could laugh while living through the disease and consequences of alcoholism. In my mind, "those Al-Anon lunatics" couldn't possibly know or have been through what I had been through or they certainly would not be laughing. All of us "lunatic Al-Anons" probably felt that way in the beginning. How else could we feel? We had lost our laughter; we felt that our joy had been stolen from us as sure as any thief takes something valuable. Alcoholism has robbed us of our serenity and joy and had left in it's place nothing but despair.
There it was. The blessing of despair. The one thing that gets many of us insanely obsessed loved-ones of alcoholics into our first Al-Anon meeting. The new mother had that blessing written all over her face, she just didn't know it was a blessing....yet.
As the meeting ended I made a quick plea to my Higher Power that he would give someone an intuitive thought for this new mother. As the beautiful young woman wrapped her bundle of joy up to warm her against the temperature outside I touched her arm and said, "I remember my first Al-Anon meeting when I thought that all the people there were crazy because they could laugh about what I thought was a hopeless situation. I remember thinking that they could not possibly know what I am going through or they would not be laughing. I remember being angry because those "lunatics" were laughing at a serious situation that I could find no laughter in at all." She looked at me as I spoke, I thought I saw her let her guard down for just one second as she seemed to relate to exactly what I was saying but her guard went back up quickly. I smiled and asked her to please come back. She nodded.