As a teenager in my small hometown, I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. At summer camp and conferences, I felt more accepted. This contributed enormously to my sense of who I am.

By the time I found a Twelve Step program, I had lost myself. I did not know who I was, what mattered to me, or even which movie I wanted to see. I was consumed by my loved one. I wanted what he wanted, did what he did, spent my energy trying to solve his problems, handled his moods and tried to make him happy.

Weekly Nar-Anon meetings helped me focus on myself. After I had been coming to meetings for a while, I took a whole day to myself for an area workshop. I did not say where I was going. I let my husband think it was work, because I still could not stand up for myself. I found a lot of strength and hope that day, and after that, I started doing local and area service work.

As I gathered strength and found more serenity at my weekly meetings, I wanted more. I remembered how retreats and conferences had helped me before adulthood, and I tried them again. I joined a women’s Twelve Step group, which had quarterly retreats. They helped me in working my program, and weekends away gave me perspective. I learned to think more on my own.

During my young adult son’s active addiction years, I was so afraid he would die or spend long years in prison. It was so hard to let go and let him live his own life. When I could not help him, I helped other teens as a group sponsor. I did service work at a treatment facility and found a sponsor whose children had been to prison.

Thought for Today: Service work brings clarity, strength and depth to my recovery. In service, I have learned the importance of making time for myself and for my recovery.

“Service is a way to carry the message to others.” ~ The Nar-Anon Twelve Step Program