A gift of peace

We decorate, we bake, we shop, we wrap, we sing carols, we host our family parties, and we may attend church services. We celebrate this wonderful season, both spiritually and secularly. But sometimes everything is not quite as sparkly, festive or serene as it appears. Why? Because someone we love is not healthy because of drug, alcohol and/or behavioral problems.

As we are all well aware, the problems do not magically disappear because it is holiday time. Many times, in fact, usage is intensified at this time of year. Often, a hole in our hearts is created because of our loved one's absence or perhaps from our worry of how they will act if and when we do spend time with them.

The gift of peace that is offered at Christmas can be a reality in each of our lives, not only at this time of year, but throughout the entire year. A free 12-step program called Families Anonymous strengthens us so that we can attain that peace. FA is a wonderful support group that encourages and sustains those who have family members who suffer from drug, alcohol and/or behavioral problems. This incredible program teaches us that we are powerless over anyone else’s life except for our own.

We learn to change our negatives to positives, act not react, realize that it is OK to say no and set limitations of what we will and will not accept. Being on guard, obsessing about others' choices or being broken-hearted and losing sleep because of the emptiness and heartache we feel inside does nothing to make us feel better. Realizing that each of us is responsible for our own happiness is a wide-eyed discovery.

We encourage you to attend a few meetings of Families Anonymous so that you can really understand and accept that peace can actually be attained on a daily basis, no matter how difficult the situation with your loved one may be. We can live, we can love and we can have freedom from continuous, unproductive fear and worry in spite of unresolved problems. We learn that we didn’t cause someone else’s destructive behavior, we sure can’t control another’s actions, nor can we cure their abuse, addiction or behavior. However, we can learn to cope. With coping comes peace. Peace is a gift we can give to ourselves everyday - if we so choose.

Families Anonymous meets at different times throughout the area; in Westlake we meet Sundays at 5:30 p.m. at CrossPointe Community Church, 1800 Columbia Road.

Our website is www.familiesanonymous.org. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call our Northern Ohio Families Anonymous Helpline at 440-779-HELP (4357).

Please know that Families Anonymous honestly helps to restore sanity, offers comfort and brings stability back into our lives. Even if the ones we love do not seek recovery, we still can. Our recovery stops that hole in our hearts from getting larger, allows us to focus on one day at a time, and ultimately regain some serenity so that we can function on a much healthier and normal basis. Hope is available. Let us think about giving ourselves a much-needed gift – a gift that will last much longer than any holiday cookies or store bought present - that is a gift of peace.

Joyce S.

Public Information Chair
Northern Ohio Families Anonymous

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Volume 5, Issue 24, Posted 9:51 AM, 11.26.2013