Author: Janice Cyntje

Alfonso stood near the podium of his community center’s conference room and waivered. Although he was grateful that his niece had invited him to speak at this 12-step support group, he was nevertheless cautious of the emotional fallout from airing his life’s dirty laundry.

Beads of perspiration trickled down his brows as he thought about sharing his run ins with the law, orders of protection against 2 past girlfriends and a spotty employment history. A messy life, he thought, taking a step back from the podium; I’ll speak next month.

He turned his face away from the audience and started towards his chair, when unexpectedly, he heard a familiar voice call out from the back of the room. His niece Carmen had just arrived at Emotions Anonymous and beamed a smile towards him as she shouted, “Let’s go Tio!” pumping her fist in the air. Her enthusiastic reception warmed his heart and strengthened his resolve. Familia en la casa! he thought smiling.

Squaring his shoulders, he took a step towards the microphone again, and in a subdued but clear voice said, “My name is Alfonso Rodriguez, and I-am-powerless-over-my emotions.” Looking over at his niece, he raised his forearm and clenched his fist, “Today is step one.”