On the Corner of Availability and Serenity

Pennie A Nichols
2 min readJul 6, 2022


I went to my first Al-Anon meeting last night. I’m finding my place on the corner of availability and serenity. I bought the books, listened, took notes.

My first takeaway was that the Al-Anon signage and mantras are useful for understanding much more than that single disease. The steps, prayers, and slogans can be broadly applied to life and relationships.

The sign that clicked for me last night was a folded printout of the three Cs.

In my professional life, we refer to the five Cs of second-language acquisition: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. These Cs are solid for approaching language acquisition and can be extended for use in interpersonal relationships.

The same goes for the Al-Anon three Cs. They are for more than the disease that inspired them.

The three Cs clicked in my head, rapid purr of stiff paper with stick figures that move as the paper breaks free from the thumb.

This is helpful for dealing with anyone in crisis, in anger, in disorder. This can mitigate feelings of guilt and confusion. This puts a situation, especially for the fixers among us, in perspective.

Boundaries, agreements, and the pursuit of serenity

The Al-Anon three Cs are the art of allowing at its finest, a balance of healthy detachment and helping hand.

So how do we station our love for another person on the corner of availability (I’m here for you when you’re ready) and serenity (your disease/behavior/habits will not disrupt my joy in life)? The three Cs.

IMHO, we need more ANONs: the hoard-anon, the brag-anon, the whine-anon, the grump-anon, the gripe-anon, the mad-anon, the lie-anon.

And whatever the ANON, the three Cs will apply. We’ll learn to draw healthy boundaries, establish agreements, and maintain our serenity and joy.

I stand on the corner of availability and serenity. I look forward to the life lessons I’ll learn in these meetings. Many who came before me stitched together this program, a net that will hold me now. I am grateful for this network.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022

Originally published at https://www.pennienichols.com on July 6, 2022.



Pennie A Nichols

Louisiana-based author of women’s fiction and sci-fi and World Languages editor.