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Old 10-08-2008, 09:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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My al anon experience

Iíve a feeling this is going to be a long one, so Iíll apologise in advance for that.

I mentioned on another thread that today I was going to al anon for the first time.

It took all day because it was out of town and I had to use the bus.

I didnít know really what to expect, Iíve read about different experiences on SR in the past, some good, some bad.

When we got there (my mum came with me) we were shown into what looked like someones living room by the side of a church., and there were just two people in there. I wasnít expecting that at all, I wanted more people and I got nervous and almost just turned round and left there and then. Four people seemed a bit too intimate for me to start with. Five minutes to go and two others turned up, someone offered us coffee and the next I knew the meeting was starting.

I could tell from my mums body language she wasnít comfortable with it at all, but on the way there weíd talked and said if either of us wanted to leave weíd just leave and wait for the other outside, she stayed anyway.

We werenít pressed into talking, or made to feel like we should talk, and I got the impression the shares were especially for us as newcomers, thatís how it felt anyway, not like someone just speaking to a room of people, someone was talking to me, and I could hear them, really hear what they were saying.

There were two people there who were also AA members, and I really appreciated their shares, I sometimes feel a need to hear both sides to try to understand where I am. One guy made a point of saying it was a waste to try and help him when he was in active addiction, and Iíve heard similar on SR, but to hear him say it himself made a difference to me somehow. To actually hear the vocabulary used here, in Ďreal lifeí made a difference too.

I chatted with the rest of the group after the meeting and they said they usually have a few more people there, but that doesnít bother me now. I think I was lucky to find a place I feel comfortable in the first time I went, I might try some others, but Iím definitely going back next week, work permitting.

My mum? She didnít get it at all, although she said it was interesting to hear the guy who was also in AA speak. She wants to know how to help my brother and al anon arenít going to help her do that. In an odd kind of way Iím happy she wonít be going back, I donít feel I could have been myself with my mum right by my side.

I wish Iíd gone months ago.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm so glad you got something from the meeting and are going back. SR support is GREAT, but it always helps to have that f2f support, too.

As far as your tried to help her see what she needs to do, and she isn't ready for it. Let it go. She will have to find her own way, just as your brother will.

Hugs and prayers!

"I'm not where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be" - Joyce Meyer

"You got what it takes you can win, today is your day to begin. - Shania Twain

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Old 10-08-2008, 10:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Glad to hear you had a positive experience Lucy, and that you'll keep going to those meetings. Please try others, sometimes it takes a few to find one where you really feel at home.

Most importantly, it's good that this was helpful to you. I find that I'm much more comfortable when I'm alone in a meeting, rather than in the company of family or friends. It's easier for me to share openly and stay focused on my own recovery.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty, and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming---*WOW-What a ride*!"
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Taking my mum was sort of one last ditch effort to show my mum she's really doing harm to my brother, rather than helping him. I'd mentioned I was looking for a meeting a while back, and she said she might be interested in coming. I actually never thought she'd get as far as she did today, but she did. I admit I did want her to hear things from someone else, I think the guy from AA was 'meant' to be there so she could hear him, and also so I could hear him and see my mum wasn't actually listening to anyone, not just not listening to me. She knows what she wants, and it's the same as we all want really, but she can't see past that yet.

I felt so welcome at this meeting that I think I'll make every effort to get there every week, other meetings around here are difficult for me as I have the three kids and all the other meetings are evening ones, I work odd shifts and I like to spend free evenings with the boys, also transport is difficult, it took me five hours in total to go to the one today, so evening isn't really an option at the moment. I will try others though when I can.

As for sharing openly, that was only something I thought of after my mum said she would come today. I know I would never be able to share in front of my mum, not fully anyway. So I think it's best for me that she has decided it's not for her yet.

I would say though, to anyone who's wavering, go, give it a try. Al anon wouldn't have been for me 12 months ago, but I think it is now.
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm so glad you had a positive experience at your first Al-Anon meeting.

ďNot everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.Ē
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm so excited I put the wrong smiley in my last post, I meant to use this one
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:17 AM   #7 (permalink)

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hey thats cool you had a good experiance, i tried it once also and when i showed up (with my sister cause god forbid i go by myself lol im a codie what can i say) there wasnt alot of people there, the one thing i liked about it was i didnt have to talk, they just let me sit there

i think al-anon is a good thing, it gives you more of a support system, i dont go to meetings though along with my co-dependancy i also have social anxiety and talking in front of folks is not something i can do, i do better on this message board

dont worry about your mom though, maybe when she sees the good it does you she will rethink her decision and start going, you never know!!
You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LucyA View Post
I wish I’d gone months ago.
I got there exactly when I was supposed to ((( )))

I am so glad you found a good meeting 1st time out - I did, too; it became my home group. They sound very caring - I'm sure it was no mistake they shared with special consideration for the newcomers.

For the first year or so I also attended open AA meetings; it also helped me consider the "whole" picture. That has tapered off, but there are a lot of double winners in my groups, so I can hear their shares before and after my Al Anon meetings.

Keep going back!
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Al anon wouldn't have been for me 12 months ago, but I think it is now.
Maybe that will be your mom a year from now. Just like the A's in our lives, most of us have to hit OUR bottom before we're truly ready to receive the gifts of recovery.

The good news is that you can have it whether or not anyone else in your family wants it. As they say in the opening(or is it the closing) of Al Anon meetings, you can find contentment and even happiness whether the alcoholic continues to drink or not.

What other people think of me is really none of my business!
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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lucy, i had my first meeting today. what i was struck by was the overwhelming sense of relief i felt that i was among people who actually understood what i was going through and had been there, unlike my friends and family, who are supportive but have only the tiniest picture of my life.

best of luck to you with the meetings. i'm going back, even though all i did today was bawl my fool head off ...
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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These stories of Al anon success meetings is inspiring! I keep chickening out of meetings, I guess I'll get there when I'm ready.

Thanks for sharing

Lily xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. Now that I know better, I will do better.

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Old 10-09-2008, 03:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't think al anon will be for everyone, I think I'd already grasped the concept of it a long time ago without realising that it was what al anon is about (if that makes sense) so I didnt go with expectations of coming away with advice on how to cure my brother or anything like that.
And I also think I have some advantages in being busy with the kids and knowing I have to look after myself to be able to look after them, I'm distanced in some ways from my A and don't have the same emotional relationship baggage or the history of actually living in the same house as him. Maybe that makes it easier for me, I don't know.

I did find the leaflets they gave me really useful in confirming that I'm doing the right things for Joe, being honest and leading by example insted of telling him what he should be doing for instance.

I actually feel lots happier for just knowing that most of the stuff I'm doing is going basically in the right direction.
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