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Spending son's 4th Birthday at an AA meeting?

Old 02-07-2011, 09:09 AM
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Spending son's 4th Birthday at an AA meeting?

Our son's 4th Birthday falls on my husband's home group AA meeting night. I have taken the evening off so we can all go to dinner, our usual routine for the actual Birthday. Our son will be having a Birthday party on the weekend with his friends at a fun center. My husband says he wants us to hurry up with dinner so we can all go to his meeting. They have AA, Al-anon and daycare at that meeting. Our kids do enjoy going to this meeting but I felt that we should spend the evening together and not split up in different parts of the meeting.

My husband is very sensitive about his meetings. He spends most of his free time at meetings or AA related activities. Do you think it is inappropriate to ask him if we could skip this meeting just for the Birthday?
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:22 AM
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How much sobriety does your husband have? It's a tough one especially if he is newly sober, totally understandable that it's not really what you want for your kids day though. Like I say it's a toughie. xx
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:41 AM
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It really depends on how long your A has been working on his recovery. Unfortunately, in early recovery (up to a year) the A who is serious about better may continue to neglect the family and family affairs, just like when the A was drinking.

As time goes on though, and the A works his/her steps and gets to the amends step (step 9) the family will probably start to see more of the A and he/she will be an A that is changing but more willing to take time away from meetings and start to participate in family and family functions.

I understand what you would like to happen, however, depending on how long he has been in recovery, it may be better for him not to miss his home group meeting.

J M H O

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Old 02-07-2011, 10:02 AM
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My personal opinion, there's a lot of things going on and I don't know the whole story, so I can't tell you what to do, although I can see both sides of this.

I would say, if your husband feels he cannot miss the meeting, or go to a different meeting, would it be possible to take the whole day off instead and do something during the daylight? You said he's turning four, so there's no issue of him skipping school or anything, and to be honest if my parents had taken an entire day off for my birthday when I was little I would have felt very special.
Again, whatever you decide, it's your decision - I just thought I'd pop in with an "outside of the box" thought just in case you needed one.

And Happy Birthday to your son. <3
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:24 AM
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My husband is in his 7th month of sobriety, so very new. When I suggested that my son and I don't attend the meeting that night he wasn't very happy about that either. I work very long hours and don't get to spend most evenings with our kids, so on his Birthday I want to spend one on one time and not be seperated in different areas of the meeting.

I would love to take the entire day off of work and spend with my son but I have a manditory training class that day. Our son is in school already but I would love to take him out for his Birthday but this year it is not possible.

I appreciate everyone's input. At this point I think my son and I will not attend and I will not mention to him I would like us all to spend the eveing together. My husband will just have to deal with his unhappiness about this, as it really doesn't effect him.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:29 AM
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I don't know, I think he can miss the meeting personally. Its really up to him, but I know that at almost 4 months that I can skip a meeting or two for important things. That's just me though.

I never want AA/NA to take over my life. I only go to help me and to say what is on my mind. If that helps others than great, but I have a life to live.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:30 AM
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FWIW I have rescheduled plenty of birthdays in order to make it the best day possible. I don't think at 4yo he's going to care if 'his day' is on Monday or Tuesday - kwim? Maybe you could find a middle ground and get the day you planned, and your husband protects his recovery, by just doing it a different day?

I do understand the loss (not quite the right word but not coming up with any better right now) to you though - that once again alcohol/AA is coming first. The long term pay off is worth it but that doesn't mean the sacrifices you make aren't, well - sacrifices.

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Old 02-07-2011, 10:31 AM
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early dinner for all of you, you and chidlren go to fun center while husband goes to meeting? Is that a possibility. I would worry less about the principle of the thing and find a way to make it work.

It would be really hard competing with AA, but it *is* a good thing for your H to focus on.
jmo.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:11 PM
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I wouldn't try to pressure him to skip the meeting, though I do think you have every right to make you own choice whether to join him that night.

Even when there is no AA or alcoholism, sometimes schedules conflict. Bottom line, a sober dad is the most important gift he can give your son. When he's sixteen, trust me, this won't be a memory that scars him.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:08 PM
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I do think this is a tough one. My RAH is 11 months sober. He is at a place where he can skip meetings for other events but knows when he should be at a meeting for himself. I will say that anytime my RAH says he is going to a meeting I am very happy. For 14 of our 15 years together (including separation time), I remember lonely, worried, sad, aggravating, miserable, sickening, sleepless nights. I had prayed (pretty hopelessly) for my RAH to find sobriety/recovery. So, when my RAH chooses to go to a meeting I am actually so grateful. For my husband to be in a place where recovery is taking place is worth more than gold to me! (That would be one of the best birthday presents for our child because w/o sobriety/recovery I realize my child has no father & I have no husband).
Having said this, however, for myself & my family, you should honor how you feel & what you feel will be important & valuable for your son. I hope s win-win compromise can be worked out for your family! Big hugs!
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:01 AM
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Thank you all for the comments. I don't expect my husband to skip meetings altogether, he will be attending 3 meetings earlier in the day and this will be his 4th one of the day, but it is his home group which he enjoys and is very important to him.

I am not going to be bringing this up to him or making it an issue. It seems a bit harsh for some of the comments that make it seem as if my wanting us to have a family night on our son's Birthday as me not supporting his recovery and AA work. It was just one night, not something that is on going or trying to compete with AA. Our time is limited together as I work many hours to support my family; my husband has been out of work since rehab and has not felt strong enough to return to work yet (he had an executive position that was very high stress job which he and his colleagues went and had martini lunches or conducted business meetings on the golf course drinking ect. . . He is considering switching fields where drinking isn’t so prevalent, which I think is a great choice on his part.)

When our family member enters into rehab, our lives are a mess. Most families believe and have hope that things will get better and they will be able to enjoy Birthday's and holidays together. There have been so many missed or neglected in the pasted due to addiction. Maybe at this time it is expecting too much of my husband but it is still something I wish for inside. My son will be fine and I will be fine we just enjoy having him there, nothing more, defiantly not undermining his recovery process.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:54 AM
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why isn't he happy about you and your son not going to the al-anon meeting? If he wants to go to the aa meeting fair enough.

Of course it is not inappropriate for you to ask, asking isn't a demand. I also get why after all the damage of drinking, with 7 months of sobriety, no job and 4 meetings a day, you would want him to spend 1 evening together as a family on your son's birthday, I personally don't think it's a big ask. but I'm not an alcoholic struggling with sobriety. I also don't get why you shouldn't be able to make the choice to have the evening with your son on his birthday without him being unhappy about it, expectations and resentments go both ways.
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by nbunderstanding View Post
It seems a bit harsh for some of the comments that make it seem as if my wanting us to have a family night on our son's Birthday as me not supporting his recovery and AA work.
((((nbunderstanding))))

I think there's a lot going on with those comments.

I think some people are looking at it as earlier in the recovery, as you never stated where he was early in his post.
I think some people were remembering times when their A was going to meetings, and they pushed for a night away from the meetings, and the A used that as excuses to claim there was no support for the A's recovery, or as an excuse to start drinking again.
I think some people were thinking how happy they'd be if their A would just go to meetings.

We bring our own baggage to this forum, too, unfortunately.
Because of this, we're very understanding of many things (we've been there too), but sometimes there's just a topic that brings up too much "stuff" for us to try and be objective.

That's where the whole "Take what you like and leave the rest" comes from, I think. We're people in recovery, too, trying to recover from our own codependency as well as heal from the hurt.
Sometimes it's hard to admit that other people's choices and decisions and lives are separate and different than ours, and there's things that are different that don't relate at all to our otherwise-similar experiences.



That said, I personally feel that given what else you've added, you're doing the right thing. You have every right to celebrate your son's birthday on his birthday, even if it involves skipping the meeting. He has every right to decline, and attend his meeting.
As long as both sides respect the other's decision, even though you and he don't agree, you're doing great!

:ghug3
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:54 AM
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I think he was not happy that I didn't want to go to the meeting as he was feeling that it was in some way not supporting him, there are still many times I see a man who is inmature and struggling to grow through his soberity. I support completely and this is one night that for me is important to spend with our son. He will have to deal with those feelings. I am sure he knows how much I support his soberity and if he questions me about this issue I will tell him that of course I support him but it is important for me to be with our son that night. I did think it was kind of strange for him to be upset that I didn't want to attend but again there is still a lot maturity he needs to gain now that he has began his recovery.

Again as always all comments are so appreciated. I am more than greatful to have my husband sober today on our son's 4th Birthday!
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:14 AM
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So true, Starcat. We bring our own baggage & read into the posts our take on them. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you Nbunderstanding for raising this issue! :-) hope it all works out!
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:33 AM
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there are still many times I see a man who is inmature and struggling to grow through his soberity.
ABSOLUTELY. 3 weeks into my recovery I turned 36 years old, however, emotionally and mentally I was still a 12 year old (the age I started drinking.)

It took me a while to 'hear' and 'understand' what folks in the program were explaining to me, which was, at the age we alcoholics start drinking seems to be the 'age' we stay at throughout our drinking years. I have always been very grateful to the folks that 'hung onto me' and allowed me to 'hang onto them' as I slowly grew into an adult in and adult's body.

There are so many facets to sobriety it would take pages to list them all.

He will get over the fact you will not be attending that meeting and spending it with your son instead. I would suspect, if he continues in his recovery, which it sounds like he is very serious about, that your son's 5th birthday will be a true 'family celebration.'

Having joined AlAnon at my 3 year sobriety date, on the strong suggestion of my AA sponsor, I have been able to incorporate AlAnon into my program of recovery also. Getting a whole different perspective on the 12 steps than I got in AA. I have been very lucky in being able to observe 'both sides of the coin' of alcoholism and see the devastation on both sides.

Your growth is showing, in that you do support your A but have not allowed his recovery to 'take over your life' and are still willing and able to do things 'you want to do.' You go girl!!!!!

J M H O

Love and hugs,
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:39 PM
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I have an update to the outcome of my dilemma. It turns out that my husband had volunteered to host the daycare at his meeting tonight. I wasn't aware of this until dinner tonight; I told him if we could all be in the daycare area together then I would be more than happy to attend the meeting. Which we did and our son played with his friends in the daycare of the AA meeting and my husband and I hosted tonight. I guess that God works in very mysterious ways and sometimes things work out for everyone.

I was surprised how excited I was to update you guys. This has been the best option for support for me. Thank you so much!
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by nbunderstanding View Post
It turns out that my husband had volunteered to host the daycare at his meeting tonight.
I am so glad it all worked out!
I am also glad that your son had a happy birthday after all.

I'll confess I'm a little confused as to why he wouldn't tell you he was hosting the daycare when the idea first came up, but it all worked out for the best in the end.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
I am so glad it all worked out!
I am also glad that your son had a happy birthday after all.

I'll confess I'm a little confused as to why he wouldn't tell you he was hosting the daycare when the idea first came up, but it all worked out for the best in the end.
wouldn't it be nice if people would always tell us what their motivations are. then we could make real and valid decisions.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:25 AM
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I just want to say thank you for the update, and this thread. I learned a lot about what recovery looks like.
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