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Were you afraid of 1st Alanon Meeting?

Old 02-07-2011, 04:36 PM
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Were you afraid of 1st Alanon Meeting?

First of all - sorry for all the questions. I am so new and confused and you folks acutually understand - Hallejuah!!!

I know this sounds weird, but were you afraid of actually going to your first Alanon meeting? A couple of months ago, I had the meeting times and even directions printed out so I could go to my first meeting. My AH saw them (he is completely aware of how I feel) and managed to stop drinking for 3 whole days. I thought "wow, maybe he sees the damage he's causing." However, this did not break the cycle - he's an addict and it was only yesterday that I was able to accept that. I am not sure what I expected - maybe a fairy tale or the final answer to my prayers or maybe that my AH was actually strong enough to stop.

Anyhow, even though I had the strength to go two months ago, I find myself almost afraid to go now. I wrestle with my own demons that maybe if I give him one more chance, he can actually do this. I know this behavior is typical of people who live with and love addicts because we always want to think the best of the ones we love. I am not afraid of being ridiculed at a meeting, but I guess the best way to describe the way I feel is that I so deperately wish I didn't even have to attend such a group. I mean, how could a smart woman like myself, let this happen.

THANKS again for listening.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:49 PM
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Your question doesn't sound weird at all, Rechelle. I think it's pretty common. I drove by several meetings a couple times before pulling into the parking lot. Sat in the parking lot for part of one meeting before leaving without going in. So it took me several meetings to finally get the courage up to walk in.

Admitting you need support doesn't make you any less of a smart woman. IMO it shows just how smart you are and courageous. (But I completely understand what you're trying to say about it.)
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Rechellef View Post

Anyhow, even though I had the strength to go two months ago, I find myself almost afraid to go now. I wrestle with my own demons that maybe if I give him one more chance, he can actually do this.
But you're not going for him--you're going for you, right? So chance or no chance, drinking or no drinking, AlAnon will help you sort through your own feelings--and even if he just stops drinking this minute, it doesn't negate the help and support that AlAnon can provide.

Yes, I was afraid, and it the first couple of meetings felt a little foreign. They say you should go to six meetings before you make up your mind how you feel about it.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:41 PM
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Not a weird question, but know this...

...you won't be made to do anything you don't want to do, so all you are really afraid of is being a happier person. Not necessarily happy, but happier. The experience, strength, and hope you will find in most meetings will save your life, and bring you as close to serenity as you will ever get.

Take what you want and leave the rest,

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Old 02-07-2011, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Rechellef View Post
even though I had the strength to go two months ago, I find myself almost afraid to go now. I wrestle with my own demons that maybe if I give him one more chance, he can actually do this. I know this behavior is typical of people who live with and love addicts because we always want to think the best of the ones we love. I am not afraid of being ridiculed at a meeting, but I guess the best way to describe the way I feel is that I so deperately wish I didn't even have to attend such a group. I mean, how could a smart woman like myself, let this happen.
Going to a meeting isn't what makes it real. What's real is what's real. Moreover, you seem to think that by going, you somehow aren't giving him a chance to recover. Lots of times alcoholics do eventually decide to go to AA, in part because what their partners learn in Al-Anon is no longer contributing to the problem.

Though it's true we didn't Cause it, can't Control it, and can't Cure it, we sure can Contribute to it. (Forget who said that here--I'm thinking it was Cyranoak.) When we get better, and stop enabling, controlling, manipulating, sometimes the alcoholic has to face the fact that his/her drinking is what's causing the problem.

You aren't condemning him by going to a meeting. All you are doing is helping yourself--which you have every right to do whether he is an alcoholic or not.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:30 PM
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I have the meeting list printed out. I'm wishy washy..one minute I want to go the next I don't.
I always thought AlNon was all about helping the alcoholics family cope with their behaviors or in my thought process "making our lives even MORE all about them". then I found you guys!!! And I learned it's about helping US.
I'm terrified.
today ...don't want to go.
tomorrow? who knows...
but I do know I don't want to make the same mistakes. I think it will help me way more than anything else has...so it can't hurt.
I just don't know if I WANT to....I have very very little time. I work everything I do around RAH, and his mtg schedules...
He asked me to go though...? why? who knows?
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:37 PM
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You are definitely not alone in your feelings. I just started going to Al-anon a few weeks ago and have now gone to 3 meetings, but it was very hard for me to take that first step. I know that I need to go and like going, however i still hate the fact that I have to go. I just hate that my life go to the point that requires me to do this.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:37 PM
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Maybe because he loves you and he wants you to be happy. Maybe it's pure. Maybe it's the beginning of an amazing new life for you. Maybe.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:40 PM
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I cannot say enough how much those meetings have been a blessing to me. Yes it is scary. Just like it is scary to face the truth about yourself and your alcoholic. But I always hear something that helps me. Helps me cope or helps me understand, or puts things in perspective or even makes me laugh. On my worst weeks I was going to 3 or 4 meetings a week. Every meeting has its own "flavor" and you will find one that is more of a comfort to you. Now when the anxiety builds up I know I have to go to a meeting soon. I always feel better. For me its like going to the gym. I find so many excuses for not going but I always feel better when I do go and I never regret going. Its not about whether he is drinking or giving him a chance. Its about YOU and helping yourself and learning to put the focus on you. That for me was one of the most difficult things. I was already separated from my AH but I had never lived alone before and suddenly I was no one's mom or wife. I did not know who I was. It helped me open up and reclaim my life. I hope to hear what you think after you go to a few.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:51 PM
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I don't know if I was afraid to go, but I was reluctant because I didn't want to focus one more minute on my AH problems.

I went though. It was an incredible help! The love and acceptance I felt in the room was unbelievable and just what I needed when I was feeling unloved and rejected. EVeryone was very welcoming and made sure you were comfortable.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:09 PM
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Yay!! Good for you!!!
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:59 AM
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...I remember my first Al-Anon meeting.
I had finally accepted that my (now-X)ABF had a "drinking problem" because this guy from work who is a friend of his and a giant supporter of AA rounded up several of his AA friends / union buddies and had a "mini-intervention / prayergroup" in XABF's office at work. It didn't have the desired effect on XABF, but when XABF mentioned it to me (as a reason why I had to put even more effort in to help him stop drinking ) I finally admitted to myself what I had been avoiding.
I went to see this friend of his, and had a talk with him. Got a phone number from him for a friend of his. Called her, got yelled at over the phone that he was leading me on and I had to go to Al-Anon and how everything I was saying was wrong, etc, etc. (Not what I needed, XABF already yelled at me enough, my mother already yelled at me enough all my life growing up, etc.) So instead of going, I just shut down and retreated inside the nice thick walls I had built.

Except I started reading things online. Sections of the Big Book, looking up Al-Anon, finding the AA schedule for XABF, but genuinely looking, and not just for him this time.

About a week later I finally made my way to my first meeting. I was so depressed at that point, I had kicked XABF out of my apartment (for the first time), and I just wanted things to be better. I checked the online meeting schedule, and that night there was an Al-Anon literally four blocks from my apartment. I could walk there if I wanted. So I went.
I drove around in circles in the parking lot. I put the spare tired into the wheel well where it belonged in my trunk (it had been rolling around the back seat for two months). I walked around. I looked at the church gardens (it was dark out, and raining). I helped someone cross the street.
Finally I got up enough courage to try and go in. The door was locked. I almost went home. I tried the other door, which led to the basement, and wandered around down there. Turned to go again, and someone spotted me and asked, "Are you here for the Al-Anon meeting?"

Drat! I'd been spotted! I had to go, now!

It was only six people in attendance, and it was my least favorite of all the Al-Anon meetings I have attended, and I am so glad I went because I finally realized I was not alone. Here were people just like me, who knew just what I was going through, and I didn't have to pretend everything was okay.

I did talk at my first meeting. I was a mess, but there were only six people there, and I'd kept so many things bottled up inside that I just had to let all these thoughts go SOMEWHERE. I don't remember what I said, I do remember I used up a lot of tissues saying it, I remember that they just let me talk and cry and get it all out, made sure I had all the beginner's information, and suggested a few meetings that were more geared towards "beginners" that would provide a better benefit. Afterward I talked to one woman in the parking lot for about an hour and a half, I don't even remember her name, I don't remember ever seeing her again, but she just helped me so much.
I couldn't wait to go to another meeting.


Sorry, I didn't mean to type so much, I guess I have a lot of feelings about this!
Al-Anon has helped me a lot, as have the online meeting here, and of course this forum. Right now, I absolutely need all three, and I am so grateful to have found them all.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:38 AM
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My first Al Anon meeting: It was a Thursday night.
The day before, I went to my first couples session with my ex. In this session, I confronted him about his "talking to other women" since I was able to break into his email and catch him. Then we went back to his place because I wanted to see his pc to see what else he was lying about. It got UGLY!
I knew I was in big trouble from there!

I didn't sleep all night, could barely function at work the next day and got home, found the list of meetings in my area and drove there 30 mins before, sat in my car having a panic attack. Saw women outside the church talking, got out of my car in a daze, walked up to them and said "is this the meeting?"
They shook my hand, hugged me and said "come on in"

There were about 12 people that day and I sat there frozen in fear. Could not talk, could not share, but cried when other people shared their stories.
I was able to share on week 3. I've been in the same group for 18 months now.

Pain is a great motivator
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:55 AM
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The title of this thread took me back a bunch of years to when I finally realized I was with a full blown alcoholic and decided I needed to attend a meeting as I was so upset and despondant over the realization.
I found the info online, went to the church. The lights were on and there was a sign showing the meeting was in the basement. I entered, the room was empty but the chairs were all in a large circle so I sat down. I sat there for about an hour and nobody showed up. I sat there and cried, alone. Finally I got up, turned off the lights and left. I never did find out if I was in the wrong place or what.
It seems funny now but it was awfully sad at the time. I haven't been to a meeting since but I read the posts here for some help and guidance.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:58 AM
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Afraid to go to Al-Anon

Originally Posted by Rechellef View Post
First of all - sorry for all the questions. I am so new and confused and you folks acutually understand - Hallejuah!!!

I know this sounds weird, but were you afraid of actually going to your first Alanon meeting? A couple of months ago, I had the meeting times and even directions printed out so I could go to my first meeting. My AH saw them (he is completely aware of how I feel) and managed to stop drinking for 3 whole days. I thought "wow, maybe he sees the damage he's causing." However, this did not break the cycle - he's an addict and it was only yesterday that I was able to accept that. I am not sure what I expected - maybe a fairy tale or the final answer to my prayers or maybe that my AH was actually strong enough to stop.

Anyhow, even though I had the strength to go two months ago, I find myself almost afraid to go now. I wrestle with my own demons that maybe if I give him one more chance, he can actually do this. I know this behavior is typical of people who live with and love addicts because we always want to think the best of the ones we love. I am not afraid of being ridiculed at a meeting, but I guess the best way to describe the way I feel is that I so deperately wish I didn't even have to attend such a group. I mean, how could a smart woman like myself, let this happen.

THANKS again for listening.
Hi, your fear of going to Al-Anon is not unusual. I made excuses for two years before I actually went. Looking back, recovery feels really strange. I was so isolated by my husband's drinking that it was a shocker that there is a support group for me as the family member. Sort of like being stunned by freedom after being in prison for many years.

The Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters Web site has free "Frirst Steps to Recovery" podcasts on its Web site to help prepare family members for what an Al-Anon meeting is like, First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery. I was so relieved to meet people who understand what I have been going through that all of my qualms melted right away. Al-Anon saved my life. So, I kept going in spite of my fears. Over the years, I have seen what happens to people who stop coming to Al-Anon and then years later come back. They beat themselves up for not staying in Al-Anon because both they and the drinker further deteriorated mentally or if the drinker is sober and in recovery, he or she is mentally growing and the family members are not. So the relationship is jeopardized by the family members not being part of the recovery process.

I hope you will return to Al-Anon. I found that it helps me to visit other Al-Anon groups because they are all slightly different from each other. I'm glad you were able to share your fears and reached out for help on this Web forum because there are many family members attending Al-Anon who can identify with your fears of attending Al-Anon meetings.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:02 AM
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Absolutely terrified. The now Mr. HG and I went when his AS was in the hospital after nearly drinking himself to death.

Our home group is a wonderful set of people full of compassion, strength and humor. Much like the people here on SR!

Best of luck to you!!! HG
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:31 AM
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I cried through my first and second meetings. The entire time. Used up the Kleenex! It does get better, though. The third meeting I actually laughed at something someone said - and the rest is history! Now I feel good walking into a meeting. It feels like a group of old friends, even if I don't recognize most of the faces there.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:51 AM
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JUst go and then keep on going..go to several differnt meetings..I truly don't know anyone at my meetings who doesn't think their life is so much better for being there..it's not about accomadating the alcoholic..they won't tell you to leave or stay, but will show you how to lovingly detach and set boundaries about what you are willing to live with..or not.I was bordeline suicidal when i got there.. now I'm pretty happy most of the time..I surrendered and my life got waaay better.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:23 AM
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Admitting you need support doesn't make you any less of a smart woman. IMO it shows just how smart you are and courageous. (But I completely understand what you're trying to say about it.)
I am in recovery from alcohol, and codependence and now ACA.
Geez.
The hardest lesson ever for this hard headed, i can do anything, dont need no help drunk was to ask for help.
Asking for help was the scariest and then the most liberating thing I ever did in my life.
I sure understand where you are coming from too, but everyone in that meeting will get it too.

Beth
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rechellef View Post
. . . I am not sure what I expected - maybe a fairy tale or the final answer to my prayers or maybe that my AH was actually strong enough to stop.

. . . I so deperately wish I didn't even have to attend such a group. I mean, how could a smart woman like myself, let this happen.

As SoloMio said, we go to meetings for ourselves, not for the addicts in our lives. IMHO there's nothing you're going to hear or learn in a meeting that's going to stop the addict from using. That's not what the program is about. They're on their own paths with respect to their recovery. The beauty of this program (again, IMHO) is that it helps US change the way WE think and react such that even if they never change we don't have to suffer because they do.

As for wishing you didn't have to attend, I can relate. In the beginning I resented my AW. It was her fault I had to take time out of my already hectic schedule to attend meetings. I tried a few sporadically and decided I didn't need those "stupid" meetings. I would handle things my own way thank you very much.

When I finally reached my bottom (by which I mean I was ready to stop thinking I could actually control my wife's drinking) I returned to the program with desperation. I went every night for the first few months. Eventually I reduced the frequency. Now, in retrospect, I'm GLAD I started going (and continue to go).

As for your final question of how could a smart woman let this happen; I hope this doesn't sound judgmental but IMHO that demonstrates your need to go to meetings. You didn't "let" anything happen. You're not responsible for anyone's addiction. You didn't cause it, can't control it, can't cure it. Don't take the blame for that which was beyond your control.

Just go. Try several meetings; try different groups. There were several groups that I just didn't click with. That's not a reflection on them or the program; just not a good fit for me. In short course I found a handful of groups I really feel comfortable with. Now I really look forward to my meetings and spending time with the people I've met in program.
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