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Dating a recovering alcoholic. Do I need Alanon?

Old 03-30-2011, 12:56 PM
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Dating a recovering alcoholic. Do I need Alanon?

For the past 6 months, I have been dating a 12 year recovering alcoholic. He attends AA and Alanon meetings regularly and is dedicated to the 12 steps. I have been to a few open AA meetings with him and recently attended my first Alanon meeting with him as well. Our relationship is getting pretty serious, and we both love each other. I've asked him if he needs or wants for me to attend Alanon meetings for (or with) him, but he has suggested that I don't need them. Is this true? Or possible? I would consider myself lucky in that I didn't have to witness the destruction and misery he caused his family when he was active. I didn't know him when he was drinking, and I hope I never know him in that sense. As a sober man, he is the most wonderful man I have ever met.

My main question is whether Alanon would even benefit me or not. I am not opposed to attending his monthly open AA meetings with him. I am just curious if this is enough or if I need to talk to other women/men who are romantically involved with alcoholics. It appears that many of the Alanons that I have met were in relationships with their husbands/wives before they quit drinking. I haven't met anyone in my similar situation, where they met and fell in love with the long-recovering alcoholic. Advice?
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:16 PM
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Al-Anon was originally started to help those directly affected by alcoholism. Growing up with any sort of relationship with an alcoholic is extremely draining, because an active alcoholic tends to suck the life and energy out of anyone who will allow them to do so.

Those who stick around the alcoholic in their lives tend to lose or damage their own sense of self, their self-esteem, and their will to tend to their own health and needs, because the alcoholic is very successful at convincing these people that they do not deserve to be cared for.

That said, Al-Anon teaches many wonderful skills and ways of thinking. It is for the person dealing with the alcoholic, not to help them deal with helping the alcoholic, but to help them learn to take care of themselves.
Although rare, it is not unheard of for people who have not had any contact with any alcoholics in their personal lives to attend, simply to learn these ways of thinking.
It is extremely common for people to continue to attend, even long after the alcoholic becomes sober, or after the alcoholic is no longer in their lives.



Originally Posted by flipdog View Post
My main question is whether Alanon would even benefit me or not.
Would Al-Anon benefit you? Yes. Although it may be in a different way than the average person in Al-Anon.

There's no requirement to go...
That said, it doesn't hurt to try and see if you like it, even if it's for other reasons than others in the meeting.
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:53 PM
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I think almost anyone in the world would benefit from a 12-Step program, even if they suffer from no addictions at all. It's a great way to live.

In addition, the fact that it is such a central part of YOUR alcoholic's life means that it will help you to understand where he's coming from, and give you something beautiful that you can share.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:20 PM
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My RABF was doing great when we started being together. But al-anon did help me with an understanding on what he had put others through while he was drinking. He minimized his past (as they do) and it wasn't until he relapsed that I was glad I had some al-anon under my belt otherwise I would have been a complete mess.

Whether I 'needed' to go is hard to say. SR helps me just as much (or in some ways more). If you sat in and felt you would benefit then you definately aren't harming yourself by participating. As time goes on and if you stay with him, little things will crop up that may be more of a challenge to understand in terms of his recovery and your relationship. Al-anon could help those bumps.
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:16 PM
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I am biased, but totaly agree with Lexicat..I think ANYONE could benefit from the alanon principles..they help me with every area of my life.
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:41 PM
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First, the fact that he is in recovery for 12 years is good, especially if they have been continuous. Now, if he is attending AlAnon, in addition to AA like I do, because he has A's in his life (ie parents, siblings, children, and sponsees) great.

When I started attending AlAnon, I was 3 years sober and my husband was 5 years sober, but something was wrong. AlAnon helped me to continue to work on me, and the 'something wrong' eventually revealed itself as him having switched his addiction to gambling.

I have continued with AlAnon all these years, continuing to work on me, as AlAnon has given me a totally different perspective on the 12 steps than AA has, and I do continue to work with AA sponsees.

It certainly will not harm you to try AlAnon, however, I would suggest that you attend different meetings than your boyfriend ....... gives one more freedom to 'open up' in a meeting. In some areas they also have a monthly or bi-weekly meeting of both AA and AlAnon which are quite unique.

I M H O, give it a try, at least 6 different meetings and see if you think you will get any benefit for YOURSELF.

Love and hugs,
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:32 PM
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I agree completely...

Laurie is correct in what she is saying. The bottom line is this, and with all due respect to your boyfriend, nobody should be telling you you do, or don't, need Alanon. That decision, and that opinion, is yours and yours alone.

If you want to go, go. If not, don't. However, I will tell you that my personal opinion is that almost anybody can benefit from Alanon, whether in a relationship with an Alcoholic or not. I began going in 2003. My life would have been so, so much better if I'd started going in 1983. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I didn't.

Take care, take what you want, and leave the rest.

Cyranoak


Originally Posted by laurie6781 View Post
First, the fact that he is in recovery for 12 years is good, especially if they have been continuous. Now, if he is attending AlAnon, in addition to AA like I do, because he has A's in his life (ie parents, siblings, children, and sponsees) great.

When I started attending AlAnon, I was 3 years sober and my husband was 5 years sober, but something was wrong. AlAnon helped me to continue to work on me, and the 'something wrong' eventually revealed itself as him having switched his addiction to gambling.

I have continued with AlAnon all these years, continuing to work on me, as AlAnon has given me a totally different perspective on the 12 steps than AA has, and I do continue to work with AA sponsees.

It certainly will not harm you to try AlAnon, however, I would suggest that you attend different meetings than your boyfriend ....... gives one more freedom to 'open up' in a meeting. In some areas they also have a monthly or bi-weekly meeting of both AA and AlAnon which are quite unique.

I M H O, give it a try, at least 6 different meetings and see if you think you will get any benefit for YOURSELF.

Love and hugs,
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:24 AM
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Thank you all for your words of wisdom. There is some very good advice here that I will take to heart and follow! You've helped me think about this issue from a different perspective than my original one. Thanks again!
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:35 PM
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Suggest you stop going to AA meetings with him.....it's not your disease and we alcoholics must take this walk for ourselves.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:38 PM
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^^^hummm, good advice...I am walking my al anon alone too...and its ALLL MINE!! (YAY!)
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
Suggest you stop going to AA meetings with him.....it's not your disease and we alcoholics must take this walk for ourselves.
@nycdoglvr: I have only attended OPEN AA meetings with him at his request, and he appreciates my attendance and support. I know and understand that this is not my disease. I'm not trying to "fix" anyone here. I'm just trying to learn and understand more about it.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:38 AM
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Yeah, I think the suggestion might be a little territorial and hasty. Being invited to open meetings to gain better insight into alcoholism is a far cry from wanting to walk someone else's path. But...there is a line when it does become that - which is where Al-Anon can be helpful to disentangle one's self.

I think you're fine - doing the right thing by educating yourself to the resources out there. Al-Anon would welcome you anytime you felt you needed it.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:50 AM
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One of my greatest resources at the beginning, when I was trying to find help for myself, was someone at work who is a giant advocate of AA.
He was very open about being an RA, and he helped me understand (more than anyone in Al-Anon could have) how little responsibility I had over XABF's drinking, unlike what XABF always told me. I learned that the only fault I had regarding the alcohol was in letting him get away with it over and over again.

Learning information from the recovering alcoholics can be a great tool, to understand what the alcoholic is going through, to understand the tricks alcoholics use, and to help us get rid of the baggage we're carrying around blaming the alcoholism on ourselves.
As much as Al-Anon helps by reminding us that we didn't cause it, we can't control it, and we can't cure it, those same sentiments carry even more weight when they're coming from a recovering alcoholic. It stops feeling like a betrayal of the one we love, and more like a gift.
AA is a great resource for anyone in our shoes - that said, there is definitely a point where we need Al-Anon, because AA will not help us recover, it only helps us let go of the alcoholic's outcome so that we can focus on ourselves.

That's been my experience, anyway!
As always, take what you like, and leave the rest.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:20 AM
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Hi flipdog. I am in a situation similar to yours, dating a recovering alcholic for 2+ years now. A few months into our relationship after an argument, I did seek out and start attending Al-Anon meetings. Like you, I saw a future with this man and wanted to understand the disease of alcoholism better. I figured it could dome no harm. Interestingly, I learned more about alcoholism at the few open AA meetings I attended with him on his request (I was quite open to attending too). I found that the Al-Anon meetings actually shine the light back on ME and my behaviors. The way I see it now is Al-Anon is my program and AA is his, with both founded on the same principles and steps. It gives us a common ground. I don't attend regularly, but often when I walk into an Al-Anon meeting, I feel down about our relationship. I always walk out feeling better with a greater perspective having heard from others who deal with the disease of alcoholism in their lives.

Take care of yourself in the relationship. Enjoy the good, anticipate the bad and overcome it. Be well.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:16 PM
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Thumbs up You Need Al-anon!!

I began dating a man in recovery 5 years ago...while we were dating, he was really into his recovery and we were in that "in love" stage...everything was wonderful and he seemed like a normal guy. I didn't think I needed al-anon. Then, we got married. He's been on a dry drunk for the last two years.

It's been hell. The manipulation, the rage, and the need for perfection are horrible. It's affected my kids also. Now that I am learning more, I realized he started manipulating me early in our relationship only I didn't recognize it - I had never been around someone who did anything like that. I justified some of his behavior as time went on because of his knee or back problems etc....I wish I had known so much more back then - I could have avoided a horrible situation.....

Now, I am focusing on setting boundaries and trying to decide if the marriage is worth all of the pain, sleepless nights, and fights. And yes, Al-anon helps.

I think it would help you to listen to the people at al-anon talk - as they talk about the manipulation etc, it will open your eyes to what can happen...

Learn as much as you can before commiting to him!
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:54 PM
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You don't need ALANON,

You need a different boyfriend
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