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I can't really accept Al-anon

Old 08-01-2011, 06:16 PM
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I can't really accept Al-anon

Hi,

Lately I am having a hard time accepting alanon as a good tool for me to heal. I have gone to many meetings and I see how it helps, but there is something that continues to turn me away.

It isn't talked about very often, but are there any others out there who don't feel anonimity is always kept, or that everyone is there for the right reasons?

The AA/Al-anon family where I live is relatively small, and my abf has been involoved now for about seven years. A lot of that time was while he was with his xgf who loves to be involved in everything. She broke up with him last summer and about two months later our relationship became romantic. Once she found out he wasn't going to come crawling back to her she did everything in her power to hurt him. She was so involved with all of his friends from AA that he no longer felt like he had a support group and had to replace his sponsor and find a new home group.

I don't feel comfortable attending the alanon meetings because I am not sure who she knows, what meetings she will be at, and aside from that, if she is so involved in al-anon then I don't want to be. She is very selfish and puts her needs before their daughters, it all makes me sick.

I don't know what to do anymore, and unfortunately Al-anon isn't somewhere I feel safe. I have gone but it is hard for me to open up when I don't know what will be relayed. The anonimity isn't always there. Has anyone else been through something like this?

I just don't know where to turn, other than here
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:19 PM
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There are some people who do not like Al-Anon for a variety of reasons, and I think that's OK. Have you considered some form of individual counseling? Perhaps you would feel more comfortable one-on-one in a more private setting.

Whatever you choose, good luck as you move forward! HG
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:27 PM
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It's ok if you can't. You've been to many meetings and it still doesn't feel right for you, and if you have only one meeting to choose from then you can't try other meetings to see what you think.

I will say that putting your needs in front of those of your children is not always bad. Often I put my needs first, especially when I need to in order to be a good parent. If I don't care for myself I can't care for her.

Other times I put her first. It just depends, but I'm sure from the outside somebody who doesn't know my whole story is saying I'm selfish and a bad parent because I do so.

Good luck.

Cyranoak
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:28 PM
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I have not struggled with the same reasons you are with Al-Anon, but at times I have struggled. For me admitting that I was struggling was a big step. I had never admitted I struggled with something that provided a structure or a framework before. Talking about it in Al-Anon and with my counselor helped. I have had to hold on very tight for a little bit right now of "Take what you like and leave the rest."

I am in agreement that there are other options (many of which I have used). Here is one of them.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:56 PM
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Al-anon didn't feel right to me either and I went to lots of meetings. It seemed to help people here and at the meetings but it never worked for me. I'm more of a person that wants feedback and the shares are great but you can't give feedback. That was frustrating to me.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:09 PM
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I have been through many cycles of al-anon where I feel like I get so much out of it, then I've had times where I'm looking at my watch wondering when the meeting is going to end.

I have never felt uncomfortable with anonymity in an al-anon setting, but I don't socialize with those people with the exception of al-anon and now I've friended a few on facebook. We have an unspoken agreement that our al-anon life and our facebook life is separate, and that's ok with me.

But I understand your feelings, and it's a shame you can't find al-anon in a nearby town; I have been to meetings all over, by my house, by my sister's house, driving up to 40 minutes sometimes. Some meetings are great and I go back again and again when my schedule permits and others, I've been to once and just didn't feel like I fit with the people there.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:24 PM
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Me too. I had a great group in my old state, but now I like CoDA much better. However, there are fewer meetings, even in a large city where I am.

Heck, I figure that such a huge component of my codependence was NOT listening to myself and making decisions that were right for me, the very decision to choose what fits and feels good and right is part of healing from being a codie.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Serenity8 View Post
I have been through many cycles of al-anon where I feel like I get so much out of it, then I've had times where I'm looking at my watch wondering when the meeting is going to end.

I have never felt uncomfortable with anonymity in an al-anon setting, but I don't socialize with those people with the exception of al-anon and now I've friended a few on facebook. We have an unspoken agreement that our al-anon life and our facebook life is separate, and that's ok with me.

But I understand your feelings, and it's a shame you can't find al-anon in a nearby town; I have been to meetings all over, by my house, by my sister's house, driving up to 40 minutes sometimes. Some meetings are great and I go back again and again when my schedule permits and others, I've been to once and just didn't feel like I fit with the people there.
I'm with Serenity on this one. Some days, meh...other days, WOW! It ebbs and flows for me. And that's ok. as long as I am ok.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:47 PM
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Last summer, I went to a bunch of AA meetings with my Mum and stepdad in another state, and enjoyed them tremendously. I think going through the 12 steps must be an excellent exercise. And Lord knows I've drunk irresponsibly in my life. I'm contemplating giving AA a try, perhaps finding an all women's meeting at first. Although I'm in counseling, she specializes in DV and I need that, but she doesn't know much about alcoholism. Yup, thinking about trying AA and doing the 12 steps with a woman sponsor.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:10 AM
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Cyranoak, thanks for the advice. When I say she puts her needs before that of her daughter's I don't mean that she spends time in support groups, I mean that she uses her child as a bargaining chip in disputes with my bf. She rarely allows him to see her and it is not because she feels the girl would be at risk with him. If he moved back with her she would allow him to be with her alone immediately.


I have tried more than one alanon meeting, but I know she has friends at them in all neighboring areas. I guess should focus more on the program because I do like what it teaches, and worry less about whether someone with the wrong intentions is listening to me. I guess I just wish the support group was exactly that, and personalities were left out.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:43 AM
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Shirt~ I have a similar problem. I love the program itself, but being from a small community, people rotate through the same meetings. Which is fine... except when you want and need to be anonymous from certain people. The anonymity is supposed to be what makes it "safe" to share. With that missing, the element of safety is gone for me many times. If I find myself at the same meeting as someone I have set personal boundaries to keep a distance from, I can't share and open up. I just sit there. It's difficult when you find yourself in the same meeting as someone you really need to avoid.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:02 AM
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I get concerned as an AAer because I live in a small community also and my husband is working towards a new position in his job. I've started coming here more to fill in until he gets his advancement. It's nothing he has asked me to do as he is not controlling in that sense but I want to make sure there are no barriers.

Once this process is complete I will return to my more frequent schedule. I don't feel that it has hurt my recovery.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:01 PM
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I've only read OP so apologies if this is a restatement.
The thread title says it all to me.
"I can't really accept..."
The cornerstone to Al-Anon is acceptance. The entire program revolves around this primary concept. It's another way of saying "letting go". When I first came into the rooms I had not come to terms with my powerlessness over alcoholism and its effects on my qualifier and on me. It took time to accept and to let go. The unwillingness to accept is what led to the unmanageability that drove me in search of a solution to begin with.

In other words, I found that my unwillingness to accept was the main reason I needed Al-Anon.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:52 PM
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I agree with the post that said Al-Anon's cornerstone is built on acceptance. If you can't accept it, it's going to be much harder. Or maybe surrender. Not everyone can do it when they first get here.

The thing that struck me about your post was that it shouldn't matter who is at those meetings if you are working on yourself. Meaning that in the meetings I go to, we don't spend much time discussing our personal problems or issues. We share our experience strength and hope and what we are doing that is working for us. In other words, for me even if it wasn't anonymous, which I get it's supposed to be, but even if it wasn't, you couldn't really tell much from what I share about my personal life. I just take what I like and leave the rest. And if I share on a topic, I never say who my qualifer is, just talk about situations. There are plenty of situations that Al-anon helps me with in my life that have nothing to do with A's. It's really about me and my reaction to different situations, how I see them, how they affect me, negatively or positively.

I don't think I'm making myself clear. What I am basically trying to say is if Al-Anon helps you in any way, even a little, then I wouldn't let anyone stand in the way of my recovery, even if it was a bit uncomfortable at times. Hope this helps.

Peace,
Jen
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:40 AM
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I was an alanon member also and began to attend support group meetings for families of addicts. These were sponsored by local rehabs and helped greatly as we were able discuss our loved ones issues and also ask questions.

These groups were scientific/medical in nature as opposed to alanons 12 step syllabus.


I also attended open AA meetings to learn about the hell that alcoholics go through. This helped me to understand aw and even replace despair and anger with compassion and understanding.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:22 PM
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I went to Al-Anon over the years and it helped me on and off whilst I was living with an A. When my A left, I found myself dragging my feet to Al-Anon. I also live in a small town so there are not too many meetings to choose from. I ended up finding myself in AA. I found this a tremendous help for me, maybe because, and I didn't realise at the time, that I drank alcoholically during my younger years then swapped the substance for a person/people and then in the last two years picked up the drink again. I finally admitted I had a problem with drinking myself and found the difference between being 'dry' and sober. Like suggested, maybe some one on one counselling with the right counsellor...one that's a fit for you...where-ever you feel safe and your anonymity is assured...
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