I may leave Al Anon

Old 05-26-2013, 08:03 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
I may leave Al Anon

I've been in Al Anon close to 4 years now and in recovery from being a codie as long (and still am working hard on it).
There were many days the teachings and people of al anon saved my life and taught me serenity, but I no longer feel this way.
I used to leave my meetings feeling energized, now I just feel drained.

There are times I sit in my group and feel like I'm working on recovery but more often than not, I feel like al anon is keeping me stuck.
Stuck because of all the negative stories I hear. Some of the old timers repeat their stories over and over, Some of these great folks have been in al anon over 30 yrs and repeat the same story week after week for 4 years. They talk about their depression, their horrible partners, their horrible kids, their horrible jobs, how they need to be on tons of meds to cope etc..
If these were friends in my life and I had to listen to this week after week, I would be told to stay away from them because it's toxic.
This is not to say there are not healing stories as well, but they are few and far between in groups (or in the groups I've attended)

Take what you need and leave the rest, yes, but I get very little now from going to meetings.
Talking about my past and hearing others is not conducive to my healing at all any more. This is also why I rarely come to msg boards anymore either.

I'm a health care professional and have been training with a well known doctor to improve my own patients spiritual health but he's working with me on my own health as well. The concept is "the wounded healer", and I learn to work on my own health so I can help the health of my patients. I've made more strides with him in 5 months than in my 4 yrs of Al Anon, which I hate even admitting.

Al Anon has saved many lives and is a wonderful program for those dealing with pain, but I think I just may have out-grown it. My group leader tells me one needs to be in Al Anon a lifetime in order to heal. I disagree

Has anyone else ever felt this way? This is a huge decision I need to make because I love my home group and feel a real connection to them, but in the last 3 months feel worse when I leave there.

This is a seriously thing for me so I would appreciate respectful and non judgmental comments/advice
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 08:18 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
I think it's an individual decision, Summer. I think you can continue to apply the Al-Anon principles in your life without attending meetings. You don't have to stop growing because you aren't going to meetings, either.

Just a couple of thoughts to consider--and this is not meant as a guilt-trip. Ultimately, we all have to do what is best for ourselves. Do you have newcomers at your meetings? Or is it usually the same group, over and over and over? If it's always the same people, maybe a group that meets at a hospital or rehab, where new people come in all the time, would be a refreshing change for you. Newcomers need to hear that there is HOPE. Not necessarily for the alcoholic, but for them. Your story of recovery could help them realize that there is a whole life out there for them waiting to be lived. After all, the Al-Anon message isn't that live can be grimly lived and suffered through. When I was new, I really looked up to those people who seemed to have REAL serenity in their lives, even when sad or upsetting things happened--and even if there were tears involved.
LexieCat is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 08:32 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
Hi Lexie thanks for your reply.
I still read my literature and apply many principles to my daily life and to my patients as well. And agree I do not need to be there to get the benefits.

Yes we have newcomers but not often. Many of them do tend to want to befriend me because they want to hear my stories, but maybe because I am in the field of health, I cannot emotionally spread myself too thin with my patients and newcomers.
I love helping people, it's my business, but at the end of the day, helping too many triggers my codie need to "Save the world". My group leader thinks I would make a great sponsor, but no way I can take any more on my plate (emotionally).

One newcomer in my group is also in AA (6 yrs sober) and you can see she has a seriously personality disorder. She shares about her "7 addict kids" and laughed when she talked about how "I kicked them out at 16 to fed for themselves" and her "many intimate relationships with AA men" and it has my head spinning and I just cannot bring myself to even want to help her because it makes me feel toxic.
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 08:33 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Community Greeter
 
dandylion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 16,251
Dear Summerpeach, I was just about to type a post to you--but Lexie typed it for me!!!
dandylion is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 08:42 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
EnglishGarden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: new moon road
Posts: 1,545
My feeling is that anyone who tells you that you must go to Al-Anon "for life" is of a fundamentalist mindset, similar to that of fundamentalists in religious groups who also tell their members they will not be okay if they leave.

If you have found a "wonderful doctor" who is helping you heal, then you have found the spiritual and emotional medicine which fits you where you are today. If the Al-Anon meetings you attend do not bring you peace and comfort, but instead leave you with a feeling of alienation and loneliness, then I agree with you that there is little motivation for you to continue the meetings. We need a balance in the meetings: we give experience and hope, but as well we need to receive those things.

The important approach, though, is to have the view which I think you convey in your post: Al-Anon helps many many people who are lost in the vortex of addiction in their families and, especially for those who have not the resources for private doctors and counselors, the meetings can bring sanity and changed behaviors which can further recovery in both themselves and the alcoholic. It is extremely difficult to change one's behaviors and thinking in the alcoholic relationship, and without outside support, most people cannot do it. The meetings are available to one and all, they do offer real hope for change.

I, too, have witnessed some members who have been in a group for years and years who seem to be unable to find real serenity and joy, and who do not represent the "promises" of the 12-Step program: to be free of the past, of guilt and shame and regret, and to be accepting of one's beautiful and imperfect humanity. Such members can throw a pall over an entire meeting. If this happens consistently, if you realize that your meeting is unlikely to change, then it seems you are healthier in letting it go. Part of your growth lies in accepting the things you cannot change.

My therapist--a Jungian analyst with whom I've worked for going on 8 years--tells me that being able to trust my higher Self--the Divine voice within me-- no matter whether I am attending meetings or not, that is my true goal. Al-Anon was exactly where I needed to be when alcoholism overtook my personal life in marriage to an alcoholic. I needed the education and the structure it offered me week after week. But if I ever think I will not be okay without the meetings, then I think I have narrowed my view too much of the many ways in which one's Higher Power can contact the deep Self.

But this one thing is essential in any program of healing from alcoholism: one must change one's enabling behaviors. If that doesn't happen, then one will continue riding that merry-go-round with the alcoholic, to the detriment of both individuals. Outside help is essential. Addiction is too powerful and consuming. It fogs the life and the mind and sets the codependent involved on a destructive course. If the individual does not fully realize this, he or she is at great risk.

We must find help when we are being destroyed by someone's addiction. And Al-Anon is always a good place to start that process. Where it leads is purely individual and is between one's own Higher Power and one's own destined path.
EnglishGarden is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 08:58 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
atalose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,104
I can really relate to some of the things you are feeling about al-anon. My home group was also filled with old timers 25 + years and only a few new comers me being one of them. After several years I began to feel like you, hearing the same old stores over and over and over again. I was finding myself getting annoyed at certain people and doing the rolling eye thing to myself when they talked. I took a break from meetings. I still read daily, came here and kept in contact with other al-anon members who felt the same way.

Then I heard how much the meeting at that location had changed. Sadly some of the old timers had passed away or had moved to live with their children or into nursing homes. I went back and enjoyed the meetings again. I find with myself that I do need to take a time out, stay away from them for a bit, but thatís just me.

((hugs))
atalose is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 09:02 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
English: what a beautiful reply, thank you so much for that.

You say "Al-Anon was exactly where I needed to be when alcoholism overtook my personal life in marriage to an alcoholic. I needed the education and the structure it offered me week after week. But if I ever think I will not be okay without the meetings, then I think I have narrowed my view too much of the many ways in which one's Higher Power can contact the deep Self"

You're right, I needed the structure it offered me at the time, but now it's time to move on. Not to say I won't attend another meeting, but I will no longer attend weekly.
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 09:06 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
Originally Posted by atalose View Post
I can really relate to some of the things you are feeling about al-anon. My home group was also filled with old timers 25 + years and only a few new comers me being one of them. After several years I began to feel like you, hearing the same old stores over and over and over again. I was finding myself getting annoyed at certain people and doing the rolling eye thing to myself when they talked. I took a break from meetings. I still read daily, came here and kept in contact with other al-anon members who felt the same way.

Then I heard how much the meeting at that location had changed. Sadly some of the old timers had passed away or had moved to live with their children or into nursing homes. I went back and enjoyed the meetings again. I find with myself that I do need to take a time out, stay away from them for a bit, but thatís just me.

((hugs))
Thank you for sharing this.
I respect that people need to share their pains in Al Anon, but one woman has talked about her botched renovation job for 4 yrs. Another woman who's been in the program for 37 yrs (and has no addicts in her family but comes because she thinks her daughter has the "isms') talks every week about her boss'es fax machine and how it never works well and how her husband is sad when she leave the house.
I think for many it becomes a night out with the girls to socialize and just talk about "whatever" and that's ok, but not ok for me.
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 11:02 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Engineer Things; LOVE People
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,712
Originally Posted by Summerpeach View Post

One newcomer in my group is also in AA (6 yrs sober) and you can see she has a seriously personality disorder. She shares about her "7 addict kids" and laughed when she talked about how "I kicked them out at 16 to fed for themselves" and her "many intimate relationships with AA men" and it has my head spinning and I just cannot bring myself to even want to help her because it makes me feel toxic.
mmmm, yeah. Observed but not discussed too often.

You understand, that some are not there for help. More of a dump site.

There is a fair amount of mental illness on the AA side of the wall, and some native to Alanon side, as well, but when it comes over from the AA side, it is usually a little bit . . . out there. At best. I see what you are talking about in our local, closest group as well.

Some were even running back across telling Mrs. Hammer what I had done or said in Alanon. Total mess. And yeah, typically they either are, or belong on meds.

Fortunately I wind up across several groups, now with traveling from time-to-time, and truth is some groups are just more healthy than others.

Bottom line. Try another group, or time or whatever.

Kind of funny, so many folks in Alanon trying to get away from Alcoholics, but here they come, anyway. The AA folks working their program are Golden. But the ones just half-assing and sloppy -- omigod.
Hammer is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 11:51 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
Mrs Hammer....that was cute

I recall the days I was hitting some AA meetings to better "Understand" the addict and I went to a few really good meetings, but in others, I was hit on, or my ex was told to leave me to date only women in AA etc.

These groups have opened the door to some real healing, but I think one has to be very cautious which groups they visit.
My group is so wonderful and kind, but just brings me down. I went to a 12 step group as well and it was one of the worst experiences of my life.
I truly get more or out meditation, Buddhism, spiritual books and exercising, but the this group did help me understand A LOT about me and my actions/reactions.
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 12:13 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,452
Sometimes I wonder if our co-dependent tendencies - which lead us to Alanon in the best and most useful of ways - also can also lead us to feel "obligated" to Alanon, in similar ways that we originally felt "obligated" to our A's.

You've grown, you've given, you give in many ways in your life. Your recovery is about you and what you need, nothing else.

I also had similar feelings about Alanon meetings. Initially, when I was in some level of shock over my AH's actions, the various meetings were very helpful through the crisis. As time went on, my own therapy and Sober Recovery have been my forums, along with my grown kids and a couple of dear friends.

I keep posting here on SR because I continue to grow, and to give back what I have been given. People here have been so generous and wise when I have posted my problems. And here, as I read people's stories and think about how to respond, it makes me dig deeper into my own story and issues and clarify for myself as I try to figure out how to help someone else.

The meetings were eventually, for me, hard to get to and less focused on what I needed to talk about and hear responses about, especially because of the no crosstalk.

ShootingStar1
ShootingStar1 is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 12:15 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Right here, right now!
Posts: 3,408
Summerpeach-

I have been in Al-Anon a little over three years and my relationship with recovery though deepening and internalizing, it is bringing changes in how I attend.

There are five meetings in the town I live in. I attended four of them regularly for the first two years of recovery. I went to some in neighboring towns too.

I also have a great therapist and do other recovery pieces such as body work etc. Those have been in place a long, long time.

Over the last six months I have been sporadically attending meetings (going once a week or so, but rotating through the group of meetings).....

I don't look at it as a "failure" of the program, or my recovery, just that it is playing a different role in my life.

I have put some parameters on myself for this though....if I am feeling disconnected to myself, the world or I am behaving in an isolating way (which i have a tendency to do) then I need to make a meeting in the next 24hrs. I also work in healthcare and though I do not have active addiction in my life anymore if the codie demon starts coming out at work (attempting to fix, control etc) then the same rule applies. That is my rule for myself to keep my recovery on track. I also try to attend an extra meeting if my therapist is gone etc.

I plan on my recovery being lifelong....it has to be because it is a big part of my life.

That does not mean it needs to look the same...in the 13 years I have been working on it it has varied considerably. To me it is important that it has always been there....not that I box it in to looking one way.
LifeRecovery is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 12:32 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
Star brings up a good point, too. You can "carry the message" here at SR as well as in meetings.

Since I haven't lived with an alcoholic for years and years I quit going to Al-Anon. Now the only meetings I attend are AA meetings, which satisfies my personal need for face-to-face recovery. Those I think I will probably attend for the rest of my life--they do good things for me.

But I also find that lots of what I learned in Al-Anon (detachment and how to allow other people to follow their own paths) has helped me in my AA recovery. Being here on SR gives me that dose of Al-Anon and allows me to share my ESH with others in the same situations I lived through. I mostly post here on the FFA forum at SR--I find that the newcomer threads on the alcoholics side are too "all over the map" for me. AA suits me for my recovery from alcoholism. This forum suits me for my Al-Anon recovery.
LexieCat is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 12:49 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Engineer Things; LOVE People
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,712
Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Star brings up a good point, too. You can "carry the message" here at SR as well as in meetings.

And in real life.

We were swapping "crazy wife" stories at work.

One of the guys is living with one off the rails. She goes drunk out every weekend and maybe shows back up before Monday morning to help get the kids to school.

Wound up giving him an Alanon new-comer pack, and setting him up with the company Employee Assistance Program.

Lotta folks need a lotta help out there.

Get yourself clean first (Steps 1 to 11) and then help others (Step 12).
Hammer is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 01:31 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
Originally Posted by ShootingStar1 View Post
Sometimes I wonder if our co-dependent tendencies - which lead us to Alanon in the best and most useful of ways - also can also lead us to feel "obligated" to Alanon, in similar ways that we originally felt "obligated" to our A's.

You've grown, you've given, you give in many ways in your life. Your recovery is about you and what you need, nothing else.

I also had similar feelings about Alanon meetings. Initially, when I was in some level of shock over my AH's actions, the various meetings were very helpful through the crisis. As time went on, my own therapy and Sober Recovery have been my forums, along with my grown kids and a couple of dear friends.

I keep posting here on SR because I continue to grow, and to give back what I have been given. People here have been so generous and wise when I have posted my problems. And here, as I read people's stories and think about how to respond, it makes me dig deeper into my own story and issues and clarify for myself as I try to figure out how to help someone else.

The meetings were eventually, for me, hard to get to and less focused on what I needed to talk about and hear responses about, especially because of the no crosstalk.

ShootingStar1
This is really great. Thanks for sharing. Not only do I feel obligated, then often say if I don't do service work, I can not really heal....um yeah no!
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 01:40 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
My work/passion is sharing and giving insight (I run a huge facebook page as well offering up my work), so I won't ever stop that.
For me, I think it's more about just being around constant negativity and toxicity in some of these meetings.
It could be I am just overloaded in this dept right now. I can't even imagine going to 4 meeting a week because I just can't even give of myself or absorb much more.
My mentor (this doctor is mentoring me, he's not my therapist) says that as much as we need to heal, is as much as we need to step back from it at times too.
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 03:03 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Right here, right now!
Posts: 3,408
I cross posted with ShootingStar and very much agree with what she wrote.

If I am doing something regularly out of obligation it is time to rethink where my motivation is coming from, often it is a sign that I am getting into my codie ways.

For me working in healthcare sometimes what makes me good at my job, also makes it hard for me to determine if I am being codependent or not. I am sure it is similar with other jobs, but nurturing is a big part of the healing professions (and what attracted me to it). Though it often works well at work, I have a tendancy to cross the line in my personal life in that familiar way.

For me it is not about the number of meetings I go to or not, but if it is helping me and others to be there. I needed one thing initially and have different needs now. Writing that brought a tear to my eye....I know what I need and that is enough to determine how I choose to do it.
LifeRecovery is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 06:44 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 137
Thank you so much for this post- all day I have been struggling with the decision whether to continue one of my meetings- and being a codie, I was feeling that I 'had' to keep attending.It has been my 'home' group for the past year, and I too feel that I have outgrown it. Similar to Summerpeach, I come out of it totally depressed and downbeat- I too feel that there is a lot of repetition in the sharings, with some old timers constantly relooping the same stories and others who tend to try to teach us 'newcomers' how it should be done.

Today I realised that I do not need to go- I attend other meetings as well, which I get so much more from, I have a sponsor who I meet very regularly-
My home group in the beginning was wonderful for me, it's structure was safe, comforting and taught me so much- but now I feel that once a month may be enough( there are some people whose uptake on life I really admire).

Reading everybody's replies has highlighted that I am making myself attend these meetings out of guilt, and the dreaded feeling of obligation- in effect I am going to people please- not good for my recovery!
Thanks again, and thanks HP that I logged on here tonight. What a breakthrough!!
Loopydays is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 06:51 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Summerpeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,292
Ahh Loopy I am so happy my thread helped. It's really helped me too and I'm glad I'm not alone with this. Truly appreciate all the constructive replies in here.
Summerpeach is offline  
Old 05-26-2013, 10:28 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Belgian Sheepdog Adictee
 
laurie6781's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: In Today
Posts: 6,101
(((((Summerpeach)))))

I do understand where you're at.

A brief synopsis. I came into AA 6/7/81 and have remained sober and clean since. On my 3rd anniversary (6/7/84) my AA sponsor told me in no uncertain terms that I was to start attending Alanon that day and to get an Alanon sponsor. Whew what an order, but still being a 'full fledged people pleaser' (as Bev's husband says, he too was sober many years in AA, 'ass kisser, lol) I did what she said.

I have never regretted it, as alanon gave me a totally different perspective on the 12 steps from what I had learned in AA.

Now through all of this and as time went on, I realized with the help of both Bev and Pat (she also was a 'double winner' aa and alanon) that the MOST IMPORTANT thing for me has to be BALANCE in my total life. I too was in the health field, am a retired RN and ran my own business doing private home care of the terminally ill and totally incapacitated (and yes IT CAN BE DRAINING to the point of BURNOUT).

Once I understood 'BALANCE', then I had to figure out what it would be for me. Came up with a pretty good working plan and only attended a meeting, be it AA or Alanon when I felt my cup getting below half full.

When in later years I had to sell my business and take early retirement due to some major health issues of my own, I had a dear friend (in AA) say to me, "OH now you can attend a lot more meetings." roflmao She told me I looked at her like she had grown 3 heads as I said "No what I attend now are just fine." lol

Do I have sponsees? sure I do and in both AA and Alanon. However, most of them have now become 'friends' because of our many 'sharings' with each other. I make it a point now to take on no more than one from each group at a time and not necessarily at the same time.

I know that BALANCE is important for all of us, whether we are in AA or Alanon or those that find recovery with SMART, AVRT, Life Ring, Counselor or Therapist, or even the 'normies' that do not seem to require any 'program'. lol I have come to believe that there MUST be BALANCE to live life to its fullest.

Do not feel guilty, this sounds like it is 'right' for you, that you are coming to a new Balance in your own life.

Go for it!!!!!

Love and hugs,
laurie6781 is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:09 AM.