No, I'm not actively participating in Al-Anon. I went for about 3 months or so. It helped a lot at first. They never talked about the steps. The conversations ended up being about the same thing each week. It began to feel like a broken record; just stuck on the same song and never moving forward.
I suggest you look around into other meetings then. Every group is a bit different, and there are plenty of them out there that concentrate on the solution, rather than the problem.
Seconding Lexie's suggestion. I've only ever been to one meeting that was outright BAD, and it wasn't a meeting so much as a lone person who clearly had some mental/emotional issues who was pretending to be a meeting...but certainly I've been to meetings that I found more and less helpful.
Here's a paraphrased version of what I posted on this topic in a different thread:
Find a meeting or meetings that seem to be a good fit for you. Try a few to see. The one closest to you or at the most convenient time isn't necessarily the best one for you.
Then go regularly. Read Alanon literature--tons of Alanon books are available used on Amazon for very reasonable prices. This will help get you jump-started on how the program works.
Truthfully, there can be just as much help found in conversations with an individual or two after the meeting while putting away chairs or at a coffee shop before or after the meeting as you'd find in the meeting itself.
The catch to Alanon is this: I have to do the work. An Alanon saying is "It works if you work it", meaning that the program works as well as the amount of effort that I put into it. If I get out for a run once a week and eat healthy twice a week, how much can I really complain if I don't lose any weight or feel any better? Same with Alanon--popping in to a speaker meeting once in a while or sitting quietly in a group that I attend once a month isn't going to do a lot for me.
I will confess that I never did go the full route and get a sponsor, but I did attend the same particular meetings as regularly as I could, given that I had jobs/schedules that changed often during those years. I read Alanon literature. I signed up to chair a meeting once in a while (awkward, nervous, but not going to kill me, right?). I signed up to be the person who picked a topic and gave the lead-off share. I volunteered once a month at the Alanon office. I shared at meetings if I felt I had something worthwhile to say, and I did my best to be brief and clear in that share. Otherwise I passed. I listened carefully to what was said by others.
The very first night I was alone after XAH moved out, someone I'd never met emailed me and said she was looking for someone to go to a meeting the next day and take a walk afterwards. I accepted and was glad I did--it was just what I needed.
On two occasions, to my great alarm, newbies called ME off the phone list they'd received and asked if I'd meet them for coffee before the meetings. Holy carpfish! Well, the saying from AA is "suit up and show up", so that's what I did, and I'd like to think I was of some use to these folks...
So what I'm saying here, in my not-so-subtle way, is that you gotta get involved if you want to reap the benefits. Just sitting in a meeting won't put me into recovery any more than sitting in my garage will make me into a car. It's an active program, not a passive "fix-me" thing.
If you give it a try from that angle, you might find you feel very different about it.
I hope you do find a different Alanon group and that you get active in it. I am not one of those folks who makes Alanon the center of her life, but I do know that I need to work for my recovery; it won't happen by osmosis.
And as honeypig said, it's often the case that you'll need to try a few different meetings before you find one (or a few) that feels right. A big part of what feels right, as Lexicat says, is that the participants focus on themselves and solutions, not on alcoholics and problems. This reminder is also part of every Al-Anon meeting at the beginning.
The Twelve Traditions of Al-Anon state:
So the "primary purpose" in Tradition 5 is really the only restriction, along with not acting in a way that interferes with Al-Anon as a whole. If the group wants to use non-conference approved literature, it can. If it wants to have cross-talk, prayers, no prayers, it can.
Pays to take some time to find a group that is a good fit.
A lawyer to me means that I'm leaving and I'm not ready for that.
I wasn't ready and by the time I was I'd wasted 20 years of my life. I stayed out of fear of change and being alone. I love being alone now but I look back and have no good memories of those years at all. I could kick myself for not getting out sooner. Am too old to start again relationship wise and too young to be by myself for the rest of my life. I fell between two stools. I hope you manage it. You only have one precious life.
[QUOTE=hopeful4;6513268] Yes, you are exactly right. I do feel robbed of my life. You hit the nail on the head with this response. Thank you. It helps so much to know I'm not alone.
Yes, I think you summed it up, FA. If an Alanon group is indeed wallowing in the problem and not searching for solutions, that's not a healthy or useful group, and the newcomer would do well to move on.
I'm also surprised to hear that Alanon allows the use of non-conference approved literature. I don't think that choice is allowed in my area, as I know of one group that chose the AA Big Book as their book study. Because of this, the local Alanon office refused to list that meeting in their directory, and the only way you could find out about it was to talk to someone who attended. I know this b/c I had called down there for info, not seeing it in the directory, and was told rather snootily that there was no such meeting, and if it used the AA Big Book, it wasn't an "Alanon" meeting.
We called it the "Rebel Meeting." I attended several times and it sure seemed like a good enough meeting. One cool thing they did that I had not seen before was that one of the last things they did before closing the meeting was to go around the circle and allow anyone who wished to, to ask for prayers/thoughts/wishes for anyone they chose. Then there was a moment of silent prayer/meditation. No "Alanon cheer", no Lord's Prayer (which is the ending of virtually every meeting in my area).
However, there was a meeting closer to me and at the same time that was equally good, so if I went to a meeting on that day at that time, I usually went to the other one.
Sounds like that was purely local prejudice, then, about what constitutes a legit Alanon meeting, from what you're saying, Lexie.
It may have been less about the use of non-conference-approved literature, hp, than about "primary purpose"--AA's Big Book is the AA program of recovery. So use of that program's BB might have just seemed too much of a deviation from "primary purpose." The local "governing" bodies are but trusted servants, chosen by the groups in the area, and they are the ones who make the call on stuff like this.
My point really was that it's largely up to each group how they run their meetings. There's actually an awful lot of variations, sometimes from one part of the country to another.
New and scared
I'm new on here...I never dreamed I would be writing in a forum like this.....
I met my af when I was 22,he is a few years older than me and so I naively thought it was a sign of sophistication to be drinking a bottle of wine a night. The newness of the relationship caused me not to question it I guess.
I fell pregnant with our little boy a couple of years in. He is an amazingly devoted dad despite his issue with alcohol and our little boy worships him.
When our son was born he didn't wake up one night to feed him as he had promised me. Unbeknown to me he had started drinking when I went to bed. It was a wake up call and he then became t-total for 6 years.
However last year he wanted to celebrate my birthday with me and decided he was going to have a drink. I begged him not to. Told him he would not be able to resist more if he started again but he was certain he was a changed person.
I sit here one year down the line. He now drinks about 2 bottles of wine a night. Last night it was a bottle of wine and a bottle of vodka. I woke up to a bathroom full of sick.
He has on many occasions said he will stop altogether, or only drink at the weekends but every time he goes back on this. I've now told him it's over and he does not seem bothered. He blames me for his drinking I make him miserable with my judgmental ways.
He has plunged us into loads of debt and I figure I need at least 6 months to get finances straight before I can actually get out of here....I just can't believe he chose the drink and not me. And he chose the drink and not our little family. My poor little boy. I'll never forgive him for this......
Sorry you're having to deal with this. Just know that it isn't totally a matter of "choice" when it comes to alcoholism. I'm not justifying or excusing his irresponsible behavior, but when it comes to actual drinking, alcoholics lose the power to choose not to drink. And it generally takes some pretty big losses for them to accept that their messed-up lives are due to the alcohol--that their lives have become unmanageable--and that living sober is the only answer.
Have you consulted with a lawyer? Apparently you aren't married, but a family law attorney can advise you on how to get your financial lives separated. He will be responsible for paying child support no matter what. You will also want a custody/visitation order. Without that, depending on the law where you live, he will most likely have equal rights to custody and if he decided to simply take your son it might be a daunting process to get him back. Do you own or rent your home? In whose name(s) is the lease/deed?
Oh, and if you aren't already going to Al-Anon, I HIGHLY recommend it. It was a complete lifeline for me when I was in the process of leaving my second husband. Some groups have childcare and some would allow you to bring your son as long as he isn't disruptive (you could take him outside if he got restless).
Saturday was the "usual" when it comes to my AH. I had a good weekend though. It was nice & quiet; worked on some things around the house. I purged my closet of clothes. Have you ever came across something in your closet and said to yourself "What the hell was I thinking?!" LOL.
After dinner on Saturday, my AH wanted to go for some ice cream. Yum. I value my life, btw. However, he proceeded in thinking he was going to drive. Uh, NO. Hell NO. Again, I value my life as well as others. All I have to say is "What the Hell?!" He pouted for 10 minutes. I drove, we both got ice cream, and he stopped pouting once he got the ice cream.
Have you ever came across something in your closet and said to yourself "What the hell was I thinking?!" LOL.
we can take that approach with the PEOPLE in our lives as well!!!
Hi Flower! It sounds like our weekends were similar. Man, I dread Fridays anymore. It's sad that my closest friends now know when I say it's a "usual" weekend it means it involved my AH binge drinking all night Friday and all day Saturday. My AH also thinks he's ok to drive when he's been drinking and I have taken the keys and driven to avoid having him drive drunk. I've thought before though, is this enabling behavior? Or is it just keeping myself and others safe?
Hello all-I don't think I've been on here for a while now. I get email updates and sometimes check out threads through that, but I'm having a hard time. I've been thinking about the train that I'm on. You know, the Crazy Train. Things happen and I just think "WTF?! Am I in a real life right now? Is this truly happening?".
I'm just going to think out loud here-Just let my words fall out.
My AH is still at it, of course. I never really thought that he would improve. I just honestly think that I maybe slowed the situation down a bit. Can I call it a situation? What do you call it? A nightmare? The twilight zone? I'm a little sleep deprived from spending an evening at the hospital. This wasn't a result of his drinking but I do think that the other medical issues do stem from the alcohol. Things pop up all the time; there seems to be a constant stream of complaints about aches and pains. I'm to the point where I think mental illness is becoming more apparent. Is alcoholism a form of mental illness?
Does alcoholism cause other mental illnesses? Such as the need for perfectionism, or OCD, or hypochondriac? Depression? All of these enter my mind after seeing the things and hearing the things that I do.
My AH has also has ventured into the world of verbal abuse. He doesn't call me names or anything. I'm waiting for that to happen. I just remove myself from the situation. He'll apologize, even perhaps play the victim a bit. Then does it again. He apologizes. Repeat. The apologies really mean nothing to me at this point anymore. He seems to be losing his self-control (his filter?). I experienced this last night while we were at the urgent care (which turned into an ER trip). He accused me of not caring. He had a stone cold angry look on his face while I was sitting with him in the medical room. I got a glimpse of the angry man that I think he's become. The outbursts are becoming more frequent. The Crazy Train is going faster. Have I gotten a little immune of the "medical" situations and even a little numb to the irrational outbursts? Yes, I think so. I feel that he sometimes looks for attention and validation. He's the victim, it seems. I've learned to take the emotion out of it to try to protect myself a bit. I'm trying not to absorb this craziness and he can see that. But he doesn't understand it because it doesn't serve his purpose.
I hate that I'm angry. I still look at his alcohol level on the bottle. I try not to because I know that it serves no purpose. But it makes me angry that he's doing a good job of secret drinking. It's not really a secret because he can't hide the monster that he becomes. "Monster" might be too strong of a word. I just can tell. The vacant, unfocused look on his face says it all. I think he's drinking in the morning on the weekends now too. There are days, usually Sundays, that he's drunk but I never actually see the drink. I'm convinced that he's just chugging straight from the bottle when I'm out of the room or off doing something. Again, it makes no matter how so I just struggle with WHY I do that. It only makes me angry and disappointed. I always want to have hope though. I'm just hoping that he'll magically wake up one day and STOP. LOL. That's crazy talk because I know that'll never happen.
I have my own issues. My anger. My disappointment. I'm an emotional eater and need to lose weight (about 30 lbs). I can't really talk to him. I avoid talking to him and I don't share things with him intentionally. I've told white lies to avoid conflicts. I walk on eggshells with him. I don't think he copes well and he actually causes drama which makes things worse. I'm, however, conflict avoidant. This is gotten better over time.
He's needy and has become more clingy. I'm suffocating, yet I'm lonely. We have the same talks over and over again. Yet, nothing changes. We don't know how to change, or even where to begin. I told him a few weeks ago that I didn't think we could do well together if we're not individually well. I'm not sure that we'll make it.
Well, that was a long post. If you're still sticking with it-thanks for reading.
Hi Flower, it's good to hear from you although I hate to hear things seem to be escalating into an even worse situation.
You are right, your protecting yourself emotionally will only enrage him more. I hope he does not ever become physically violent and that you have a future plan for what you may do if he does.
You do know that emotional abuse is a form of abuse. I know for myself that entitled me to free counseling through a womens domestic support/shelter place. I simply had to call, tell them the situation and they set it all up. There was no pressure but it was a big help during a time I really needed it. Abuse comes in all forms, and physical is only one of them, emotional is just as bad.
Sending you lots of support. Please take good care of yourself!
Yes, I'm aware that he's moved into the verbal/emotional abuse. It's hard to figure out what's a normal part of marriage. I don't want to be a person that doesn't forgive. Someone that doesn't forgive is someone that has allowed anger to rule their world and will always be looking backwards instead of forwards. I want it to work. I want to have hope.
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