Friday, January 25, 2008

Al-Anon On-line Meeting: Setting Boundaries

On-line Al-Anon Meeting on: Setting Boundaries

If you have found this website you are invited to join us in a weekend long, Al-Anon Meeting. The on-line meeting starts Friday evening 1/25/08 and runs to Sunday 1/27/08 evening.

A Note: To view this post and the comments at the same time, click on the link here (click here) in order to get a better view.

This is where we start. To get us started here is a comment from wm and a quote from the Al-Anon book Courage to Change;

This is from "wm" who left this in a comment to a post Thursday:
When I started al-anon I thought I had set boundaries long ago but I was willing to take a look at it. Oh, yeah sure, I have boundaries.

After a while in the program I began feeling like my husband was stepping all over my boundaries. I wondered why this was happening. So I talked to my sponsor about it. She asked me what I do whenever my husband crosses the line. Wellll, what do you mean? How do you enforce your boundaries?

At this point I began to think about what I was doing when my boundaries were crossed. Reacting, losing my temper, yelling (again).

So I asked her for some suggestions on what to do. Since my husband and I are geographically separated at this point she told me I could politely end the conversation and give him a specific time when I would call him back. For now this seems to work but as with all things in an alcoholic marriage it may have to be adjusted later.

If we were living in the same house I would guess that going for a walk would be an option or just leaving the room would work too.
This is taken from the Al-Anon book, Courage to Change;

Many of us come to Al-Anon confused. We are so focused on our alcoholic loved ones that may not be able to see where they leave off and we begin. We've lost our sense of what is appropriate. How can we distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior when we don't even know what we want or need?

[It talks about Step 4 here, about an inventory, and what our values are or need to be and my new values of what I will accept and not accept]

Where in the past I have allowed unacceptable behavior, I now can choose a different response. I must consistently do what I say I am going to do. Today I have the courage and faith to be true to myself. whether or not others like or agree with me. I must remember that announcing my new ways to others is not nearly as important as knowing what my own limits are and act accordingly.

Today's Reminder
I will remember that knowing my boundaries does not mean forcing others to change; it means that I know my own limits and take care of myself by respecting them. The focus, today, is on me.

There we some really good posts earlier. Feel free to repeat the points you've made on these earlier posts. Please ask any questions and ask for guidance if you have any burning desires.

Let's start the On-Line Al-Anon Meeting on Setting Boundaries


Anonymous said...

I am having trouble setting boundaries. I sound pushy and bossy. How do I keep from sounding that way?????

nanceelee said...

Hi, I'm Nancy and I'm a grateful member of Al-Anon.

It's good to see you here, Anonymous.

I only have a minute tonight, but wanted to stop in and say hello.

If I can take just a minute, take a deep breath and calm myself a little inside, then I feel more centered, stronger and more confident that the boundaries I need for myself are appropriate and I'm not influenced by guilt or manipulation as much. If I'm feeling out of control or hurt, then it's easy for me to get louder, pushier and more angry, I should really avoid that! Easy to say, sometimes hard to do. I work on this. More later.

It's good to be here, Blessings and Peace

Lorraine said...

Hello my friends...I am new at this boundaries thing too. Would you be willing to give me a few examples? I am sure a few of us will benefit from it.

Today, I got up, worked out, showered and ran a few errands. I didn't give time, place, or people involved. My family drilled me with questions...and I wasn't hiding anything...I just don't normally do that. It was kind of funny! For some reason...when my husband is "home" I feel bound to stay here at the house. It is some sort of dance we do...and I don't know how it started. But...more and more (last few weeks)I run errands or visit a friend when he is home. I am a stay at home mom and can't account for much of my day...but I do volunteer at my church for many things...and it keeps me very busy.(Not to mention the 8000 other things I do in a week) This week was hard as my husband was son broke his arm in two places...and a good friend of mine sister died. I had to get out of the house for me today...and I did!!

I am still searching for an Alanon meeting...and hope to go back to the place I tried but was late to a few weeks ago.

I guess at this point I am rambling..sorry! I love this site! I love hearing all your concerns, advice and encouragement!(rants too!)
God Bless You!

Joe said...

Boundaries - as I understand them - are situations, conversations, committments, based upon values you have decided are important to you.

An example may be at work: I am only responsible for my work. When I start getting others people's work, I am not going to stay late any longer doing what they can do, because I want to get home to my family. Therefore, when I am finished with my work, I will not sacrafice my family time and do others work - just because I did it before. The boundary is: My family is important to me. And therefore I am not going to take on everyone's work any longer. If they try to do so, I will say, "I can't, I have another committment."

Another may be; I do not like to argue with my spouse, especially when he is drinking. Therefore, if he picks a fight, I will not engage. But, I will speak to him about it when he is sober and tell him not to let that happen again. You may need a consequence if this occurs again. A consequence is; If you do this, then I will do this.

More serious boundaries are; I do not want you to drink and drive. If you do drink and drive, I will call 911 and report you.

The more serious boundaries can occur at work as well. One may be about off-color jokes. I find those jokes offensive John. I prefer you not to tell them around me or my staff. If I hear that you are tell those jokes, I will report the offense to HR.

What I call "more serious" boundaries have consequences. These consequences are something you have to be willing to follow thru on. If you don't, then they are empty threats.

An example of a bad boundary is some consequence you can't or won't enforce.

One for children may be; You must study Saturday. If you don't study then you cannot watch TV tonight or tomorrow. A bad consequence is; You cannot watch TV ever again. This is consequence you cannot/will not enforce.

Another consequence is this; If you ever do this (X) again, I will file for divorce. Where (X) needs to be a serious offense in order for you to feel moved to enforce this.

The first ones are values you wish to enforce. These are the things you decide that are important to you and other things you decide you will no longer allow.

Boundaries are reinforcements to your self-esteem. And they are lines you draw around the things that YOU have decided that are important and that you will not allow someone to cross those lines.

You can enforce them with consequences. Or you can disengage by walking away, choosing not to respond, or say, "I will respond to this at a later time (a time of your choosing)."

The key is DECIDING the things you feel are important and deciding that you will have backbone and not allow anyone to trespass against you any longer. And you decide how important these are to you and your family.

This is what I think they are.

I would really like some feedback. I have a hardtime between rules and boundaries.


nanceelee said...

Hello Lorraine and Joe, it's good to see you here.

I feel at a loss about boundaries, and being able to add any "words of wisdom" I will say Joe, that the question you asked about the difference between rules and boundaries is very interesting and not one that I have thought about before. Also the important issue regarding setting boundaries that are attainable, so as not to make a situation worse by threatening, or stating action that can't reasonably be carried out. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

I have not blogged in my "recovery" blog since last week. My estranged mom has answered my letter and said she thinks it would be good to get together. Cool. But...always the "but" for me...she says that she thinks we "should talk" That gets my "protection mode" going and I pre-plan tragedy and assume she's lining up for a chance to lecture me once again. I have been praying to my HP for strength, open mindedness and the strength and courage to pay attention to what boundaries this "talk" may take. Boundaries with compassion and love, please Lord...please.

I think I will ask my brother, who is a grateful, sober, 20 year member of AA to join my mom and I for lunch, out in public. Then I won't be alone with her at her home, as she requested. My stomach is in knots...strength, please Lord...strength and serenity.

I have such a blog entry block with all of this...I think I will copy and paste this entry into "Al-Anon Take me Away!

I wish the best Sunday for everyone. Blessings and Peace and thank you so much for listening.

Joe said...

Good Luck Nanceelee. I wish I had advice for you or guidance


Anonymous said...

Greetings, and a very happy Sunday to all of you.

Boundaries.... Tough they are indeed.... Had them crushed, and beginning to build a new fences, with gates this time...

Anyway, I have been listening to a 10 part CD series on this, (given to me by a dear person I love very very much). I am finding that I want to just go out and say, "this doesn't work for me", as part of that process. However, I have been working hard to digest, listen, group the information or action, then react...No sooner, no later.. Seems to be moving me in a positive direction.

I find that my alcoholic wife (out of the house, and we are getting divorced) acts, and then waits for my reaction....The key here... My reaction..... That is what I have POWER over, not her actions.

What a blessing that light bulb finally is glowing bright in my mind, and my REACTION!

I am so new to this, I am blessed in many many ways, and I thank God for my daily bread, not 3 loafs, or a truck load.... Just my daily bread.....

Peace to all that enter here today. You deserve it, and he will bless it 2 times over.

Thank you for this opportunity to share... Joe, keep on keepin on!


Anonymous said...

I am in deep despair. Can someone here tell me the chaos and the craziness is normal or not normal to this alcoholic nightmare I am living in?

Would someone tell me that my depression, my anger, my worries, my everything is part of this crazy world I am living in?

Could you be kind enough to take time later today or tomorrow to describe what you all have seen going on in your lives? Would you tell me what emotions you feel or were feeling? I feel like a prisoner with the walls closing in on me everyday.

Joe said...

Dear Anonymous in Deep Despair -

I think it looks like depression and no way out. It feels like that you cannot get out of today let alone tomorrow or next week and next month. For me it was frustration, followed by anger, mainly from what I think was feeling "dejected" and not appreciated. Hurt feelings because I work hard, try to be a decent person, a good husband, flexible to the point of breaking, and a good and caring father. Still, no respect and no - frankly - no appreciation.

That's what it was like for me. I will write a post about this tomorrow ... Maybe we can get some more people chiming in who feel or felt similar feelings.

God Bless and Hang in there


skip said...

Deaar Anonymous in deep despair,
While your feelings may not be normal for some, I believe they become a normal part of living in an alcoholic household. (what is normal by the way? my daughter keeps telling me what "normal" families do)
I have been married to my alcoholic husband for 17 years, he has drunk heavily all of that time until very recently. I think I have experienced every negative emotion there is, and yet I am still here. My children for the most part, although I can clearly see the scars in my son, are relatively normal thus far and have no difficulty socialising or at school. Having said that, my son is now at boarding school ( do you wonder why). I tried setting boundaries for myself and the kids, but neither they nor the consequences of his inevitable disregard for them, had any impact. (I wish I could have been better at that).
For me, my work and my children kept me sane. The kids and I did everything together, and we grew to cope together.
I was raising them, I was the responsible parent, I was in control of them. My husband became an unwanted appendage in our lives, he wasn't included in anything, he was just there.
Now he is recovering, a new thing for him and a new thing for me. Surprisingly, it is just as hard, much nicer mind you, but difficult just the same. My constant fear has gone, now I am hoping one day to come to terms with the guilt.

Good Luck and I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

I found this quote today, wanted to share it. I am working on letting go of the alcoholic in my life, but man is that hard!!!! I came across the quote this morning and WOW! did it speak to me!

"These beings, that are acting out in those ways that you find so awful, are tormented and suffering in ways that you will not understand. Their horrible acts are extensions of that pain. We also have to say to you -- no one who is not a vibrational match to that could be their victim." --- Abraham

Joe said...

Wow. I read it several times. " one who is not a vibrational match to that could be their victim."

wm said...

Hello everyone. I'm Dee (WM) a grateful member of alanon. I just got back from a weekend away with my kids (something I never would have been able to do without alanon and boundaries). My husband was feeling really left out about not going even though he is not living where we are (because of his job) and couldn't go anyway. We talked twice at the beginning of the weekend and he really tried to spoil it for me so I put up the boundary that I wasn't going to talk to him if he was going to be so negative. IT WORKED. I talked to him 2 more times over the course of the weekend and he was absolutely a joy to talk to.

I also celebrated 3 years in the program this weekend!!! How time flies!

anonymous/deep in despair:
Hang in there. The chaos is different and yet the same for each of us! If you will trust us and the program-especially the program then things can only get better.

Thanks for letting me share even though I got back so late!

nanceelee said...

That's wonderful to hear Dee, such an inspiration for me.

Anonymous, it is very difficult, but you are not alone. We have all traveled our own roads to recovery and are at different stages. We can help you if you would like. I would tend to believe that the "first" meeting for all of us was very hard to go to, such a step into the unknown. I am grateful everyday for taking that scary step, it changed my life of chaos.

Blessings and Peace, happy Monday.

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Anonymous said...

Its a shame. I had to stop going to my meetings. I just wasn't getting anything I needed out of them. I used to go a long time ago, but now there are so many rules about no cross talking, that it just didn't help me at all. I needed to talk to others in the same situation that I am in. But it's not allowed unless you talk to someone after the meetings. But they would all high tail it out of there, so no time to talk to anyone. All we do is read from the three readers and comment on that. That's it. I can do that at home. It's a shame they changed the rules for Al Anon! I"m so disappointed.

Anonymous said...

we attended the funeral of another family member last Sunday, alcohol was involved.

There must be a genetic link.

For my brother it was drugs and alcohol, followed by cancer.

It was too much for my mother and the nasty cycle began again.
For my family--no alcohol consumed by either parent but the destructive toxic behaviors existed.
'Dual diagnosis'--I have heard that.
Here I am. One Day At a Time.

Anonymous said...

So sad for your loss annonymous - yes I believe that alcoholsim is genetic - my father in law, my husbnd and three of my four children were in active addiction at one time - my father in law died due to his however I was fortunate in that my husband and children gained sobriety.
this was due to, dare I take credit for part of this, I found alanon twenty nine years ago. My family went to AA and two still go regually - one now goes to adult children of alcoholics for "living issues" and the other works in a treatment centre. I through my own career in working with families affected by addiction have learnt that there are quite a few "illnesses" connected to addiction such as mental health disorders and also physical illnesses.
bi-polar, post traumatic stress, anxiety to mention a few. Tain
Dayton and author writes in her book Emotional Sobriety a very clear explaination of how living with addiction affects our mental state of mind. I really encourage you to seek this out. However I have learnt over the years that I need to take care of myself working the steps of alanon and setting clear boundaries with others as well as myself in how much I will take on and also accept. I learnt what my triggers were so as to remember that at times I can still have one foot "in the past" when a situation arises and I react. I cans till struggle with controlling people especially males. I have three steps which I practise - I state what limit others are pushing with me, I then state that if this continues I'll have to considering doing (what ever you decide to do) and then if they continue to do this I will have to do ( what ever you decide you have to do) My life today isnt always fantastic however it is much better than it used to be. Others getting sober and clean didnt fix my problems they were there long before I met my alcoholic. Take care and God bless

hemcoined said...

Craziness is normal or not normal to this alcoholic nightmare.
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