Al-Anon Men's Meeting: Yesterday I posted I would go to the Men’s Group on Tuesday night. In the past I was not able to go because my wife has an AA meeting on Tuesday night. I "sacrificed" me and my time for her and her time. It made perfect sense. I need her to get well; therefore, I want her to go to AA.
Wellllllllllllllllllll ..... I am so over that one! Let her work around my schedule. I am valuable too.
I decided, why sacrifice my calendar for her calendar?
Isn't that enabling and codependent?
I love and hate these words. They in some ways make me a prisoner by defining who I am at times according to someone's definition, whoever is defining them at the time - this is the hating the words part. My wife now uses them to put me in a box. As does, I am sorry to say, her counselor, whom I really like and has been of great help to me in setting boundaries etc. when I go to family night.
The love of words is that they sometimes enable me to see what I am doing to MYSELF as I define them. And they provide me with strength to do what I want to when I want to. Albeit - I don't do this enough [allow me to do what I want]. However, I am very wary that I am using these words as possible excuses in my behavior. I disdain people who don't take responsibility for their actions or inactions. And taking responsibility is very different than taking blame.
Yada, yada [I know I am rambling].
So, I digress. Back to the point. Or points.
Well I went to the Men’s Meeting. I was glad it was a small group. There were only 8 men there. [Another group I go to sometimes has 30 to 40 men there, and it's tough to talk and share].
It was a great meeting. We discussed the first step in Al-Anon. I heard a couple of things that really resonated with me. I will paraphrase what I recall;
- Don't look back. And don't look forward. Just look down. Look where your feet are. Where are they? On the ground. Therefore, be where you are. Be in the present.
- Why is it we are attracted to these women who have addictions? Why is it we can spot them across a crowded room? Several men have had several relationships with the Deja Vu thing occurring each and every time.
- I was dating two women (I guess at the time it was “girls” way back then). One was really sweet, and very attractive. The other drank too much wine and created a lot of fighting and chaos. I had to make a choice. Not because I was told by both to decide which one to date, but because I thought it would be more fair to both of them [hear that Joe? You were not thinking of yourself, you were "sacrificing" again. Interesting - 15 years later, I see this clearly. What a discovery]. So I chose.... duh.... the one who provided "What I knew" - the chaos and fighting that I had grown up with.
- I learned that the first step and this was worth the price of admission folks - was about how we are (I am) powerless over alcohol and the alcoholic. And the remaining 11 steps are really about gaining your (my) power back [but only through our HP and not forcing it].
- We cursed a couple of times. And for some reason that felt good.
- Personally I rambled. I make speeches and presentations all the time in my job. These presentations have to been around the world -to CEOs and executives. But at these meetings, I just ramble. I go from point to point to point to point. It's a wonder anyone can follow me.
- I learned from someone after the meeting, as he was advising another man, that if you have to chose between resentment and guilt, chose guilt each time. Resentment will eat you up, he said. I need to talk to him again. This man had wisdom. But he was fighting his own demons, making him just one of us - humbled - very humbled to the effects of alcoholism in our families.
- I learned here, that every one of us, has had almost the same experiences with the alcoholic.
- I found that each man, in this meeting, was a kind and gentle man. All of us, were at one time, arrogant, angry, self-righteous, resentful, and could SLIP right back into that feeling and emotion and REACTION if it weren't for Al-Anon.
- I think #9, was really worth the point of going last night on what would be considered - the other side of the world.
- If there has to be an 11th point... I need to point back to number nine one more time. I could slip back into some of the uncontrollable behaviors I have / had at any moment; trying to fix things by taking over her responsibilities, sacraficing what I wanted to do to please her, and make my feelings subordinate to hers.
- I now am building a list of men, whom I could call, when I feel lonely, and want a third party opinion. A list of men, who will not and I mean NOT allow me to say or do something that would affect my self-esteem after I "logically" have talked my self into saying something or doing something. I think this is pretty cool. You can't have the friends who can really give you advice, if they haven't had to deal with alcoholics.
- This is a point (number 12 above) for you ladies/mothers/wives who are not going to Al-Anon. It allows you to build a support group. And I think we can ALL use a support group. We do feel guilty asking for help. But the people here - know you feel guilty - so they want to help you because they felt guilty asking for help at one time too.
- THERE IS (was) absolutely NO judgment over anyone else at that meeting! WoW. I unloaded a couple of personal things I would never share, as did some other folks. And you know what I was told? "Thank you for sharing." "Thank you for being open with your emotions." Nice.
- I am stopping here.
What do I want to say next? I know I had something to say. Now what was it?
I will come back later today, when I remember it.