Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Men's Al-Anon Meeting

This meeting was on the Al-Anon 3rd Step. It was ad-hoc, as there was not someone who prepared for the meeting. But as in all things good, and non-judgemental, it was a resounding success.

There were about 10 men there. All of us a various stages in life and with Al-Anon.

I cannot explain how impressed I am with some of the members and how what one might call them, "wicked smart." I know I do. Their voices were voices of helpfulness, centeredness and all good.

We talked about God. I struggled with the concept of a God for much of my life. I learned later in life, or have come to believe, that there is "something" out there. It was a can be a "higher consciousness" or a "Power" greater than us all. The Al-Anon program has helped me understand this more clearly and consciously.

The meeting turned to the subject of "control" and "letting go." And this letting go meant not trying to understand why people do certain things. Again, as I pointed out in Monday's post, about how a meeting can turn, based upon what you speak about or how you say something, I found this same experience holing true last night. When I spoke about my feelings about a HP and the issue of my wife heading off to the lake and not even thinking to ask us, the next people that spoke, while they didn't speak at me, spoke about their experiences, and how similar they were, yet different, - but also what they did, wished they did do or not do, all based upon their learnings and more years of experience in Al-Anon. Of course, I could relate their situations to mine immediately.

I came to the conclusion, last night, that I was trying to control my wife, perhaps in a strange sorta way, from going to the lake/mountains and it is not my right to do so. I am having a hard time with this concept intellectually and emotionally. I understand the concept, but when someone wants to dive off a building, or a cliff, do you not let them go? Maybe this an extreme argument, justifying my position. Yes. Of course it is. She is heading off to the lake/mountains with friends who will be drinking. Not a cliff. But maybe a cliff in the drinking world, but not a cliff in real life.

What I have decided after last night, is it is God's will for this to happen. I cannot change it or control it. I am working Step 1; I am powerless over the situation. And my mind has become unmanageable about it. I resent the thought that no one asked me if I had plans. But that is the unmanageable showing up, based upon someone else's decision.

I am focusing on myself. And that was another key message last night.

I think I am going to use my energies of worry, doubt and fear and use these energies on how I can improve myself.
We had dinner last night, and one of the gentlemen who spoke right after me spent time explaining his life and what happened to him. I saw him at several meetings before and he has a certain peace about him. [A "Certain Peace." I like that term.] He said he gave up trying to figure everyone and everything out. Peace. I am not sure how you do that.
Last night, before the meeting, I completed my apologies for having accused others of enabling my wife and allowing her to go to the lake house. It was a reaction when I accused them, covering up hurt from a sense of uncaring. This may be borderline rationalization and justification when I make that statement. But I make it and I judge my words, perhaps too harshly, perhaps right on target. I am not sure now. I am only sure about work, it seems.

If you come across this blog, you will find a grown man, a sometimes irreverent man, a pissed off man, a hurt man, one who will come out on the other side of this better in some ways, and different in others. Maybe not what I expected of where I thought this life was going, but I really had no plan or vision of what my future would look like, in truth. Maybe this is forcing me to think about where I REALLY want to end up. And really what matters.


Syd said...

Your conclusion is a good step Joe. Keep the focus on yourself. As the Big Book states an alcoholic could travel to Greenland in hope of not being tempted by booze only to have an eskimo walk up with a bottle of Scotch. It's up to your wife and her HP to determine whether she will drink or not. Your detaching with love is the key.

Anonymous said...

Really like what your friend said about figuring everyone and everything out. That is a huge one for me. When I stopped asking why my life became easier.
Can't explain that one, it just clicked one day. It's not like I became indifferent either cuz underneath I still wanted to know, but it just didn't seem worth the arguement anymore, or the energy or the fight. I was able to accept things without judgement or attachement and that was very freeing.

Anonymous said...


Worry... Doubt... Fear...

I battle these three words everyday.

What am I worried about, doubt, or fear?

Is it self made, or encouraged by others?

I find that at times I can successfully "twist" these into exactly what I want them to be, and then in again a "twisted" way justify a feeling of anger and resentment. I find that at times I can turn molehills into mountains.

What I need to learn to do is to turn mountains into molehills....

I know my God knows my past, present and future. I trust him with all that I cannot manage, and know that in his time the answers, and the direction will come. I also know that I can take legitimate worry, doubt, and fear to him, and expect him to empower me with with the tools necessary to overcome them.

Peace this Wed.


kadenate's mom said...

Hi Joe - I LOVE your blog - can't believe what a parallel life I am leading - helps me to know I am not alone, or crazy. All the pieces are coming together for me and I feel hope for myself and my darling boys. I met my husband when I was 15, and nearly 23 yrs later I finally know 'what the problem is'. Man - the lies and deception are a killer! So, so relieved to finally IDENTIFY the craziness! Anyway, I met my husband while my Dad (who is fully recovered for 23 years) was at a treatment center for alcoholism. It all makes sense now...all these years of "Why did I choose this man?" I believe firmly that his alcoholism, my codependency and my kids suffering is NOT in God's will. I believe that He has GOOD plans for ALL of us, but that he has given us FREE WILL...and we do bear the consequences of our choices/sins...and also from generational sin. I am CHOOSING to get healthy and break this generational sin. I don't know what my husband will choose - I am trying to allow him to make his own choice, but I choose not to be living in the same home, or functioning in a 'marriage' as long or until he has chosen life. I want my boys to see that there are logical 'consequences' in life, and that I will not allow his behavior to hurt us anymore. I pray that my boys will be the first generation to live addiction/co-dependent free lives! Man - I HATE alcohol. Why play with fire? Thank you for your time - I appreciate your wise thoughts.

Joe said...

Thanks everyone

Kadenate's mom - you are not alone. We are all here sharing similar stories. Many people who post are wives and mothers, and many of us come from parents who drank. You are at the right place.
Thanks and keep on coming back and responding/commenting.

All - We are codependent, controlling, enabling and so on. This is our role in the alcoholic crazyhouse. Our role may be natural or born out of a need to grow up very early as children to help take care of the alcoholic or the issues we had at home. Now we reenact them as adults. So we attracted people who need us and they attracted us - or so one of the main theories go.

But if we can get well, MAYBE the alcoholic can get well (by seeing us get well). But that is not the main intent of our getting well. if it is we are still codependent and therefore don't get well (I hope that makes sense). We need to get well to make better choices

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, how do we keep from engaging with the crazy alcoholic? Arhhhgggg....I got hooked again, defending, argueing, escalating, blaming, shit!!!! Feels like 1 step forward and 5 steps backwards!!! And I am not even married to him anymore!!! It's about our daughter. She's had 4 drinking episodes and he blames me the sober one for this. He refused to go to Al anon,( if he did he would know it's not anyones fault) of course, he drinks and it's convenient to point the finger at me when I am the designated alcoholic, but I have been sober for 19 yrs and in recovery, he's just still pissed I left him, he couldn't fix me and oh god, this is a mix of aa and al anon cross boundrie BS....Story is I got sober without his help, he got pissed he couldn't get me sober ( he really liked me dependent on him so he could be my knight in shining armor ya know but he also hated it.)I got sober and then he lost his roll as the rescuer and resented it. Took his anger out on me for years and basically tried to sabatoge my recovery. I finally left him after I went to al anon and learned that I was co addicted to him now. This disease really is more than just about drinking. He's never been willing to admit that he has any issues, just points the finger at everyone else. He is the saint. He's one way to the world and another way to the kids and me. I see his sickness. he is a control freak. I don't know what I need, if I need AA or Al anon right now. I just needed to vent. He makes me crazy...

A.J. said...

I thought/think I have accepted step one and step two--until yesterday. I was served with papers for court regarding visitation with my 14 month old and her father (an abusive alcoholic). Now I need to decide if I'm going to spend thousands on attorney fees to get the same result as if I spend none. Letting him have her every other weekend will mean she goes on his drunken snowmobile trips, drunken camping trips and drunken concerts. He is out of town all of the time. Everything revolves around happy hour. Dinner, traveling, my daughter will be in a smoky bar Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday. What court would give visitation knowing this? From what I've read and heard, all of them. Not to mention this man does not respect women--never did and never will. His daughter will not be any different. It makes me sick to think of how he will try to buy her, and manipulate her, and show her this life. This is the reason I left him. I can not raise my daughter in this lifestyle. So, now I'm wondering what to do. Do I let go of the control? Do I fight with everything I've got? I need to begin with educating myself on this process in 18 days because that's all of the time I have to respond. I went to an Al-Anon meeting last night and didn't say a word because I didn't know where to start. All I kept thinking, was , man do I need a sponsor. How do I get a sponsor? Surely someone has been in this same exact situation before...and how can I let go of control where my child is involved? This little girl has already endured too much. Since November, her life has not involved any yelling, screaming, or hitting. When someone raises their voice in her presence, she stops and looks with this look of terror. It's heartbreaking. I guess this is where I continue saying the serenity prayer and TRUST that my higher power has my back (and this little girls)...I usually don't ask for advice and I know that's not what Al-anon is for, but, if anyone has any ideas, please suggest. Thanks.

Anonymous said...


I never intentionally give un-solicited advice, so please don't take it as such....

19 Years... Think about it for just a moment.... What do I have that I have clinged to for 19 years...?

My family.... That's all I can think of at the moment, and ya know what, good for you, great for you, terrific for you, I am doing the wave for you right now!!!

Honestly, it's a guy thing, it's a resentment thing, it's an anger thing, and it comes from a defensive mode..... Don't let it bring you down, take it as a congratulatons for what you have commited yourself to..... You....

SG, keep doin what your doin, walk the talk, do the work, I had a very dear friend tell me the exact same thing. Listen to constructive opinion, let go of what you know sparks the mind, and not the heart.

Minds can take it anywhere it wants to go.... Listen to your heart, because I believe that is where God touches us....... It's our mind that convalutes our vison at times, and just go back to the foundation of your recovery!!!

I applaud you tonight. You go girl.... Make it another 20+ years, and let NO ONE stand in your way!!!

Peace this Wed Evening to all!!


Joe said...

AJ - go back to another meeting and raise your hand and state your situation like you did here in the comments. In fact read it to them!

And say "I need help or advice or someone to point me to someone that you may know of who has been thru this before."

Go to several meetings and ask for this help.

Call your local county Child Abuse center ask them for advice. They may be able to point you to someone

I am sorry to tell you what to do - but I am not sure what to tell you except to ask others for advice and ask for help.

I will tell you - the asking for help was and is the simplest thing to do and the most obvious - but sometimes we are looking for complex solutions.

Please keep us posted

SG -
great venting. Sounds like you actually know what to do/not do. We all slip.