Monday, February 11, 2008

My Conundrum - Different Than Yours

My Conundrum: To go to which of the two Al-Anon Meetings?

My wife finishes up her outpatient rehab. Rehab is really just education about alcohol and learning to work the AA 12 Steps. It tries to break the addiction by getting the alcoholic to focus on a new addiction - the 12 Steps and the AA meetings and building a support network of AA members to call when the craving kicks up. And with a Sponsor he or she can work the 12 Steps.

AA is a powerful program. So powerful basically all the rehab clinics practice the 12 Steps.

Rehab, I learned is changing. It is going from 28 days to 90 days. They are finding that 28 days (aka 30 days treatment centers) are not effective, because it takes about six months for the person to get back to firing on the right cylinders in the brain. So, 90 day treatment centers are more popular. With these 90 day treatment centers - they are finding that work is an essential part to getting well. Having something to do - the work of working - keeps one's mind busy. Except my wife made up about 30 excuses not to work. Then the counselor said "work is good" and then it was another reason, "I don't have to." Of course, I work. She plays. Pisses me off. Another rock to deal with. Damn rocks. Wish I never read that passage in "Hope For Today."

So, my wife completes her program this week. After failing the first time. They were supposed to "kick her out" for coming to it drunk. But I persuaded them not to. The second time she drank was over Christmas. They were supposed to kick her out then too.

I now regret that I persuaded them the first time to keep her in. I probably did not persuade them too much, because as much as one would like to think that this is a "missionary" endeavor, these clinics are still Profit and Loss Centers (i.e. they have to make money). I sort of forgot about that - the making money part. Another "Duh."

She has committed to 90 meeting in 90 days. This is supposed to be the magic of AA meetings, this 90 and 90. As long as she doesn't drink. But all this . . . is about her. That's her program. She works hers or doesn't. So?

As the commercial says - and I love this commercial, "Enough about me talking about me. How about you talk about me now?" So, what about ME? What am I doing for me? AND even better, what are YOU doing for YOU?

I have to leave town today or in the morning. I want so desperately to go the Wednesday Family Meeting from 6-9PM (of course as I said last week - I go alone because my wife is ....a.) too busy b.) Soo busy c.) Is meeting with the President every Wednesday d.) None of the above). It hurts that she would never go to the family night, it said a lot.

I like the meeting because it centers me. It is about me (the family) and the people (like me) in the meeting. And then the patients work together with the family. It is run just a little like an Al-Anon meeting except there is a counselor in the meeting who chairs it. He is a good person. I like him. Although I have fallen into the trap of "let him decide" what is best as so many people do, because he is an "authority." I have realized that everything someone who is an authority (VP or CEO in business, a client, and now a therapist) says, is not always true. I realized this about 20 years ago. But I fell back into this authority thing. [Note to self: What am I saying here? I am saying this; You need to get to a confidence level, whereby you trust you trust you gut - or your intuition/instinct. But your instinct can only be as good as your confidence and knowlege. I guess "listening"- silently - is a big component too.]

But back to me; I also want to go to the Tuesday night Men's Meeting. It appears I cannot do both, because of the meetings I have to fly to. I am bummed out. I tried to rework my travel schedule, but it just won't work out that I can go to both meetings. So which one should I go to? That's my conundrum.

My conundrum is different than yours. Isn't that interesting? So, I am going to go out on a limb and cross a boundary and get in your face. Because, I use this excuse, I care.

I made a comment earlier this morning to the Al-Anon Meeting Online. I said to all thinking about going to Al-Anon to "get off your duff and just go" (essentially that's what it said).

I think a lot of us feel "guilty" about going. Guilty because we are used to placing our needs behind everyone else. We don't want to appear selfish. And we don't want to feel guilty when we do something for ourselves. I am projecting here - because that is me. I sacrificed. I sacrificed some more. While no one really gave a - excuse me - shit - what I did. I wasn't a martyr. I was just used to it. I would order the least expensive thing on the menu. I would get somewhere early, to help set up. I would stay late to help clean up.

Now, last week, I got the guts to tell my wife to rearrange her Tuesday evening around my Tuesday evening so I could go to the Men's Group Meeting. She hemmed and hawed a little bit (whatever hemmed and hawed means). But I made no bones about it. I was going. I almost did not go at the last minute. It was too late in the day (7PM). But I narrowly escaped making an excuse for myself because my sponsor was going to be there. I had "committed" and I hate breaking commitments. I even went to dinner afterwards!!! Even though I hemmed and hawed for a second. I really had a great time. No alcohol by the way even though we were at a Mexican restaurant. It was strange not drinking with a bunch of men. But it was a very cool and good strange. It was nice to hear how these men were seeking peace. How some men's live were changed. And it did not depend upon their spouse's drinking. (I stopped drinking about 10 months ago when I found out my wife was drinking heavily and secretively)

So to you women or men who are too chicken to go to Al-Anon. "Buck buck." Don't be chicken.

So you feel guilty. Big deal. Get over it. Live for yourself. You only get one deal on this round ball called earth. It's your deal called "life." When you meet God or your Higher Power, he (or she) won't ask you, "Were you embarrassed to go to Al-Anon?" But the HP may ask you, "Did you live like I expected you to live? For yourself? Or did you not live?

Look at me. I faced those things too. Now I am stressed out that I cannot go to both. How's that for funny?


Ashley said...

I'm fortunate that I haven't been forced to choose between my two meetings. I go to a Friday meeting which gets me through the weekend, and a Tuesday meeting which gets me through the rest of the week.

Since I have to travel for work also, I have at times missed my Friday meeting ... it throws a wrench into my entire weekend when I miss it.

Good luck, and good job standing up for your Tuesday meeting.

Syd said...

I go to three meetings a week generally. I don't have a conflict and I make time for them. Hope that you resolve the conundrum.