Friday, February 8, 2008

On-line Al-Anon Meeting on: Carrying Rocks

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 2/08/08 and runs to Sunday 2/10/08 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. There is a powerful passage in the book "Hope for Today." On page 113, it says, in essence the following ;


"Let Go and Let God"

"I am carrying around a gunnysack full of rocks. The gunnysack was getting heavier and heavier because I was picking up more rocks."

"I picked up a rock which I named loneliness, and put it in my knapsack. I picked up another rock and it was for hatred of my alcoholic step father. As I traveled I picked rocks for - suspicion of others, isolation, fear, and uncertainty. Soon the beautiful forest I was traveling through ceased to capture my attention. My gunnysack was so full and so heavy I could think of nothing else.

"Surrender in Step 1helped me admit how heavy my sack had become. Hope in Step 2 taught me that there was someone who could help me empty my sack - a Power greater than myself. Step 4 helped me determine which rocks were mine and which rocks belonged to others."

"And 'Let Go And Let God' helped me to rid the sack of rocks that weren't mine."


We are all carrying the burdens of others. We are great burden carriers. How can we let go of the problems that we have picked up that are not ours? And turn these problems over to God or back to their rightful owner?

I know I am a great problem solver. Someone brings me their problem and I try to solve it. It isn't mine, but I worry about it and try to fix it. Bring me another I say. Until I am so frustrated and have so much to do, I am running around fixing, while the person who had the problem (until they gave it to me) is sitting on the couch watching TV or watching me solve their problem.

Let's explore this weekend how we have picked up other people's problems and explore how we can stop picking up what they own, and give the problem back to them to solve.

Please post your comments here.


Anonymous said...

Hi - I am Sue.

I came here on the recommendation of a friend at Alanon. She told me I could say what I wanted here. I may be a little challenged, because I am angry and I cannot express my anger. I think I resent people who I have tried to help and they show now appreciation back for the help. I sacraficed my time and energy. I gave some people too, so much, I forget who I am. I am mad as a hatter right now. Alcohol has me by the throat and I am tired of being the blame for others.

Here are my rocks. I am tossing them out. I think I am going to keep one or two and throw them at someone - someone special.


Anonymous said...

I am a good problem solver too. And I find that when I solve problems I can fix others fairly easily.

After awhile though, people do not appreciate me. And then they begin to criticize me for it.

I remember back in college, I would clean up my roomate mess - the dishes for example - and she would complain that I did not put them away in the proper sequence. Or when I picked up the newspapers, I would be criticized for not folding them a certain way.

I was told "good deeds don't go unpunished"

I still carry people's problems around with me. I find the biggest problem are people's feelings toward me. I think too much about what they said about me. I forget that these are their feelings and that I am not responsible for their feelings. And their feelings are not me.

Thanks Joe. And Sue, please continue with your fresh approach to letting go.

Skip said...

I find the most "rocks I carry" are those of my family. I am so accustomed to being the only responsible person that I find it extremely difficult to trust any-one else to help with anything.
Even though my husband is now "recovering", I am stil unable to pass some of those rocks to him, or even share some of them.

He needs to earn my trust for a bit longer before I am willing to share. Is that selfish of me? or am I just being a responsible parent? I don't even know myself.

Thanks for listening

Catherine said...

@ skip: I hear you. I find that those responsibilities (rocks) that should ultimately be shared are the easiest ones for me to seize. The first one that I let go was cleaning the bathroom. It's kind of funny but my qualifier never seemed to notice the dirt and i realized he had no idea how to even clean a bathroom. So i taught him (he didn't enjoy the lesson) and he does it and if he doesn't i just ask when he'll do it as a reminder. it's a little thing but it helped me realize i don't need everything on my plate and if the bathroom isn't perfect, i live with it.

Anonymous said...

Catherine -
That is such a great example. I was thinking of something big and broad.

Now I think I see what the rocks are. I am always cooking dinner, washing dishes, sweeping the kitchen, washing the clothes and on and on.

I am not a good delegator.

I am a doer.

I need to delegate and live with the imperfections.

Thank you for the perspective.

Skip said...

I like that philosophy!
I also will attempt to delegate more and live with the imperfections.

I will start with the easy things!


Anonymous said...

YOU know Joe! This "rock thing" and this "gunnysack thing" is really good psychology. I read this is psychology waaay back when. The thought of "gunnysacking" in psychology is that we have bagged all of our fears, hatred, anger, stupid things we have not forgotten that we did, bad things that happened to us that we cannot or will not let go of, a car that someone sold us that fell apart a week later, someone who trepassed against us, a rude remark by a hostess back in 1905, a glance our mother gave us that was filled with guilt and I could go on.

These are the "rocks" in our "gunny sack" that we have to let go of. And these are things in the past.

We also carry the future "rocks." Like; what if he doesn't like me? What is I am not accepted by the people I am meeting with? What is my brother doesn't call today?

My sponsor told me this, and I think it is one of the best expressions I have ever heard;

"If you have one foot in yesterday.... and one foot in tomorrow... you're probably pissing all over today."

Joe said...

Hello, Joe here . . .
Yesterday I went to a men's meeting, which is different than my home meeting with men and women. Past two weeks I needed to be around men. I am not sure why, except maybe I felt I could complain a little and have men relate. I unloaded a few rocks yesterday at the men's Al-Anon Meeting.

The meeting was on "obsessing." I was a little arrogant in that I didn't think I obsessed. This meeting I carried a notebook, which I debated about; "Should I?" or "Shouldn't I?" carry that notebook and look like a dweeb (whatever the hell that is). I guess I obsessed about this for a minute or so . . .

I carried it in. I was glad I did. While I looked like a dweeb, I was able to "think on paper." The notes I took clarified my "issues." While I had no obsessions for about the first 30 minutes, I started listing what I thought about (maybe worry is the word). When it was my turn, I read from my notes. I was finally clear in what I said. I had about 30 men laughing their tails off. (one gentleman later asked if I was going to go on the circuit, I was so funny he said. That made me feel good. I like to have people laugh. It is one of my top things I wish for, laughter (and smiling!!)

I hardly ever worried or had a confidence problem before I found out my wife was/is an alcoholic. Then "WHAM" . . . now I am less confident (I don't think I was ever arrogant - at least I don't think I was). I think it takes a confident man to be humble. A man full of false pride is a man who is not confident and happy within his own skin.

I am babbling.

I now realize I have rocks.

Rock 1: I am lonely - or alone. [note to self: Big deal. Get over it]
Rock 2: I want a somewhat orderly house (clean). [note to self: Clean it up yourself or get over it. This one I don't like.]
Rock 3: I have my daughter. I want someone to help me teach her how to be self-reliant. [note to self: think on this. Need a woman role model. Already working on getting someone to help her with homework.Maybe we can get a 2-fer]
Rock 4: I want someone to share the future with.Maybe that's Rock 1. [back to "get over it. you were alone before, can do it again.]
Rock 5: I want someone to touch my shoulder and say, in effect, "You're a good person (man)." [Note to self: This is appreciation. Tough one to get over]
Rock 6: I want someone to ask me; "How was your day?" and really mean it. Or "Thanks for working so hard, let's go out to dinner and relax." Is this Rock 1 resurfacing? [appreciation again]
Rock 7: I recoil at the sight of alcohol now. I took my daugher and her friends to dinner last night and there was an attractive woman who went to the bar to get a glass of wine while waiting for her table. I immediately wondered if she was an alcoholic. [Note to self:That is bad judgement on my part. People can drink w/o being an alcoholic]
Rock 8: I don't want to be poor again, even though I have plently of money why do I do this? [Note to self: You will always make money]

I have lots of rocks. All of them are in my head. [I like that - it's my new metaphor].

I can deal with them - almost all of them. Would like the appreciation. Maybe the men's group will help on this point.

I heard yesterday at the meeting, that creating a Gratitude List is key to overcoming these "Rocks" and overcoming Obsessing about these things.

I am going to create a Gratitude List because THERE is a lot to grateful for.


Joe said...

I just looked at my comment I just posted. Can I babble or what?!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe
Just wanted to let you know if this is any help to you I appreciate all that you have done by creating this Blog I look forward to reading it everyday. So I guess you are on your way!! Oh yeah and I have been writing a gratitude list and I love it it puts things into perspective!! Try that and there is a section just for your gratitude list I love it!!!

Marie said...

I have a question? I was going to attend my first Alanon meeting tonight. However I found out the alanon meeting was at the same location and time as my husbands AA meeting. Is this typically the case do they have them at the same place and time? I really dont want him to know I am going I just dont think its any of his business. Can I have your thoughts on this?

Skip said...

Marie, although I don't go to al anon meetings either, but I do know that in my area they are held at different times to the AA meetings. I suppose it depends on who runs them.

I also do not want my husband to know that I am considering al anon. I don't quite know why.
I haven't been brave enough to go yet, but I find this site terrific, and like others I look forward to logging on each day.

Thanks very much again Joe for your blog and every-one else for sharing.

Joe said...

A quick comment. The Al-Anon meetings are often at a different place and time.

However, I have been to an Al-Anon meeting where the husband dropped off his wife and across the hall he went to an AA meeting.

Also, I have been out of town and "needed" a meeting. I went into a meeting thinking it was an Al-Anon meeting but it was an AA meeting. I just bowed out gracefully as I could and found the Al-Anon meeting.

This happens a lot.

As for telling your spouse, I would do as you feel would benefit you. I would not go to him and seek "validation" by telling him that you are thinking about attending. I say this, because I do this with a lot of things (the validation). I suppose I do this to pick a fight, or I suppose I do this to seek my "confidant's" advice or outside opinion.

I will say this. You have NOTHING to fear about going to a meeting however. THERE IS NOT A REASON IN THE WORLD not to go except not finding someone to watch your children. There are 80 percent women there - if not more. Every single one of them have heard and lived your story a zillion times. It is amazing.

One last reason to go. The literature that is in the new comers packet (free) is absolutely invaluable. I still read it today. I picked up another pamphlet Saturday Called - in fact it is on my desk - called "How Can I Help My Children?"

PS - Get off your duff and just go. It's for you, not for the alcoholic. Quit thinking about it. If he gets better and you don't, you will be living in the same nightmare scenario and replay the same events over and over in your mind. And he will not understand. If he doesn't get better and you do, you can make better decisions about what YOU want to do.

PPS - REread the PS.

A.J. said...

Wow, great comments everyone. I just listened for this online meeting and I learned a lot. I know I have a gunnysack full of rocks and I'm throwing one out at a time.

Marie, I hope you take that step and go to a meeting. You will be so glad you did! (maybe not the same place as your husband though..haha) I hope there are more times and locations! BTW...I realized after I had told you to take care of yourself, get a babysitter and do something for yourself--I realized the next day while I was at my meeting and the topic was "self-care" that I had not been caring for myself. But, boy was I quick to tell you what to do! :-) Just a little humor for a Monday morning. Have a great day all!

Joe--gret list on the rocks. I will sit down and do my list at some point. Keep up the great work. I think this site helps to keep us all centered.

Laurie said...

Joe - again, really appreciate your blog! I find what you write to be relevant to my situation so often and/or helpful to me in that it makes me think. I'm sorry I missed the weekend online meeting - I did read the comments and decided to post even though it's now Monday afternoon! I also have a bag full of rocks and I'd list them but right now I can't get past the boulder of self pity. I am such an idiot! I wanted so badly for my husband to be sober last weekend as it was our anniversary...well he managed to do that only to go right back to the liquor store this morning. I complained about living a "pretend" life, then I wish for a weekend of it! I did get to have my spa day (I was singing Saturday morning "going for my spa day - it's all about me today...) which I enjoyed most of until the facial/waxing went awry and my skin was burned and is now dry, flaky and scabby in places. I guess it wasn't meant to be. Geez, what is wrong with me?

Anonymous said...


Wow, what a meeting! Reviewing the topic and the responses.... This is a real issue for me. One of the 1st rules in my house growing up was never to throw rocks.....

Well, I think it's about time I retire that rule.

Peace this Monday.


carl said...

I sometimes think i have heard or seen it all. The idea of carrying rocks and our HANGING on to the past and thoughts which are harmful or meaningless is great. I will post this idea and dwell on it