Friday, April 18, 2008

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Step 2

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Step 2 - Came To Believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

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 4/18/08 and runs to Sunday 4/20/08 evening.Note: To view this Post and the Comments at the same time, click on the link here ---> (click here). Or you can click on the title of this Post in order to get a better view of the Post and the Comments.

Step 2 suggests that there is a Power greater than we are that can restore us to sanity, whether we are living with active alcoholism or not. Step 2 reaffirms that we may be powerless, but we are not helpless AND WE ARE NOT ALONE. (this comes from Pathways to Recovery, with the caps for emphasis being my own).

For so long, I did not believe in a Higher Power. I did believe that we were all connected some how. I know I have been the beneficiary of goodness, and luck, or synchronicity.

But with alcoholism affecting me and my family (I am the spouse of an alcoholic), I needed some one - some thing - to lean upon. In many ways, I had given up. I began to feel unconfident. I began to get down. My spouse would say mean things, be selfish, and insincere and deceitful.

If I would gain a moment of sanity, I would have 30 moments of insanity with the alcoholic and the ensuing chaos. Soon, with the advent of this program, the numbers started to reverse. I would have more moments of sanity than insanity. I still regret and get bummed out about what is going on in my life and my family's life - and how it is affecting the entire family structure - but I know now I am not helpless. And I have focused on the "I AM NOT ALONE."

I have learned I can call friends in Al-Anon. And I can tell you, there have been some of the kindest and nicest people I have ever, ever met here. They will bend over backwards to help you - they have me - or at least offered. I am still a "newbie" - and therefore I am not good at accepting their help - but I have at times, but clearly not enough.

I learned that when I am truly alone, I am still not alone. I have learned to turn over to God or my HP, things that are just to big for me to be concerned with. I have asked God for forgiveness - for I still make mistakes. I pray for my qualifier, because she is the mother of our child and believe, under the shroud and layers of the disease, a good person. I pray for her to get well. I pray that others see the issue and help us. I pray that our daughter can see what a sane house and family looks like. For this prayer, I ask God for help, several times, at all hours of the night, every night. I also pray that some day, I will be able to stop asking him for help.

I have learned, too, that I am not helpless. And that believing in a power greater than ourselves, and being powerless - is not the same as helpless. Helpless, to me, is just learned hopelessness. Helpless, is giving up. It is becoming, well . . . feeble and weak. This is not to be mistaken with arrogance or a "false self" or being filled with ego.

I realize as it points out in this book, "Pathways," that there are others who too, have experienced these same problems and issues, and that over time, we all can find answers to our own dilemma. The same as other have done.

Step 2, is all about gaining help and sanity through asking for help through a Power greater than us, whether call him God or a Higher Power or a God of our understanding.

I never realized in the beginning of this program how spiritual Al-Anon is, how warm and accepting the people are, and how, if you allow yourself to be worked by the program, how enriching to the human spirit Al-Anon can be.

So, with Step 2, I leave you to comment and post your thoughts, feelings and prayers. And this is where we begin our discussion.


Anonymous said...

I am feeling alone in the midst of people. Tomorrow, one of my qualifier's college buddies is getting married. I am supposed to go to the wedding. I have been resisting but not really saying the real reason. I've said, I don't think it will be any fun for me because everyone will be drinking (I don't drink). Which is not the real issue. The real issue is that my Q will be drunk and I don't want to have to drive out of town to witness it. I can see it every night of the week. I don't want to spend my weekend with his friends, watching them all get drunk, particularly the two who are his regular drinking buddies.

So right now one of those drinking buddies is here at our house, as are two other college friends (a married couple). My Q and Buddy#1 are drinking their usual amount. Married couple are being normal people who can be social without alcohol. These are people who have known Q since college. I want to talk to married couple, the wife at least, and say, When I don't go to this wedding tomorrow, I need you to know why. I need you to recognize that he has this problem so that I can feel less alone, and so that someone else is as worried as I am.

Has anyone seen the movie "Pollack" about Jackson Pollack? Artist and alcoholic. I just remember the wife's difficulties with his drinking and how, once when he got sober, friends drove in from out of town with bottles of wine. I can't remember exactly what she does. I want to say she yells at them, smashes the bottles of wine on the ground. It's been a while since I've seen the movie. But I remember the frustration and anger of that moment, faced with friends from out of town who think it's just a good old time with an old friend.

Syd said...

Step 2 says that I came to believe--it doesn't say that I automatically do. And it says that a Power Greater than myself could (= might) restore me to sanity. I trusted what I saw in the rooms. There were happy people there. So I came to believe that there was a HP because I knew that I wasn't anyone's HP after years of struggling in an alcoholic marriage. Just trusting what I saw in Al-Anon was enough.

Anonymous said...

We are not helpless and we are not alone really stuck out to me. I get myself worked up over things the qualifier is doing or not doing. My life becomes unmanageable. With or without the alcoholic, my life becomes unmanageable. It's so easy to focus on outside things. I learned how to care-take at such an early age.
The first post really hit home, but in reverse. My qualifier never invites me to any drinking activities because I don't drink. I miss out on anything social. I never thought of it as a blessing until I read your post.
The biggest thing step 2 does for me is help me realize a Higher Power cares for me. I always felt never good enough and if the qualifier drinks, I don't feel good enough. I feel I never do enough and I should do this, or should do that. Step 2 helps me realize that my Higher Power does care for me and accept me, just as I am.

Anonymous said...

I cannot get past Step 2. No, I cannot even get into Step 2. I am struggling very hard with the "Higher Power" thing even having grown up with a religion. I am not a spiritual person and very "left-brained" so this is keeping me stuck and conflicted. I'm not fighting it, just struggling to feel it.

The closest I have come so far is from this immense feeling of power and serenity I feel from the world around me, day or night, rain or shine. It is so forceful and full of energy. So, thanks Syd, I'm hoping to "come to believe" so I can move on.

Anonymous said...

Well, I managed to stand my ground and not go to the wedding. I didn't tell my Q the real reason, but at least I didn't give in to the guilty feelings or my own habit of second-guessing myself. Sure, it would have been a small thing to just go with him. But that's the problem. I just keep letting things happen, ignoring my own needs and wants, in favor of what's "easier" and creates fewer ripples.

Sorry this is not really addressing Step 2.

Anonymous said...

I am completly new here. I think I have finally accepted over these past 3 rough days that my husband is an alcoholic. I really wish I would have read this and done things a lot differently. I recently (yesterday) let my husband come back home. He has had a drinking problem for over 13 years but now he is lying, and not telling me where he is going. On Wednesday I called him and told him the locks where changed, he would not come back in. I waited....I kept thinking he loves up he will try to come home...he never did. My daughter who is 3 woke up crying Friday morning, wondering where her dad was I kept telling her he was at work. God he broke my heart he didnt even try to come home...and against all advice I had been given by my mom and cooworkers I called him Friday morning and told him to chose. Booze or our marriage. I cried so much that day my eyes still hurt today. He said I put him on the spot, and why stop drinking now after all this time. I told him I have to...I am sorry but I cant live like this anymore. He said he would try. I asked him why he didnt even try to come home and he said he didnt know....I felt like a damn fool when I found out he was out at restaurants "yes they had a bar in it" while I was worrying myself to death over him. He did come back home last night...I am scared. I am petrified that he is going to break my heart again. He has not drank..yet. I am sorry this is soo long, but I wish when I told him the doors were locked I told then that he could come home when he stopped drinking. I think I have set myself up.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:09PM - you are not alone. Remember this. Also, remember that you have to think about yourself. Read the rest of this blog. Search in the top left of the blue bar for "Did not cause it" or "cannot control it" - there are some great postings of the issues you are facing.

Find a couple of Al-Anon meetings (go to several a week) for support, learning that you cannot control his getting better and you needing to focus on you. The more you engage (look up engage here too), the more you frustrate yourself and you make the alcoholism (note: not him) stronger. Also, if you set the boundary of not coming home until he gets help - define help: AA? A rehab center? Define to him he must be attending AA for x weeks. If you set a boundary you should try to stick to it.

Changing the locks is what one AA member told someone I know at Al-Anon. It's for their own good and of course, YOURS and your 3 yr old

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A.J. said...

anonymous 1--I have been where you are and I feel your concerns. I remember thinking about all of the same things. I felt like I never had acceptance because I resented the alcoholic and his entire circle of friends (because in order to be a part of his circle--everyone in it had to be equally unhealthy). These people never accepted me. They thought I was a prude-- or whatever. I still don't know what they think--and one year later I've finally begun to let go of what they think. This is a huge step in our growth process. The key is accepting who we are unconditionally and not looking for others' approval. Our HP accepts and loves us. He IS here for us and loves us unconditionally. In our last Al-Anon meeting we talked about "self pity". This was a GREAT meeting for me! We talked about how we talk and talk and talk about what the alcoholic does, how unfairly he (or she) treats us, we go through it over and over again. While we talk about these things over and over and over, we re-live it over and over and over. It does not make us feel better. There is no acceptance that can make us feel better, but we continue to strive to get acceptance from others. Listening to others made me realize I was NOT alone and these words were very helpful to me. Now, I try not to focus on the unhealthy things in my (and my qualifier's) life. I turn it around and FORCE myself to think of something positive about MYSELF. We need to stand strong in who we are. Something that doesn't feel good in your gut doesn't feel good for a reason. It's our HP telling us something. If we never felt pain, we would never grow. I hope this helps. My thoughts are with you. And, the upside is, you are not feeling crappy this morning. Go for a walk or do something to celebrate taking care of your body, mind and spirit!

anonymous 2--I have also been where you are. I left the alcoholic in my life almost a year ago. It was the Tuesday after mother's day weekend after he drove all over drinking w/ me and our 5 month old in the vehicle. This was how I celebrated my first Mother's Day. I moved all of my stuff out after things did not change following the birth of our daughter. I was soooo scared. I felt soooo alone. I didn't know if I could do it on my own. I didn't WANT to do it on my own. All I wanted was for him to choose our family over the alcohol. I thought this would be his wakeup call.

I am hear to tell you ONE YEAR later, he is living the same life and is nearly broke. We all have choices to make in life. He has made his choices and I have made mine. I've taken up some healthy activities and made some great friends. I LOVE MY LIFE!!!! One year ago, even six months ago I felt like it would be so much easier to go back. It's hard to get over that hump, but now that I'm there, I can see everything so clearly. He still wants "his family" back. He still tells me this. I will NEVER go back as long as he's drinking. He says he has quit, but I know he's still going to all of the same restaurants for dinner, he's doing all of the same things, I know he is still drinking right along with it.

I went to my first Al-Anon meeting a month after I left him and this helped me tremendously! I learned 3 things.
1. I did not cause it
2. I cannot control it
3. I cannot cure it.

Step one made me see that I was only makingn myself and my life crazy trying to control his alcoholism. I thought if he really loved me, he'd chose me and our family over the alcohol. He told me if I didn't nag so much he wouldn't drink so much.

To hear the 3 C's was such a relief to me! I did not cause it? EXACTLY--we did NOT cause it! That's exciting--I don't have to take this personally. IT's not about me "not being good enough". I AM good enough. I now realize, looking back, I never could control it and I never will be able to cure it.
It's a cunning disease.

I have picked up the pieces and given my daughter a life of stability. I am so much more patient with her because I don't have the stress of him affecting me negatively. This is the best gift I could've given myself and her. Please find an Al-Anon meeting in your area. You will find so much love, understanding, and support there. You will find people from every background, there is no judgement there. I wish I would've found Al-Anon a long time before I did. I am taking care of myself now and because I'm taking care of myself, I'm strong enough to be a great mom.

Sorry this is so long! Good luck and keep coming back. There is a lot to be learned from this site. Joe's postings have really helped me.

Joe said...

AJ - That is such a great story. I find such strength in your words. Thank you.


Catherine said...

I second that, Joe. Very inspirational posts this weekend.

@ Anonymous Wedding No-Show: I can relate to the loneliness within the circle of boozy friends. You mention that it is a little thing, but it sounds like a big decision to me to opt out of an event like a wedding. You're brave to set that boundary and take care of yourself.

RE: Step 2,
I hear a lot of doubt in AlAnon meetings about higher power. Some people have moments or even long periods where they don't feel the connection or actually feel that their HP is neglecting them. The world is a messed up place and it does make you wonder sometimes what sort of sadist is pulling the strings. But of course, the world is also a place of overwhelming beauty and mystery with a curious order to it.

I'm not sure that I believe in God exactly. But I do believe in luck, in circumstance, in intuition and in spirituality in general. That counts as a higher power, I think.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a.j., catherine and everyone. The "boys" (my Q and his Buddy #1) came back from the wedding full of stories about the drinking, which just reinforced how glad I am to have not gone. I hung out around the house by myself, went to bed when I wanted to, got some errands done, went for a run... I feel much more prepared and emotionally stable to face the work week ahead.

It is crazy that they think this is fun or charming or hilarious. The one reason I'm sorry I didn't go to the wedding was it would have been the opportunity to meet the wife of one of my Q's main drinking buddies. I often wonder how she copes because unlike us, they have two small children, and from what I can tell he drinks more--and more frequently--than my Q.

I see my future in your situations, a.j. and anon @ 9:09. I don't know what to tell you except thank you for sharing your experience. I feel stupid complaining about this wedding thing when people have serious problems involving children, DUIs, etc.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning All,

I just know that I can't do it alone, and I don't have all the answers, (even though sometimes I think I do).

I thank my Higher Power (God)for my freedom of choice, and in not making the right decisions at times, the forgiveness he offers.

I thank my Higher Power for un-answered prayers, as they are just as powerful as those he responds to.

I thank my Higher Power for taking me in, listening to me, understanding me, and loving me.

I thank my Higer Power this morning. For without him, I am nothing, and living a life without purpose. He gives me strength, hope, and peace in my heart this morning.

Peace this Monday.


Anonymous said...

I am new to alanon and right now working on my second step. I wanted to say thank you to everyone for your words....they have helped me today.