Friday, May 2, 2008

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Denial & Recovery

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Denial & Recovery

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 5/2/08 and runs to Sunday 5/5/08 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.

Here are some guidelines ---> Click for Guidelines. Bottom line; say what you want, when you want, as many times as you want, to whomever you want, about whatever you want. Cross-talk is allowed ("cross-talk" is talking to each other, not being "cross" to the other).

This is where we start:
Denial. I am not sure I ever liked the word. The word "denial," at least to me, has a sense of meaning that is apportioning blame or being "less than" someone else. Because not being in denial seems to mean enlightened - over someone else.

But denial, if I can listen to the word from a recovery perspective, (recovery means get back to being well), can be our first step toward becoming ourselves again.

This is from the book, "From Survival To Recovery."
"Recovery can begin when we recognize that someone else's drinking has affected us. How can we tell? We have found that the answers to the following questions helped us decide if we grew up with or live with alcoholism, and they may help you.

1. Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation?

2. Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments?

3. Do you fear criticism?

4. Do you overextend yourself?

5. Have you had problems with our own compulsive behavior?

6. Do you have a need for perfection?

7. Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?

8. Do you feel more alive in a crisis?

9. Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the problem drinker in your life?

10. Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself?

11. Do you isolate yourself from other people?

12. Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people?

13. Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you?

14. Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?

15. Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker?

16. Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to be compulsive and/or abusive?

17. Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone?

18. Do you often mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others?

19. Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions?

20. Do you think parental drinking may have affected you?

If you answered "yes" to some or all of the above questions, Al-Anon may also help you. We have found that the disease of alcoholism disrupted our youth and continues to affect our adult lives in both subtle and blatant ways. Because of the disease, our parents were unable to give us what we needed as children in order to fully mature.

Our lack of emotional grounding sometimes takes the disguise of excessive responsibility. We can appear extremely mature and serious, while in reality we lack confidence and feel driven.

The fear that accompanies the disease of alcoholism creates difficulty in talking about our problems, trusting ourselves and others, and feeling our authentic emotions.

Not talking, not trusting, or not feeling, helped us survive as children [and as adults in alcoholism - my words in brackets], but those things keep us stuck as adults in patterns that do not work."

Joe speaking:
We need to unlearn these patterns of behavior that are automatic responses for us who have lived or are living with alcoholism. This is part of our disease. Dis-ease, the feeling of our dis-comfort. The sense of not being what we can be. Therefore we need to gain ourselves back. We need to REcover. We need to fight to regain ourselves and our authenticity.

When I say, "fight," I am not talking about violence, but I am talking about getting our will back. The will to become whole again is what we need to fight for. To become for ourselves does not mean to be against anyone else. It just means to become what we should have been, what we can be, what we owe to ourselves, what we owe to our family, what we owe to our Higher Power.

Becoming what we can be, should have been, becoming whole again, means breaking the patterns we have used to survive alcoholism. It means recognizing that these patterns actually do not serve us positively any longer. And this is especially true to recognize in our stages of early recovery.

Let's discuss, how some of these questions may help you place the spotlight of awareness on patterns of behavior and thinking no longer serving you. And how we can overcome the darkness of denial that relates to our getting whole and recovering to be what we were meant to be!

This is where we comment and discuss our topic for today.

PS - An idea I have is to print these questions out and work through them in the privacy of your home. Try to write out how these questions may be affecting your personal, professional and family life. Write these out in your journal and go back and review your answers over time. Think about how you can help your children with these questions as they grow up, if you are living in a family of alcoholism.


TraceyBaby said...

I do feel responsible for the drug addict in my life because he is my son and he is young but no, it is certainly not serving me well at all.

Anonymous said...

Here are the one's I deal with;

1. I seek affirmation and approval of others. While I say I don't I really do. I am not sure this is not normal. It may be what I do to get the approval that is not normal.

8. I do like a crisis. I do feel the energy flowing. I know this is not healthy. I need to be aware of this and be aware as to not create a crisis, much like firefighters who love fires

12. Regarding authority and angry people. I don't fear them (do I?), but I don't like people who use their authority and arrogance. Does that count?

17. Clinging on to relationships. YES. I am afraid of being alone and without someone

Anonymous said...

I too feel responsible because the most afflicted drinker in my life is my adult son. I don't think I'm going to get past this like I did with my parents and husband. This is my most significant issue in all of the questions.

We are finally in crisis but I don't thrive on it to feel alive. I've been dreading it because I'm terrified this will all end badly, possibly in suicide. My daughter-in-law thinks his extreme binge drinking may be his way of hiding from the possibility that he may be gay and absolutely cannot face this.

We've been praying for our Higher Power to help him find a way to get help, but his denial and retreat into the bottle is so profound that it all feels so hopeless right now. I didn't cause this and can't control it, but knowing that doesn't help a bit.

This situation makes all the other questions feel irrelevant.

TraceyBaby said...

Anonymous, you can't make him get help. I too have worried in the past (and the recent past) that possibly some day, one of my son's may commit suicide. But again that is nothing that I can control. This is what Alanon is all about. I can show love and support without enabling. I am still a work in progress. A therapist recently said to me that if I am doing all of the worrying for him, maybe he doesn't have to do it for himself. That is not a good thing for me or him. Hand things over to God/or your HP. And pray for the best for him and for you.

Anonymous said...

1, 2, 6, 18 and 19 sometimes.
The rest thankfully, not much.

The most difficult one for me is 18, mistrusting my own feelings and the feelings expressed by others. I have lately become more aware of when I am second guessing my decision or my interpretation of what others say, and see the consequences it will cause for me in the future. I have learned to rely more on my instinct and my first decision than to negotiate with myself. When I hear the negotiating/compromising voice in my head I know I need to ask myself, "Wait a minute... is this really what I want/ really what works for me?".


Anonymous said...

Wow. It's easier to answer which ones do NOT apply...

#8 is a maybe
#12 angry people make me uncomfortable, but not fearful. other times they just make me want to rage back at them.
#13 no
#14 intimate relationships...maybe? I probably have a problem? jury's still out on this one.
#15 I don't think I confuse pity with love
The rest are pretty much "yes" or "probably yes."

#20 is the big question. Because no one was ever visibly drunk, at least that I recall, it's hard to say. I don't know if our family dynamic was from alcohol or from my father's undiagnosed mood disorder. Maybe both.