Friday, May 9, 2008

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Restoring Ourselves to Sanity

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Restoring Ourselves 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 5/9/08 and runs to Sunday 6/11/08 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:
This is from the Al-Anon Pamphlet "Freedom from Despair"

Specialists in the field of alcoholism regard it not as a moral weakness or sin, but as a complex disease, perhaps part physical and part emotional. Alcoholics tend to be sensitive and emotionally immature, excessive in their demands on themselves as well as others. When they fail to live up to their own standards, they escape from reality by drinking. The habit leads to obsessive drinking, a compulsion so powerful that not even the threat of death or insanity seems to break it. One drink sets up an uncontrollable craving that only more drinking can appease.

. . . . The alcoholic needs encouragement and understanding whether drinking or sober. By detaching ourselves from the alcoholic's problems and concentrating restoring ourselves to serenity, we encourage the alcoholic to seek and keep sobriety.

Five Common Traits of Our Disease (Derived from the Al-Anon pamphlet, "Understanding Ourselves and Alcoholism"
{These are the key words/sentences and thoughts I pulled out]

We, too, can become ill.
We hide bottles. We search the house. All our thinking become directed at what the alcoholic is doing or not doing. This is our obsession.

Watching them slowly kill themselves . . . We worry about the bills, the children, the job . . . This is our anxiety

The alcoholic's behavior sooner or later makes us angry. He is telling us lies, not taking responsibilities, feel he doesn't love us (as parents and children) . . . This is our anger

We pretend things are alright. We hide how we feel. . . . This is our denial

Perhaps the most severe damage to us is the nagging belief that we are somehow at fault. We may feel we are not good enough, good-looking enough, clever enough for not having solved this problem . . . These are our feelings of guilt.


See if the five ways we are affected resonate with you. I know they do with me. I can even carry these behaviors to non-alcoholic environments, like work or friendships, or while being alone.

So this is where we comment!


Syd said...

well, we must be thinking the same things today. I know that alcoholism is such a baffling disease. There are days that I think I am strong and working the program and then there are times when I revert back to the anxiety and fear ridden feelings. I just wrote about difficulty in relationships because of fears. Thanks for posting this topic. It is one that I constantly work on.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in and through all that you write about here. I can say it has, and is at times a roller coaster of extremes.

Denial.. Big word for me. In it, I find myself stuck, not being able to recognize the present, let alone a path for the future. I am forcing myself daily to engage, rather than just get "stuck" I find it very difficult, but worth the efforts.

I thank a very special person in my life for asking me some very tough questions, that have moved me to act upon each of what you write about today, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Having a very stubborn personality, it makes me smile today that I could listen to her, and all the truths she shared with me, and not take it personal, or have an instant rebuttal. She knows me better than I know myself at times.

I am just trying "to keep it simple" these days.

Have a great weekend all.

Peace this Friday.


Anonymous said...

Obsession: I find myself distracted at work, at home, everywhere, by thoughts of "Should I leave? Should I leave? What should I do?" I end up not putting brain power or energy into what I need to do for myself.

Anxiety: Yes, over watching him slowly kill himself and not care enough about himself or his own future, much less our future, to stop.

Anger: Over remarks he's made to me while drunk. Over his unavailability when drunk. At myself for still being here, bitching endlessly about the same thing.

Denial: I know he has a drinking problem. Deep down I know that. But because living with an alcoholic becomes this crazy house-of-mirrors form of reality, I decided this morning to start photographing it. The empty cans and bottles. The shot glasses. So that when I feel like I'm making too much of "nothing," I can look at them and say, "This is not nothing."

Guilt: Over wanting to leave. Over pain I know that will cause him.

Stacey said...

Anonymous--we are on the same path.

I, too, am OBSESSED with thoughts of staying or going. Two weeks ago was the event that may have been his rock bottom...who knows? For now he is not drinking, although he refuses to go to AA (pride, you know).So the obsessive thoughts now also include the worry of will he really stop drinking for good this time? (He's had weeks of no alcohol previously, but then he eventually returned to drinking.)

This leads to the ANXIETY--will he really stop? And do I care anymore? Am I just depressed and blowing this all out of proportion? Wait! I can’t buy in to his warped thinking. Then again, when will that other shoe drop (which I imagine is a size 12 steel toe work boot with cleats)?

The ANGER I feel after this last incident is overwhelming me, bringing back the memories of time after time of drinking and (verbal) abuse. I may have hit my rock bottom.

Have I missed my "moment" to jump out of DENIAL and get away from this house of mirrors as you call it? If you look at the past to predict the future, I am still deep in denial that it will get better.

And the GUILT! Overwhelming guilt, guilt over not what is, but what could be. I do know I didn’t cause his alcoholism, nor can I fix it. Guilt over what will happen if I choose to leave. The people I don't want to disappoint. The hurt I don't want to inflict. And guilt over walking away from what many would call a very good life. Alcoholism has not as yet affected his work. He never has a hangover. He is a great provider…financially. He says I’m selfish for saying I’m not happy. He says happiness isn’t something achievable and I need to ‘get over it’.

I don’t think it’s wrong to want a better life, do you? As you well know, I’m not talking about money…

Thanks to all who read and identify. Thank you for the connection here.

Anonymous said...

Tonight I am angry at my mother for drinking again after 20 years. I'm angry she doens't answer the phone. I'm angry she locks herself in the house and drinks all day. I'm angry that other people are in DENIAL. I'm obsessed over her behavior and I feel guilty that I cann't fix it.
I feel sad and angry and fear.
I feel angry about tip toeing around her disease and pretending it doesn't exist, all for the sake of "the family".
I'm angry that I never had a mother. I'm angry that all she does is feel sorry for herself and drink.

Anonymous said...

Stacey, thanks for your words. My qualifier is the same kind of alcoholic you describe: can drink half the night and get up and function the next day. This makes it worse in that he can justify that he doesn't have a problem.

You are right, we appear to be on the same path.

A friend of mine, whose father is an alcoholic, sent me the following words yesterday. Perhaps they will help you too. Yes, she repeated herself on purpose.

"He is not going to change. He is not going to change. He is not going to change.

Is this the life you want?

Is this the life you want?

Is this the life you want?

Take steps toward leaving, for your own future and happiness.

Take steps toward leaving, for your own future and happiness.

Take steps toward leaving, for your own future and happiness."

The idea of leaving feels awful, but staying feels awful too. I just don't know how to find the words to say, after five years together, "You know, I'm gonna have to leave and let you and the booze have a lovely destructive life together..."

Stacey said...

Thanks for those words. Interesting, empowering, terrifying, educational words. Wow…the conversation going on inside my head right now about those words!!

I wish I only had five years invested. Next week is our 26th anniversary. The problem drinking has “only” been the past 4 and a half years. And the past year is when I finally labeled it alcoholism. He is finally calling it alcoholism himself just in the past few months.

What I am doing now is making my plan to escape. Will I need it? I don’t know. Do I want to use it? Can’t answer that either. All I know right now, just for today, is that our college age sons return home for the summer next week. They will get me through the summer…just by being home and injecting more life into our home. By the time they return to school, my plan will be in place and I will know if I am leaving or staying.

A counselor asked me the question…do you want to live another year like this? Another five years? Fifteen? Definitely not. Decidedly not. Not even for one year. But if he really does stop drinking for good and…and…and….all those unknowns stacking up against the things I do know.

So, Anonymous, thank you for those words. (You have a good friend to counsel you like that.) I’ll hit print, and paste them into my notebook that I am creating with my plans for ME.

Anonymous said...

"When they fail to live up to their own standards, they escape from reality by drinking." This sentence really rings true with my qualifier.

No one can live up to the unrealistic (and oftentimes rediculous) standards he sets for himself. His obsession with perfection (his ego) with every little task overshadows everything else thats going on. It's absolutely exhausting. Then the drinking starts at 5 pm. along with the verbal abuse.

After living with this daily routine of Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde behavior and going through various stages of obsession, anxiety, anger, denial, and guilt for 18 years, I'm slowly learning to detach because I did not cause this and I cannot cure it. The most difficult one left to get a grip on is my constant anxiety.

I came across a note I had written in my journal this morning. It said "Healthy people do not sacrifice themselves for the sake of someone else's ego". I didn't write down where I had read this, but I think it is a very important statement.

While dealing with the latest crisis, I think it's about time to face the fact that I'm guilty of sacrificing the one beautiful life given to me for the sake of my qualifier's ego. If I want a happy healthy life I can no longer sacrifice myself.

Anonymous said...

You are right, Stacy, five years doesn't really compare to 26... What the last anon wrote is really resonating with me: I think it's about time to face the fact that I'm guilty of sacrificing the one beautiful life given to me for the sake of my qualifier's ego. If I want a happy healthy life I can no longer sacrifice myself. I think "ego" here can mean many things. To me it is my qualifier's desire to do as much drinking as he likes, without hearing complaint or having to consider its impact on others. Also his ego in the sense that (ironically) I worry about hurting him. Seems stupid, given that he doesn't seem to worry about what's hurting me.

About leaving, I find I have to adjust my thinking. It's easier to think of it in terms of: I am leaving because I cannot witness any more of this, your destruction of mind and body. It saddens and damages me. Therefore, I must remove myself. And give you (my Q) the space to think about your relationship to alcohol and what you want in the future.

I think about how two years ago, when I almost left, I only had 3 years "invested." Now it's five. My friend is right, nothing has changed. It's unlikely anything will. In fact, change is probably LESS likely merely by my staying and maintaining the status quo.

Sorry to go on and on, people. I hope my musings are helpful to others, not just to me...

one beautiful life...

Anonymous said...

First off i want to say my qualifier supposedly had sixty something days.Well there was a person in our church that payed for a white water rafting for him He was so delighted. Anyhow he got to go with a bunch of church people Came home was upbeat. We ahd a small little squabble. I returned after going out. Oh he had a little bit of money. So i thought no he is doing good He probably went to get me a Mothers day present. No not.
He retured Oh so what to my surprise drunk.
I was so angry I hit the roof. I kept on asking him
I smack him acoss the face and grabbed hs shirt to just get away from me. Then we had a fight and he pushed me and i pulled his hair.
I allowed my anger to get out of control I am so darn frustrated Iregardless i have not right to do that to anyone.
My daughter defended me and for the first time i realized that my daughter at 10 years old was reallly effected She called him names cursed at him Something i am so remorseful about,
I know i have angry issues but i never ever seem in my whole life to do this.
I know i have to make a decison about my life. I cant wait for him to do it.
I am so sick and tired of this disease. To the point i am engaging myself in harmful behavior. I apologize for my actions No excuse. I know in my heart something must change and i am the only one that can do this
I need to go to meetings I know more and get stronger and possibly leave this realtionship
I do love him but i am so tired of it all. I have witnessed people try to help him in AA. He knows the program but continue with his excuses. I do believe anyone can change but i am realistic not him
I know i need to change big time.
Today i am beating myself up for what i did. So i have to remember to think and get away quickly If i dont, i cant revert to this behavior anymore It isnt acceptable. Ever.

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely livid that I did finally kick him out. I sacrificed myself, my health, my love, my time, everything I could until I was sick too...depressed, worried, the anxiety took me over. I am angry that now I feel weak.
I am angry that I kicked him out and he shows no signs of missing me. I hate that...
I hurts more than I can describe here.

ViK[RuM] said...

According of many researchers Alcohol and Drug addiction is simply defined as a compulsive need for an intoxicating liquid that is obtained from fermented grain or fruit. These liquids include beer, wine, and other hard liquors. it says like every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. and Alcohol addiction may also inflame the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, and could cause cancer in these areas, especially in drinkers who also smoke. Have a desire to stop the Alcohol and Drug addiction. You must have a serious desire to stop from being an alcoholic.correct the desire is needed but trust me it isnt an easy thing to do, in our rehab, the patients who come, most of them have been been with us before. the treat ment is tough, more or less it is same, for each other addictions, but the patients are dealt differently. i case of teens it is difficult as chances of relapse is more

in them
This is a comprehensive addiction portal focusing on topics of alcohol and drug abuse.

Julia said...

To anonymous with the alcoholic mother: Just wanted to let you know I am pretty much in the same position of you. Although my mother has never stopped drinking, she has been for over 30 years. THings have come to a head and I am taking her to the hospital in the morning for detox. I am pretty much out of hope, she has been through this before to go home and lock herself in her house alone with her 3 cats and drink her life away. She is going to lose her house because she doesn't work because she is drunk all the time. I have been praying asking GOd to help her see the light, but then again I have been praying since I could understand the situation (20 years ago at least). I just hope he heard me. I need help. She needs more help than I. I am going to a Alanon meeting on Sunday, I kicked the idea around for years and I finally realize I need to go for my sanity. I will probably be crying the whole time, I expect for the first few meetings I will be a mess. But they are probably used to that.
Its nice to read others struggles. WHile I feel terrible for everyone going through this, its comforting to know I am not alone. I'm hoping to get some insight on how to detach from the situation because I haven't been able to do that so far and it rules my life. I hope tomorrow goes well, and she doesn't sign herself out. Pray for her. And me. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Since joining google blogs I decided to look for Alanon. I have not gone to a alanon meeting but I have gone to a physcolgist for help. I am married to a alcoholic who is in complete denial> I read all your stories and I fit right in everything that you said. I feel all the anxiety, anger, denial that everything is alright. The odd days when he doesn't drink we are pleasant to one another those are the days when I am in denial but the trust fades away. Many times over the years I have thought about "What am I doing this for, staying" I end up pushing myself to think about other thing and do other things to exhaustion and put walls up around myself. My relationship is built around fear of doing anything wrong, making too much noise around the house, getting in the road of him while he is drinking. He is looking for so much sympathy at the moment because of the pain in his back he is not getting it from me I am trying so hard to keep my distance because I know it is self imposed pain and illness. Over the years I have developed the distance from him and tried took keep the relationship simple, let him go his way and I go mine, which leads to a motto that I have lived by for a long time "a day at a time." I have watched a person go from a decent young man that I fell for many years ago to a person with a gut,beard,hard skin. Now I try hard to ignore his statement that he makes about me, I used to go and hide when he upset me with his crude remarks, now I say to him "go look at yourself" before you tag me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Do you have any info on telephone groups?

sharon shine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am new to al anon. I have yet to attend a meeting. My son just finished rehab and his wife will not take him back till he gets through the 90 day period sober. I hope that this forum allows us to air our concerns and provide guidance. I don't know where to draw the line between enabling and extending basic human kindness. IE I want to advise him no less than I would any other member of my family or friends in a manner which was not controlling but helpful. Yet the education we have been getting about co-dependence seems to shun any helping because it may somehow rob the recovering addict of his initiative and thereby self-esteem. Can someone out there give us some rules of the road?

nicci said...

o god please help me and he did he send me alanon and the 12 steps that was 42 yrs ago and i am so grateful it restored me to sanity it gave me courage to leave my 23 yrs of alcoholic marriage it gave me the tools of living one day at the time when i had breast cancer and went thrue chemo it thought me to let go with love when one of my children became an alcoholic and an other drug adicted it made me heathy to recinize a healthy man and now in my 70tisch a very happy snowbird i have a living relationship with my higher power of my understanding is there no more hurt or struggles in my life ?????????? there is but it is up to me how i will deal or not deal with them grateful to the peole in alanon who loved me until i could love myself so to all of you out there we love you in alanon try the meetings if not satisfied we return your misery

Anonymous said...

I'm so thankful for this site--have been looking for more information on "detachment with love". Think this is important to the alcoholic in my life, as well as myself.