Saturday, April 25, 2009

Try Six Meetings To See If Al-Anon Is Right For You

Try Six (6) Meetings - Al-Anon - Is Right For You

This morning it is early. I am not sure what I am going to write. I have not been to my meetings like I need to.

In my city I am blessed. There are several meetings a day. I have to drive 20 or 45 minutes - but there are meetings.

I went yesterday and the night before. These meetings vary - widely. One meeting is filled with straights, singles, marrieds and gays. A lot more of the latter. It is strange that I can write this and I am not sure why I am sharing this - but it is this meeting that I like the most.

I think it is the sheer honesty - without masking - that I feel I can reveal what I feel. In other meetings, I still feel compelled to "sound smart" and also, there is this "woman thing," - I want to not be or sound too "goofy" [definitely not the right word] in front of them.

The good news is - I found which meetings work best. The meeting I referred to earlier - and it is because I believe there are more gays there, is my favorite. I think it is also because we sit in a circle - with nothing in between us all. It feels like we have "nothing between us that separates us."

I go to other meetings and we sit around the table. I sit in meetings all day around tables - a conference room table, discussing accounts strategies, and client solutions, with my team at work. So, I guess I am tired of tables.

The meeting with "gays" - gets filled up with straights - and there are newcomers meetings. Funny, [the strange type of funny], I like these meetings a lot because we focus on Steps 1, 2, and 3. And we are always Newcomers. Not just the Newcomers, but I feel we ARE ALWAYS starting over - with a fresh perspective - relearning these Steps 1, 2 and 3, at a deeper level.

In the Newcomers meetings I used to be VERY sensitive to those who were really raw - so new it was there first meeting. I can remember - almost two years ago - crying - yes - really - crying trying to get my wife to stop drinking and driving with children in the car.

OKAY - remember this? You who are new - are you asking; "Why didn't he hide the keys?" - and "Why didn't he force her to stay home?" - And - "How come he could not tell she was drinking?"

Answers -

I did. I did. Really strange - but - I couldn't.

The last part - was - I couldn't tell when she had been drinking. Yes there were signs. I looked too. Looked for the signs; the lips - they were moist and were - well - stiff and yet wobbly?. The walk - a slight stagger - so slight - if you knew her - you thought maybe she was "just off" that day. Her speech - slightly more talk and rapid.

Ooooops. I drifted. I was focusing on her!

The Newcomer - how in the world can you not focus on her????? Are you selfish?

I used to be SOOOO focused on her, that I lost where I stopped and she began. Hard to explain to a Newcomer. Easy now to see it thankfully.

Back to the meetings . . .

It's Saturday this morning, as I write this. There are several Men's Meetings. I like these meetings - SOMETIMES. There is too much testosterone in one. I feel we are all competing. I realize it is ALL probably me competing. I would say I am not very competitive. Others would probably say I am very competitive [not at meetings - probably - mostly at work].

The "shares" at the Men's Meetings are honest. But I feel a sense of "not going to sound smart" and we are all competing to talk. There is never enough time because the meeting is SOOO large.

Plus - I am going to write this - there are no women there. I feel women DO add to the meeting. But it is my ego that "stops" me from revealing my feelings. I feel like they may talk about this guy named "Joe" amongst themselves. But at the same time the women offer a very similar story from a different perspective.

One last thing I will share this morning.

I went back to my "regular" Saturday morning meeting a few weeks ago.

The meeting had changed!!!!

After the speaker story, people shared but commented on the speaker and how much the person had changed, gotten better, AND - offered advice!

I was - well - APPALLED. I shared at this meeting and spoke from the "I" and of course I slightly commented on HOW it was all about me - no matter what happened to the alcoholic - I had to focus on me and my shares had to be from the "I" perspective - not on "Us" or "We" or "you."

In truth - the meeting I loved and that I first went to every Saturday with men and women, had not changed - I was the one that changed. The one that gave me turbo growth was the meeting filled with people who were REALLY following the rules and principles of Al-Anon. Keep the focus on yourself - speak only Al-Anon literature - no commenting etc. The meeting was and is reallllly "tough" on these guidelines. To the point - to where they turned some people off. Certain members have gotten better about stating right out loud "Can you use the word 'I' when sharing please?" and "We try to stick to Al-Anon literature here."

Even in my egoic disease and the progress I have made - these comments would have and still will - send me flying . . . in embarrassment and replaying the event in my head.

Progress, not Perfection
I am blessed. Good things have happened to me - and they are - well - frankly, miracles. I quickly forget where I came from and where I am.

Six meetings. If you are in a large city - try six meetings.

Where I suck is this - I saw my sponsor Thursday night. We sat next to each other. BUT WE HAVE NOT TALKED. I suck. I need to really work my program. I need his help and guidance, because I am living in my head.

Six meetings. Try to do them ALL in a week. But do this for a month. That is my recommendation.


Nebraska Cindy said...

Wow! Excellent! I'll come back to this later today...I have a nephews soccer game to cheer at. Awesome post.

kristinacroal said...

I just found this post today as I was looking for the book "The dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage" and I found myself reading some of your posts. I, too, have been married to an alcoholic who I think could technically be considered a "dry drunk" right now. He has been clean since March 16, 2009, diagnosed with Hep C about a month prior to that, and he entered a 28 day treatment program on March 22, 2009 and returned home on April 17, 2009. We are passed our "honeymoon" phase of being home and are hitting some major speed bumps, so to speak. I have attended 2 al-anon meetings, with the third one being tonight (meets mondays at 6:30). I loved this group the first night I entered as I felt so confortable for the beginning. I am not sure if it was the people or if it was because I was so ready for the change myself, but I really don't need to care about the reason so much as the fact that I knew from the beginning that it was for me. I have started counsiling for myself because I have childhood abuse issues to deal with along with the lack of self-esteem, importance and the feelings of being isolated. I am slowly learning as much as I can about this family disease of alcoholism, but it seems as if I can't fill my mind fast enough to suit me. I want all the changes and I want them all now. I am a beginner, so any advice on how to slow down would be of great importance to me at this point, I think. I am not sure what else to write at this point, but that I am here and I am starting to work the program the best I know how. With that being said...I will pass.
Kris in MN

Nebraska Cindy said...

keep comin' back kristin! Al Anon has saved my life, and I'm not exaggerating!

J. R. said...

I've been a Sponsor for an Alateen meeting for over 14 years and this is what I tell the parents that bring their kids who are afraid they won't want to stay. Just have them attend 6 meetings. If they don't want to come back, they don't have to. but it never ceases to amaze me how many want to keep coming back.

Syd said...

I knew that Al-Anon was right for me on my first meeting. It felt comfortable. I'm glad that I kept coming back. And am still going.