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My First Al-Anon Meeting

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Left Coast, Oct 19, 2021.

  1. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    To be perfectly honest, I've been a bit of an emotional mess lately. I believe my depression and anxiety are being barely kept in check, and I routinely lack the motivation to do basic tasks: go to work, do laundry, do the dishes, etc. I find myself emotionally labile: easily angered, impatient, sad for little to no reason. My sleep schedule has gone completely to ****.

    My recent breakup from a relationship of 4 years has certainly contributed to these feelings. I also think many of us are sort of in a weird general malaise and exhaustion since COVID hit, especially since I've continued going into work almost every day.

    So anyway, at the suggestion of a therapist I decided to go to an Al-Anon meeting (like AA, but for family/loved ones of folks who have problems drinking rather than a problem themselves). I won't go into detail but needless to say I have a history of growing up around and living with folks with substance use issues.

    The meeting was mildly awkward and the agnostic in me sort of rolls my eyes at the the God-oriented language but I'm willing to work with it. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not entirely composed of Boomers...Millennials were there! So that part was nice. And the people seemed generally friendly.

    The theme for the evening was "Walking Through Fear." It was nice to hear folks share about facing their fears and so on, though I didn't have the courage to share myself this first time. I probably will if/when I go again.

    I may post about future experiences if I think they might be edifying (while respecting the anonymity of attendees, obviously). Thanks for reading of you made it this far into my rambling.

    :purpleheart:
     
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  2. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    Life is sometimes hard and emotional distress makes it harder. Add on top of that any chemical abuse and its gets harder.
    I wish you the best with over coming any and all of it.
     
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  3. Rival

    Rival Dex Me Gart
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    You'll make it through this, friendo :)

    I mean you're already staff on RF :D
     
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  4. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    My wife's mother was a "high functioning" alcoholic. She got through childhood because of her father and his mother who lived with them. I know second hand how tough it is.

    I think others could easily benefit from what you might share.
     
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  5. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I think I probably told you once that I used to attend a lot of different 12 step meetings back in the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. I never went to Al-Anon but I went to ACOA, CODA and OA. I even went to SA a few times. :D

    I went mainly for the fellowship and to learn to be less codependent by sharing and listening to others but I never worked the 12 steps as they say, since I am not much for structure. Even though I was a Baha'i back then, the idea of a higher power was not something I could relate to. Since I knew little about God back in those days. It seemed silly to me to give it over to a higher power who had no definition.

    Now I understand what they were getting at -- giving it over to God -- but I did not understand back in those days because I was not doing anything with God or religion. One thing I did get out of the programs is that I learned that cannot control people places and things. I never understood what they were saying about living one day at a time until more recently because I was always stuck in the past which caused depression or thinking about the future which causes anxiety. Now I live in the I am in and don't think about the future; although I have an idea about what I need to do, I don't worry about it till I have to do it.

    I recently started going to a counselor again, back in August, because I feel like my life is so up in the air. Since August some things have been settled so I am feeling a little better although I still want to continue seeing the counselor because she is very good and I think she can help me with avoidance behavior and indecisiveness. I am seeing her every three weeks.

    Of course I avoid certain things because of fear and anxiety and the more I avoid them the harder it is to face them, like the dentist, it had been eight years since I saw a dentist. I went today and I had been dreading it since I made the appointment about six weeks ago. The news is not great because I might need a couple of root canals but it is not as bad as I imagined it could be, as I am not going to lose any teeth.

    Talk about rambling,:rolleyes: I am rambling because I have hardly slept because I have been so worried about this appointment so I need to sleep tonight. My next major hurdle is getting the tenant to pay his rent but I could not deal with that until this dentist appointment was over... I need to recover from this and then I will send him the e-mail. It's curtains for that guy unless he pays me the two months rent he now owes me and keeps paying the rent. I just got a check for $18,000 from the rental assistance program, he owed me that much, so now he needs to start paying or vacate. The eviction moratorium finally ends at the end of this month.

    I intuitively know what I can handle and one thing at a time seems to be the only way I can get things done.
    .
     
    #5 Trailblazer, Oct 20, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
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  6. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    I had to search the internet for the meaning of ACOA. It means Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents. One of your parents was an alcoholic. If I remember right, it was your mother. I have such poor memory these days. My wife went to OA for awhile, she is overweight. I have no idea what CODA means. I found references to the end a musical piece or Children of Deaf Parents. There is a series called CODA, which is about a child with deaf parents appropriately. SA appears to be a joke judging from the green grinning thing, I don't know what SA means.

    As to the rest of your post, it is your usual revealing honest post I have always liked.

    Edit: CODA is Codependent Anonymous.
     
    #6 Truthseeker9, Oct 20, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
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  7. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Both my parents were alcoholics but not falling over drunk. They were what is referred to as maintenance drinkers, only drank at home. But after my father died when I was 12 yrs old my mother started to drink heavily. She continued to drink until she became a Baha'i about eight years after my father died in 1964.

    SA is Sexaholics Anonymous. :D I wasn't always the way I am now. ;)
    And now I am going to sleep, I need sleep badly after the dental anxiety.
     
  8. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Non-debating member when I can help myself

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    I am up very late tonight. This is the end for me, too.
     
  9. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    I did exactly that. Since then, fillings, double root canal, crowns... techniques and equipment have improved loads.

    Try developing psychological analgesia. Three things.

    1. Cultivate BELIEF in a positive outcome.
    At the dentist:
    2. Physically RELAX. Slow and deep breathing.
    3. DISTRACT yourself thinking of something else. Maybe your cats?
     
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  10. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    I hope the meetings are beneficial, if you go again, and you feel able to share. Best wishes.
     
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  11. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Silent Generation - so don't expect much
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    I've never been a binge drinker apart from when the opportunity was there to start early and to continue drinking, as for some particular events. I usually could manage an evening's drinking with some friends so as it not to cause any problems but that is long gone. My wine drinking (usually with a meal) I think has become a problem, and is something I am currently cutting down on - so as to have alcohol-free days. Fortunately I can recognise when things become issues as to consumption (of most things) but then I don't have a lot of stress in my life, so perhaps such makes it a lot easier than for others.
     
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  12. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    I am talking to a few good friends about trying more socializing opportunities where we don't drink: perhaps plays, or comedy shows, or going for hikes or other things outdoors. I am not an alcoholic but I am getting tired of drinking being the norm whenever we hang out. It ruins my sleep.

    Best wishes in your efforts to cut back!
     
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  13. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Notice something about God. Just substitute God with a belief in something other than yourself. As a NA I believe in Humanity. You could believe in Objective Truth, Science, Philosophy or what not. Just a principle "higher" than you.
     
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  14. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    Hi friend. :blush:

    I'm glad you're seeing a therapist and hope she helps you with your anxiety. Sorry about the dental news, though I'm glad it's not as bad as you feared.

    You make a great point about the roots of depression and anxiety. Living one day at a time - ie in the present moment - is very wise. I also appreciate the wisdom of the serenity prayer to recognize what is and isn't in my control. Applying those principles is easier said than done!
     
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  15. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    The variety and numbers of low/no alcohol drinks is rocketing - beers, wines and spirits.
     
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  16. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    May you find victory at the end of this journey
     
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  17. RayofLight

    RayofLight My pronouns: they/them

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    Good luck.
     
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  18. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    Thank you everyone for your well wishes! :blush:
     
  19. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    The first time I went to an AA meeting I had absolutely NO idea what to expect. I knew nothing at all about AA except that it's where drunks went when they had no money, no health insurance, and couldn't stop drinking. And it turned out I was one of them. I lived in a big city so there was an AA 'hotline' I could call. And when I called it a very no-nonsense black lady answered and gave me the address for the nearest AA meeting in the next couple of hours. I had no idea that there are all kinds of AA meetings, for all kinds of people. There are open meetings, closed meetings, speaker meetings, discussion meetings, big book meetings, 12 step meetings, combination meetings, meetings for women only, meetings for men only, there are gay only meetings, atheist-agnostic meetings, drug and alcohol related meetings, beginner meetings, and so on. I also did not know that each AA meeting is autonomous, and is determined and controlled by a consensus among the participants. There are no 'bosses', no 'bouncers', no 'insiders', no mandatory donations or participation. Nor did I know that AA is not a religious organization.

    So I show up at the address I was given, and it's in a church rectory! (This was just the place they happened to e able to rent, cheap, for their meeting, but I didn't know this.) And there were only men there. Which I thought was kind of odd. Then, when the meeting got started some older guy sat at the head of the table and conducted the meeting, so I though he was some sort of boss, and it turned out to be a "big book" meeting where they read a section of the Alcoholics Anonymous book and discuss it. And this was all beginning to freak me out. It looked like some sort of cult thing! Then I noticed that there was a weird relationship going on between some of the men there. Like they were in some sort of 'couple' with a dominant and a submissive! And there was a kind of intimacy between them all that I did not understand and seemed very creepy. And this freaked me out even more!

    Needless to say, whatever was going on there, I wanted no part of it! And I decided I'd rather keep drinking than join whatever bizarre cult nonsense that group was into. So I kept drinking for another 2 years before things got so bad that I no longer cared what kind of cult they were. I had to do something.

    Turns out that woman I called on the hotline had sent me to a gay men's 'big book' meeting! The "couples" were really just sponsors and their sponsees, the former helping the later work their 12 steps of the recover program. :) No cult nonsense, no weird gay hook-up dom/sub or anything like that. I just didn't understand how the program worked. And it cost me two more years of misery.



    Alanon is a very important program because it helps people who are not alcoholic, but who happen to love and care about someone who is, understand the disease and the insane behavior of those afflicted by it so they can learn how to keep themselves from being harmed (any more) as collateral damage. These folks really need to know that their loved one's insane behavior is not their fault. And that they cannot fix it. So they have to decide how to best deal with it for their own well-being. And that's what the meetings are there to do - to help them decide how they want to deal with it, and then help them do what they need to do to make that happen. And it's all mutual support. No money, no religion, no politics, just people helping each other deal with a very difficult problem. It's actually kind of beautiful when you think about it. You get to help others as they help you.
     
    #19 PureX, Oct 20, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
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