Sunday, March 25, 2007

They're Just Like Me

I found a new Al-Anon meeting a few weeks ago and went for my second time tonight. It was awesome. It's an adult child meeting, which is my favorite kind. We opened with the borrowed Problem statement from ACA, and the topic was "detaching," which is a great one for me, and something I need to learn to do better.

But what I keep thinking about tonight is how it feels to begin recovery. We had three first-time visitors today and I could feel their freaked-out vibes from across the room. It brought back a lot of memories. I've been thinking about how, when you begin recovery, (somehow along the way it's become more costly to continue the old behavior than it is to stop it), and you walk into a meeting and listen to the stories, you think, "Oh my god. What a sad group. It's a good thing they're here because these poor people need help. Me, on the other hand, I have nothing in common with these people. But they have it bad. And if they want to sit here and boo-hoo about their problems, that's fine, but I don't need to be here . . ." I remember sitting in my first meeting, eyes wide as saucers, staring at the floor but sneaking glances at the people around me, thinking that I had wandered into Losers Anonymous. I was thanking god that I was so much better off than everyone else. But it didn't last for long.

It's the best and the worst day in recovery when you realize that the freaks telling the stories are just like you. And that you're right where you belong, sitting in that meeting, and that you have everything in common with the people around you. It's small, but it's hard, and it's something that I remember going through. It can be a real hurdle because the implications are huge. I hope the visitors from the meeting today come back - it gets so much better.


  1. i've been thinking a lot about finding a meeting. i only attended back when i was a teen and they freaked me out. i was too young and too closed off to get anything out of them. maybe now i would be more receptive? you've got me inspired!

  2. Hey, Sizz - I didn't go to Alateen, either. It freaked me out, too. I probably could have benefitted by giving them a chance, but it wasn't going to happen. Al-Anon or the AA model isn't for everyone, for sure. But it's been great for me.

  3. I loved your "costing me more to let them continue" statement. Wow. I'm sending ths post along to a friend or two.

  4. Hey - I am an ACA too! I don't go as much as I used to but yeah...every time someone new comes in, I see that look of terror. It is interesting to see them become an old timer rather quickly though!

  5. and then you come to love the freaks and realize we're all the same and just being human is freak-inducing.

    happy you went back. such strength in the spiritual life.