Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just For Today

It feels like my family is going through the 9th circle of hell right now. I know we're not special - I keep coming across reminders that a lot of people are going through the same. It's so tough. I hate how hard it is. But I'm doing my thing and you're doing yours. We're trying to be nice when we bump up against each other. I hope we'll all make it.

I'm going to Al-Anon every week and hoping to add a second meeting just to have another resource when I need it. Today's meeting was really great. There was a newcomer, so experienced folks geared their sharing toward how the program has helped them overall. The speaker described how much emotional pain she was in when she first came to an Al-Anon meeting 20 years ago, and she said, "We come for the relief, and we stay for the recovery." Later someone else said to the newcomer, "We come because of the pain; we stay for the miracle." Al-Anon is a miracle to me, so those words meant a lot.

There is a reading nick-named The Recovery that is read at the beginning of every meeting and it's one of my favorites. It holds a lot of hope for me. I know if you're not familiar with 12-step programs, it all sounds kind of wacky/cult-ish/Saturday Night Live skit-ish, but those that know, know.

In Al-Anon we find the tools that enable us to put the past to rest, to forgive, and go on to live meaningful adult lives. Al-Anon helps resolve feelings of anger, guilt, and denial. Through working the Al-Anon program, children of alcoholics begin to change attitudes and behaviors that no longer work into rewarding and productive ways of living. The new understanding they find, through sharing their experiences and hope with others, improves their current relationships. Every area of their lives is affected by the desire to better themselves.
In Al-Anon we learn individuals are not responsible for another person's disease or recovery from it. We let go of our obsession with another's behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a power great than ourselves.
In Al-Anon we learn not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people, not to allow ourselves to be used or abused in the interest of another's recovery, and not to do for others what they should do for themselves. The emphasis begins to be lifted from the alcoholic and placed where we do have some power - over our own lives.


  1. Oh boy, families and relationships are not for the faint of heart. Add into the mix drug or alcohol issues and you've got a delicious recipe for trouble. But you've also got an opportunity for good things. Thinking of you. For the future, for the journey. Keep at it.

  2. I'm glad you've found a place that is healing for you. We all need that.

    I get it. In my own way, I do.

  3. I've never been an alcoholic and neither of my adoptive parents were alcoholics, yet I often find myself reading self-help books that list my less useful behaviours as those of someone who had an alcoholic parent or partner.

    It's in 'The Recovery', too - the bit about not holding ourselves responsible for someone else's behaviour or their recovery. This is a pattern that I've fallen into too many times.

    Al Anon strikes me as a healthy programme for tackling a broad range of issues in addition to alcoholism. I suppose that it's because you have to treat the whole life in order to mend the part that sent you that way in the first place. Whatever the reason, I'm finding what I've read about the programme more and more useful in my life.

    Thank you for sharing this


  4. Thinking good thoughts for you, baby. You'll be okay.

  5. Good for you, dude. As an alcoholic, I am thrilled when people I love find AlAnon.
    Love you.

  6. Wow. And thanks. Good words.

  7. Hey Miss LSL,
    Long long time no readee. Last I checked in you were just moving west - a move that made SO MUCH sense to me. Surfing, excellent! I'm impressed. Sorry to hear about the need for AlAnon. Do all families have issues, or just bloggers'? Connection there? I kind of dropped off when I stopped writing. Read dooce today, got me thinking about the others I loved to read....good to see you again..."Krisco"