Tonight was my second night at Alanon, and I was already cryiing when I got there and trying very hard to keep my composure.
A few people had spoken and all eyes were on me and I went ahead and started to speak. Maybe I spoke too much trying to fill in the blanks. But what I had come for was trying to deal with so much guilit I feel over having to put my brother out for drinking. He has mental health issues as well, but I had to put my boundary out there.
I have been weepy and even though I know it had to happen, I really needed some inspiration and support. I spoke for a few minutes when the man next to me said "Can I interupt for a minute?" I said, "Sure". He said this is not the place for you to talk about the alcoholic this is about talking about you and what you need, and you need to find a sponser and bring that here. I was so stunned, that I could only look at the table for a minute. I then took a deep breath and said I really didn't know and I apologize but clearly this is not the place for me.
I left the meeting so embarrased and humiliated and wondered as I left as a new person was that a loving thing to do? To stop someone and embarass them in front of the whole group? I admit I don't know the protocol, but seriously? Why would someone embarass someone that way? I don't believe I will ever go back.
I'm sorry for how the man treated your share. He is not the norm.
True, Al-Anon is about us, the non-alcoholic and the more seasoned members "usually" keep the focus on themselves when they share. However, I can recall numerous times when an even seasoned member spoke about their alcoholic. I've always been at meetings when newcomers have poored their guts out to us. We listen. never have I seen anyone be cut off like that. In addition, I've seen seasoned members flock to the newcomer's aide after the meeting, handing them their phone numbers, as well as their understanding/support.
I sure encourage you to try another meeting place. Or realized that the man has a few things to learn himself and not take it personally. That is hard to do, especially when you're new and seeking support in the beginning.
For starters, perhaps you might want to share what is troubling you here.
Don't give up on Al-Anon because someone got up on the wrong side of the bed - and that someone isn't you.
Wishing you well
You have to go through the darkness to truly know the light. Lama Surya Das
Resentment is like taking poison & waiting for the other person to die. Malachy McCourt
I hope you will take to heart what the others have said. What the person in the meeting did was definately not the norm. I have seen similiar things happen a time or two over the 8 years I have been going to meetings, but it is rare indeed.
Yes, Al-Anon suggests to us to take the focus off the Alcoholic and put it on ourselves, but it is my experience that most of the people sitting in an Al-Anon meeting remember what it was like when we were new and allow time for someone to learn about our principals by watching others actions in meetings. Sometimes a gentle message to someone who has been coming for a few meetings outside of the meeting, one on one is the way I will handle it.
This is not done to belittle or embarrass someone, but rather as one of the first "lessons" that we can give in how Al-Anon works.
You need not have apologized. You did nothing wrong.
I have no idea of the person in this meetings motives for sure, but in my heart, I don't believe that he intended to hurt your feelings, even though it could have been handled differently in my opinion.
There is a line in the meeting closing that states, "You may not like all of us, but you will come to love us in a special way, the same way we already love you".
Try not to take it personal. But more importantly, don't give up on Al-Anon meetings. If others are available in your area try one. If not, I would encourage you to give it another try. He is just one person. Don't let anyone keep you from getting help from Al-Anon. The program is pure and it works. It is just us "people" sitting in chairs that forget to practice it's principals properly sometimes.
Welcome to MIP.
Keep coming back,
Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us. -from Pema Chödron's When Things Fall Apart
Aloha Rosebud and welcome to the board...yes we do come into the program broken people, mind, body, spirit and emotions and we bring our bad habits and characters along with us. In time, following the suggestions and the recoveries of those who came before us we change and become miracles and before that generally we remain messed up.
Part of enabling the alcoholic (just part) is power and control issues and we don't only put that on the alcoholic...we do it to others including the ones we love in the program. We get impatient and frustrated and practice the "little king and little queen" roles inside the meeting too.
This is an opportunity for growth...both yourself and the other guy. He might be feeling guilt and shame himself because of the consequence of what he did. We're all highly sensitive enablers and he can clearly read your body language...hurt, shocked, fearful and angry. He may have already chanted "I caused that...I caused that" and then maybe not. I've seen this happen before to others and have had it happen to me. I came into recovery with a large judgemental attitude (wanna try some?) so that when others pull that stunt on me there was a backlash. On second thought don't do what I did cause there are better things to do and learn. One of the tools (many) of the program is acceptance of other people, places and things even when we don't agree with them or even fear them. In acceptance we learn to be fear-less or fear-free...takes practice and not reacting.
So you can choose to feel shocked, hurt, angry and all that other stuff and also choose to feel acceptance and powerless. We all have choices I learned and then nasty situations became learning events. Take in the next meeting and the next until you sense your growth. Give the guy a hug and tell him he's forgiven. If he asks you "what for?" just tell him "you know" and walk away. LOL
Keep coming back here...you're in very good company. ((((hugs))))
Just wanted to add:
Meetings, for me, are a golden opportunity to practice NOT being concerned about what others might think of me.
I do, however, take care in selecting what I share. I know there are some others who might not agree, but there are a few that do judge and gossip. I have been on the recieving end of gossip in the beginning. But now those that tend to do this, know that I don't have time for that, nor engage in that type of conversation.
Checkout the Al-Anon APP for smart phone/devices .. Daily Al-Anon quotes and readings http://www.batonrougealanon.org/mobile-apps.html
Daily Sharing/Quote from your computer http://www.batonrougealanon.org/quotesharing-linked-page.html
It's easy to be graceful until someone steals your cornbread. --Gray Charles
thanks for sharing rosebud, glad you're here. i have been where you are for a while, and i know how you're feeling. i'm sorry youre feeling that too.
i guess im a slow learner, i went to al anon for years and eventually i got the negative feedback. i honestly was doing the best i could at the time, and after a while i felt like i was out of place/not welcome because of my tears. there was a lady who openly admitted she cried for the first 9 months of the program. i love her for admitting that. i find it hard to cry in public and it only added to my feelings of embarassment. i havent been to a meeting in a long time. i want to but i get all wrapped up in these conflicting feelings.
at any rate, i believe we'll get through this.
hope we both find what we're looking for
Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement. I guess where I am right now is in all this conflict of where is this mental illness, where is the disease, where do they all tie in? Am I right for sending him out on his own? What is wrong, is there a bottom? I don't know those answers because there is his disease and then there is his mental illness. I set strong boundaries here, he crossed those and I had to make him go. I was okay at first, and I am torn between the right thing and taking care of me, but in taking care of me to make him go, it has set a chain reaction of guilt, fear, regret etc. I think I needed to be somewhere to get perspective. Yes, that means talking about him. He is my brother. I had no idea that there were guidelines in these meetings, I felt it was a safe place.
I lost my mother to drinking, my dad is an alcoholic, my brother is dying from it, my mom's brother just died. So much senseless loss and I do feel helpless. I know it's something only God can help my brother with but when it's all around me and my loved ones are dying, it's hard for me to see this. Grieve, sadness, heartache. Dead is dead. It's the end, and I love my brother enough to let him go, but I know the next time I see him will be to identify his body. This thoughts grip me. They terrify me. Can I live with that? I have to. I know I do, because I know I didn't put that drink in his hand and I know I couldnt force him to stop, but nonethelesss he is hitchhiking to places unknown and it was me who sent him there. I guess I needed to talk about this last night because he is my brother. I love him. I'm heartbroken for him. I'm angry at him and I pity him. so many emotions.
It's doubtful I will return to that meeting. I didn't want to ever go back but I did call an AA national number and explained what happened and they gave me someone here locally to speak with. I called her and she was mortified by what happened. She encouraged me to try the Wednesday meeting and I will do that. I am being so honest here folks, but if this is a club of power and the newbies are targets for the old timers, I won't do this. I will go to my priest, the clergy, pray, whatever it takes but I won't allow that to happen to me again nor would I sit quietly like 20 people in that room did when it was done to me. i left sobbing, I can't even discuss it with anyone without coming apart. I guess I expected more. Not just from ala non but mankind in particular. Nobody blinked. They just sat and stared at me like I had just robbed a bank.
It will be a long time before I get over it. Along time to understand why the others let that happen. I am a big girl and will get over it at some point, but who else has been run off because they didn't like the topic? I hate it. I hate that i have to go and learn to channel my grief somewhere else. I hate that I have lost my brother....but I know without support I will eventually lose too. Expressing this is bad? I don't know. I just don't get it and although someone made me feel a little better at alanon, that theory of keep coming back is not ringing true, because I left the room sobbing. Not only for what was said, but for my own personal grief and some help in trying to put it in it's proper place. Why would I want to go back? I don't. But tomorrow I will try again with a different group if that's where I'm being led. Not willingly, but I feel I need to do that for myself. Thank you all for your comments. If I said I was praying for that person last night, i would be lying. I guess I'm not there yet. But I will be at some point. Teri
What a freaking jerk. But he may be a very sick person...That was so rude and unfeeling.
Most people do come here and talk about their A's. Ask me, ask Orchid lover. lol
Putting HP first, always <(*@*)>"It's not so much being loved for ourselves, but more for being loved in spite of ourselves." http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/meetings/meeting.html Or call: 1-888-4alanon
oops sorry rosebud, my guinea pig percy is on my chest and I musta pushed something wrong! lol lol He is walking in front of my face and talking to me! How rude eh???? lol
Rosebud, I am glad you called the Al Anon number. Took a lot of courage. Forget that fool, you have enough to deal with! I can definitely relate to the feelings of guilt and responsibility. I felt horrible when I left my alcoholic husband, like I was abandoning a sick man and violating my marriage vows.I would say that YOU didn't cause your brother to become homeless. His disease did. There comes a point when...we have to rescue ourselves. My husband's sickness was killing me, too. While I could not control his illness or his drinking, I could control MY LIFE and my response to him. And sometimes, we give up not because we don't care about the other person...but because they don't care. The guilt is a toughie. I searched my heart, wrote it all down, and came to understand that I did all that was humanly possible. I am not expected to be perfect, just as my husband isn't. I did what I could do. And I'm sure you did, too. I'm truly sorry your family has been so deeply wounded by this disease. It's a hopeless situation...but *you* are not hopeless.
Al-Anon/Alateen Family Group Headquarters, Inc. 800-344-2666
" Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional."
"Serenity is when your body and mind are in the same place."
Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.- Maya Angelo