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Post Info TOPIC: Bad experience at Alanon tonight


Newbie

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Posts: 2
Date:
Bad experience at Alanon tonight


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.



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~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome to MIP! Give Alanon a chance. You have to remember that we come to this program broken people because of the disease. We aren't suppose to cross talk and that is what he did, we aren't suppose to give advice and that is what he did. Maybe another meeting. Keep coming back.

Nancy

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~*Service Worker*~

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I'll be honest and say that I've never heard ANYBODY in a meeting interrupt anyone else while they were talking. Seriously, that is weird. The only time I've seen someone cut someone off is when they are at the end of the meeting and they just ask the person to finish soon so that we can end the meeting close to 'on time', and even then they usually let the person talk if they need to get it out.

I would try another meeting. I've been to about 5 different Al Anon meeting locations and every meeting is totally different. You should come out of a meeting feeling like "I'm not alone, others understand me, I can trust these people to NOT judge me, etc". Although there are 2 meetings where I didn't feel like I clicked with them, I wouldn't say I had a bad experience. It was just a matter of how I didn't like how the meeting was run or what their process was, etc.

I'm so sorry that you felt that way in a meeting. Keep coming back here. This is a wonderful group of people here and we promise to let you say what you need to say the way you need to say it! Sending you lots of support tonight!

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Struggling to find me......


~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome Rosebud,

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



-- Edited by GailMichelle on Monday 21st of May 2012 11:10:04 PM

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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



~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 1508
Date:

Welcome Rosebud,

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,

David



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Laughter is the Beginning of Healing


Senior Member

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Posts: 285
Date:

Please try another meeting. My experience at Al Anon has been that I can share whatever I need to share and I know I will not be judged, even if I don't say things perfectly or even know what I really want to say (and this is often). We all fumble and struggle, especially in the beginning.

Sometimes, old timers can be a bit impatient with newbies. We are all imperfect. You never have to talk if you don't want to.



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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




~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 10065
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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)))) smile



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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 1234
Date:

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.



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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



Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 26
Date:

DON'T GIVE UP ON AL-ANON.
It's true the rooms are not to really speak about the alcoholic BUT in the BEGINNING many need to do that. In my area we always allow newcomers to get things off their chest like you were doing. If it continues meeting after meeting someone will gently talk to the person AFTER the meeting and explain a few things to them. Sadly sometimes some in meetings, in a effort to do what they think is correct will speak up like the man did to you and it ends up causing hurt feelings etc.

Just remember you did the right thing by coming to Al-Anon. If you can't find a sponsor right off find a couple ladies you can talk to on the phone etc and get what you need to get out, out.

In the end KEEP COMING BACK!!

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Senior Member

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Posts: 462
Date:

Bless your heart, Rosebud--

I know how that feels. By the time I dragged myself through the doors, I was really shaky every way there is.
And I let myself be run off by what I consider to be mean people from two groups. This was in another state
and crosstalk was the norm. But most of it was kind and supportive.
I always felt that if I were supposed to be somewhere, the path would be made welcoming, so I'd just leave.
It was funny when it happened in an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. I had 20 pounds I couldn't get rid of.
I wish that were still the case. Anyway, the meeting was off a highway and I circled the place three times
before I could discover the entrance and arrived late. And probably looked thin to most of the people there.
Anyway, they All turned around and glared at me. And I laughed to myself and said "Well, I guess I'm not
supposed to go to OA."
But the hurt at the AlAnon meetings just tore me up. I wish I could have lasted, I'd be so much farther on
now.
I tried the daytime meeting here in my new little town. Women who've been there forever and newcomers
alike were sharing horror stories of their As. And nobody squelched them or shamed them or batted an eye.
They were there for help, and sometimes part of that is getting to tell your story and cry and be in a safe
'place with people who will listen and Not try to shut you up.
You did nothing wrong. That man is one sick puppy.
I don't know of anybody who ever had a sponsor by the second meeting.
I hope when you can get it together you can try again. You might want to call the local AA phone number
and share your experience.
The persons who answered were always very kind. And they might be able to steer you to a good,
solid meeting where the members have their stuff together.
This is neither here nor there, but the people who ran me off were always alcoholics. They are rougher
with each other than we are, and they can take it, usually. Or maybe they have to be rough to get the
newbie's attention. I always felt like somebody pretty much like a top sergeant or a sadist was the one
who took off on me. This after my sponsor had said she did nothing but sit there and cry for the first
three months, because she felt she was in a place that was safe enough to cry. Then I got hit by a very
sexist, ageist comment (crosstalk) in another meeting and felt I'd been cut off at the knees.
The good news is, you have a chance for healing and growth. Try praying for the man. Sometimes that
helps. Cause I don't hold out a lot of hope for people who act like that. I don't think a person that
lacking in empathy was ever a codependent in the first place. I think there's just somebody in his life
who drinks and it is annoying or inconvenient and he's in AlAnon to find out how to get the other person
fixed. Cause if he were for real, he'd be much more humble and considerate.
And I'm not talking about our dear double winners on this board. You all have so much recovery and are
very loving and kind.

Hugs,
Temple


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We Came to Realize.



~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 1223
Date:

Aloha Rosebud!

Yuck! What a negative experience that must have been. Just know that guy's behavior was really all about him not about you. Try getting to some different meetings - each one has its own feel and often different members attending.

Keep coming back!

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Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 30
Date:

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



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Newbie

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Posts: 2
Date:

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



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~*Service Worker*~

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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

Then after awhile we start asking about them and steer them away and point at THEM. And they  start getting it. We need to vent.

He is fortunate it was not me. I would not have handled it as well as you did. I know I would have got up and left.

Also shame on the others for not saying something. I would have said honey you are doing just fine keep going, and remind we do not cross talk.

YES go to a differnet meeting> i can tell ya from lots of experience that different groups of people all have a different atmosphere. I mean even stores, schools, hospitals, docs offices,salons. etc.

Now you can go and know you did nothing wrong. AND you will know to say, isn't it true there is no cross talk?

Its YOUR Al Anon, hugs,debilyn



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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


~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 3219
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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



__________________
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
wp


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 810
Date:

Rosebud, Thank you for sharing here. I understand what a heavy load of grief and confusion you are carrying, and I hope you won't let that one person sidetrack you from this journey of recovery in al-anon. Hope you listen to the many words of wisdom offered you here on the board. I too can vouch for different kinds of groups and you will be doing yourself a favor to hunt around for the meeting that feels comfortable to you. Most of us are kind.

wp

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Senior Member

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Posts: 285
Date:

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.



-- Edited by Dolly Llama on Tuesday 22nd of May 2012 08:24:37 PM

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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




~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 3791
Date:

Rosebud - In reading what you wrote - Your life has been impacted by others' drinking more than even most members of alanon. You can claim that seat and do it confidently because you suffered to get it. You do belong there and knowing you have like 3 major qualifiers in your immediate family is certainly good reason for you to stay.

That guy was twisted in what he said to you. The only reason to interrupt a newcomer in a meeting is when they share too long. At that point something like "All your point are very meaningful - but we have to keep the meeting going for others to share. Please get with someone after the meeting" is a common response. That is the only time and the only way I've seen someone interrupted at a meeting (other than if they were screaming or cursing and being disruptive).

You have to grasp the program in your own time. It seems to me that most people spend months and months trying to figure out why their qualifiers act in certain ways. Over time, it matters less because the answer is the same "he is sick."

Whether it's mental illness, alcoholism - both - it doesn't really matter. The tools of alanon are there for both. A ton of alcoholics carry mental illness as well - I should hope your next alanon meeting will be better.

__________________


~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 3232
Date:

Keep coming back and I am sorry that happened at an Al-anon meeting, I have never heard of anything like that and next time say no you can't interrupt me, haha. Please keep trying in some areas there are many different meetings a week with different people in it. I am glad you have MIP here too! Sending you love and support!

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BreakingFree

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."



~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 3871
Date:

Hugs RoseBud,

so sorry that happened I know from previous experience I had a couple of kick in the butt things happen at an alanon meeting. It did put me off the program for 10 years literally, .. you know that was ok .. only because I wasn't ready. It doesn't justify what happened to you. It's not right to have someone do that or say something without letting you know why. Or reaching out to you after the meeting .. no one should have let you leave that room based upon what happened until someone spoke to you and gave you additional support.

As an older teen I went to an alanon meeting with my mom once or twice. The second time I went though .. I was told I needed to get off my pity pot (that is a direct quote .. lol and yes I still remember and boy did it sting). I was angry and I'm sure I sounded it when I spoke. I didn't have the lovey dovey support that people talk about when they come here about their first meeting. The last time I went to alanon was my 3rd go around. Guess what happened .. yup .. I got told to get off my pity pot a 2nd time (AND it still stung!).. oh myy .. the shock that went through me; the difference was the amount of pain I was in for me I was determined to continue to come back. I did and it took me MANY meetings to kind of get over the initial shock of the first experiences of those initial meetings. I'm in a small town and they don't offer a lot of meetings around town so I have learned it takes all kinds and I put a lot of practice into tradition 12. We have an amazing group though and I wouldn't trade my home group for the world!!! I've come to discover that maybe it wasn't the other person it was me .. it was really what I did need to hear and sometimes I need to hear it that bluntly .. that was an HP thing for me. It's not an accident that happened 2x. I can still be very prickly and have to remind myself that I need to smooth out the porcupine quills I'm in a safe environment. I do not always have to be on guard.

I have also witnessed situations and because meetings are different and as a new person I still struggle with how to share and the format of the meeting. The Sunday meeting is a steps meeting so the focus of the meeting is that whatever month it is that is the step we are on. Love the format of it. It's much more strict as far as how we share. The Tuesday meeting is a share meeting however the group leader picks a topic and we stick to the topic. There have been occasions where we've had new comers who are in so much pain they can't get past what they are doing. This is many meetings forward. Based upon how long the share is .. at the beginning of the meeting there is something that says .. everyone deserves a turn so we ask that you limit your share. I'm paraphrasing. Again it doesn't make what happened to you right, it really depends on the format of the meeting and if there was structure that was not being kept.

What the guy said to you was not out of line it's how he said and the timing. Again .. coming from the share and the topic venue of things. Not everything needs to be shared at the table .. my sponsor has talked about how there used to be new comer meetings and people could get the pain out, then alanon was talked about and THEN kind of how to share was discussed .. I didn't know when I came in how to share at the tables. Our area is not that big to have new comer meetings like that .. it sounds like such a great idea. I can remember after months of coming .. after one of my shares .. the long timers looked at me and said .. hon, .. do you have a sponsor? Now .. they were not rude or cold the way you describe your situation it was more of a gentle nudge that it was time to start REALLY working the program with the steps. I am sooo grateful she said that to me because I have a WONDERFUL sponsor and I'm still struggling with how to share at the tables .. at least it's progress on my part.

I'm just trying to put a different spin on things .. when we are carrying so much pain it is so hard to see things clearly, without the fog of pain, rejection, hurt, anger. I know I see my first two experiences very differently with 1 1/2 years of alanon behind me. please don't let this experience put you off of alanon. Not all meetings are like what you experienced and some people are a lot more blunt and have no tact. You may want to try other meetings and make sure if you have a phone list that you are reaching out to the alanon people on those as well. I DO encourage you to get a sponsor. I also encourage you to not take what happened personally. Again, we all have a tremendous amount of pain when we are at these tables and everyone deals with it differently. It doesn't matter how long someone has been at those tables we can all have the same crazy behavior on that specific day that brought us to those tables the first day. A sponsor can help you with sharing at a meeting, long timers can help you understand the whole ESH stuff and what that means .. I'm still learning how to do that .. sometimes badly .. lol. Ehe .. progress not perfection. It's just so much more important to make progress.

keep coming back, hugs P :)

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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



Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 75
Date:

Hi Rosebud,

I am sorry for what happened in that meeting and I hope, you do not have to go through anything like that again.

Let me tell you from my short experience with Al-Anon that it can happen that someone says something that triggers emotions within someone else. It is nobody's fault, it just happens. In my first meeting I was telling about my AH and a man in the group moved around a bit, as if really impatient or bored. Later I learned that I had talked about one of his biggest issues in that moment.

Wish you all the best :)

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Live and let live
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