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A new step every two weeks in the order they were written!Al-Anon's 12 Steps & 12 Traditions
Al-Anon's 12 Steps & 12 Traditions
Hello my name is Heather and my husband is a newly recovering addict.
I am the mama of two small children (hence my incredibly creative username) 2.5 year and 5 month old boys. My husband had a pill addition that he hid very well from me a year and it all came out right after the birth of our youngest son. We have a lot of the typical addict story: lies, financial ruin, mistrust, legal issues, selfishness etc. and we are working through it all. I am proud to say my husband is 5 months sober and is working his program diligently.
Now to me. I have been attending Al-anon for a few weeks now and find great value in it. I have seen it help bring about some positive change in how I cope with my husbands behavior and react to the environment around me. With that being said I am struggling with some things and would love to hear your experiences to help decide if this is for me.
1. I feel like the program takes itself way too seriously
2. I struggle with the concept that someone's heartfelt emotions and words should be dictated or mandated by rules
3. I am agnostic, it seems like an incredibly religious program no matter how many times they throw in at the end HP as you see him/her.
4. Almost militant in sharing, how you can share, how you can behave
5. I feel it absolves the addict of any responsibility
6. I feel the program takes a rather complacent stance on abuse.
Any thoughts... not opinions though because we frown on that around here ;)
"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them. They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay
Hi and welcome. I like your questions very much. I think it's good to explore the reasons why and get a deeper understanding of the program.
1. The program takes itself seriously because for most this is life and death. I was ill with dealing with alcoholism being effected. I was an enabler and that was slowly killing my lived ones. I take this program very serious indeed. My quality of life depends on it and my relationships depend on it. Also I haven't been with a happier more joyful bunch of people.
2. The rules as you put it are to maintain a healthy meeting for all members. It's about learning the solution and not being stuck in the problem. It's for the greater good. Have you ever been to a group who don't follow the traditions? It becomes a misery fest with very little growth. After listening to 12 people whinge and moan I'm about ready to crawl under my duvet and not come back. So the whinging and moaning has little place at an alanon meeting. Afterwards and with sponsor yes of course but during a meeting we keep the focus on how it was, what alanon gave us, and how it's been bettered, that way we all get to learn and hear something that might help.
3. The God thing. I struggled with too but now I see it as moving my beliefs and attitude away from me as God.
4. Militant sharing? Not sure what you mean. If it's about the chairperson keeping the focus on alanon then thank goodness. I've been to meetings where people have clear deeper mental health issues and they would hijack a meeting easily. I've came from a place where I wasn't heard or listened too. In alanon I'm heard for the first time so I'm grateful.
5. I think your talking about the disease model that alanon promotes. For me it's way better than the moral model. I.e. he was a bad horrible person v a sick person. The idea of a sick person freed me from the hate and anger and bitterness. Again I'm so grateful.
6. Alanon defines abuse like nothing else. I was being abused and dint even know it. Alanon taught me my worth and gave me self esteem and then and only then was I able to be strong enough to say no. I'm a proud grateful member that wouldn't change a single thing. Stick with it.
Aloha Mamabear and thanks for the courageous share. I could have authored it because early on that was me...critical of the program and the fellowship and so ....I left. I was told that if I did leave chances are the problems would get worse and they did in spades. My alcoholic/addict wife continued to drink and use and disappear and...and...and I got sicker sicker sicker. The suggestion (only one of them) was that I give the program a 90 meetings in 90 days attempt before acting on the decision to leave however I was coming from a lower spot and just decided to stay, sit, listen, learn. They knew more about what I was going thru than I so I needed to learn what they knew before continuing to judge and often condemn them and it.
I came into the program without knowing and came to understand that not only didn't I know...I didn't know that I didn't know. I was dumb as a stick so I just followed the suggestions to newcomers. We had 439 meetings a week in the area I was attending recovery....AA, Al-Anon, Children of and Alateen. Was there a problem?? Yeppers and I was grateful for all of the services available to help me learn including college.
I believe today that this is the most cunning, powerful and baffling, fatal disease on the face of the planet with consequences of insanity and/or death for those affected by it. I was a recovery therapist and have heard your complaints often. The only real recovery process I have seen work has been the 12 step/12 tradition programs.
I was born and raised into a conservative Christian religion, educated into it, served it, taught it and studied theology and more and today no longer practice it because it never worked for me and in fact created more dissension and insanity as the real diseases of addiction over ran my families. I was also born and raised within alcoholism and drug addiction and the practice of the 12/step and traditions programs have brought me sobriety, serenity and sanity much more deeply.
From reading your share I believe that the last two items are most important for you.
No we do not absolve the addict or alcoholic of responsibility and neither do we blame or judge having carried the responsibility of doing that in the past which made my situations worse and never better. My alcoholic addict knew the problems her drinking, using and other activities were causing herself and others and outside judgement and blame just increased the need to anestethize (?) even deeper.
Issues of abuse sometimes are better answered by other professionals and if you have or are suffering from abuse I would seek help quickly considering the fatal nature of the disease of addiction.
I hope you keep coming back and bring an open mind with yourself....Al-Anon is greatly successful at getting sanity and serenity back to the victim of our disease.
Hello mama bear, welcome-- I agree with everything that has been posted so far so I have nothing add .
"...when we try to control others, we lose the ability to manage our own lives." - Paths to Recovery
I was totally indignant the first few meetings because I was irritated that the doctor who ordered my husband to AA had ordered me Al-Anon. I was all like "But I'm not the one who needs help" but I eventually conceded the doctor knew what he was doing.
Try a different meeting, as others have suggested, if the one you're attending doesn't work for you. You're likely going to find at least one person you butt heads with in every group. There's one in our group who often uses his sharing to do thinly veiled criticism of those who don't volunteer to chair, so I get it that some people are almost militant with regard to things. Meetings are in short supply in my area, so I have learned to just ignore this person when they get on their soapbox.
Not sure what to say with regard to the higher power. There's an older man in our group who is Agnostic, and he said that he considers the higher power the spirit of a deceased relative that he loved, and felt that he could always get good advice from.
Hoping it continues to help you.