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Post Info TOPIC: I feel ready to start working the program - 27 years after first going to an AlAnon meeting!!!


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I feel ready to start working the program - 27 years after first going to an AlAnon meeting!!!


Yes, I first went to an AlAnon meeting about 27 years ago in London. I have gone off and on. I have gone for spells of a few months then gaps of years, like 10 or more years. I've never worked the program or actively done the steps or had a sponsor. On reflection I think the main stumbling block, for me, was that I was atheist (now agnostic) and the whole 'God' and 'Him' thing just got in my way even though I fully respected all in the program and where it all came from etc. The words are quite clear, however, and despite saying 'God of our understanding' and 'as we understand Him/God (might have that one wrong)' the wording still felt very christian for me. I suppose I genuinely felt that you will have a much better chance of working the program if you have a belief that some other entity is there alongside you helping you out - that is my stuff. I am so grateful that the program welcomes all and that I have been able to freely come and go in different countries without ever being judged or anyone asking me who I am etc. For me, I think I have to admit to myself that my perception of the word God in the literature etc has come in my way. All that said, I think I am eventually ready to try and find a wholesome and genuine way forward.

I am trying to find a starting point for working the steps. The meeting that I have been going to is lovely - very supportive. I feel that I am so bogged down with dealing with immediate issues that I am not making the space for start the program but the meetings do allow me to get things off my chest and have a good cry and I think that is very helpful. There is light at the end of the tunnel in that my brother-in-law is moving away with the kids so I feel I will have a chance to breath after that.

It is only recently that I really realize how much my life has been affected by problem drinking. Maybe no more than many others and certainly a lot less than many. For my own benefit I want to list out the elements in my life that I perceive to to arise from a problem in a relative or friend:

- I grew up in an alcoholic home where my mother drank a lot from when I was about six until I was twelve. She was then on again off again for the next 20 odd years and did 3-5 stints in rehab. I wasn't there for all of it but my younger sisters were. I had a good relationship with her until I was 25. After attending a family group therapy session in her rehab I suddenly woke up to why I was always so guilt-ridden (leaving my young sisters) and unhappy (being brought up in a disfunctional home). I remained angry for years. I now see her more as a manipulative, narcissistic personality. She doesn't drink now but pops lots of prescription drugs off and on. I don't trust her and find it hard to show her the respect she deserves as a 76 year old woman but I do it and try my best to be a dutiful daughter i.e. I visit them once a week and we do have chats etc.

- My father has drunk way too much for years. He is what you might call a functioning alcoholic in that it never affected his work (as a doctor!) but we certainly all learned that to really enjoy a good aperitif before dinner and to drink as much wine as you wanted over the next 2-3 hours of dinner was acceptable. All his brothers were professionals and I think this seemed to be the done thing through the 70s and beyond. He has never stopped drinking. It gets brought up every now and again but he is the 'unofficial' alcoholic from my family home.

- My husbands' father was an alcoholic. When we met 10 years ago his mum and dad were recently estranged. The father continued to drink and was, unfortunately, the village drunk type of drinker. He continued to drink until he was found dead in his bed almost four years ago. Thankfully my husband brought our twin girls to his home twice - once when they were just a few months old and then when they were around two. My husband loved his dad and just wanted him back as a dad but he stood by his mum for the separation as he saw the problem that drinking was doing.

- My sister who died almost two years ago displayed many unhealthy behaviors. In recent years I never knew where I stood with her. She would often be snappy and cross - it was like walking on eggshells. My relationship with her improved after her cancer diagnosis but I have much (probably all of my ...) grieving to do around her. She witnessed domestic violence and adultery as a young girl unfortunately.

- Her husband, my brother-in-law, whom I now have a lot of dealings with as I help out with minding the kids, came from an alcoholic home where his father drank (and came from a very large family of heavy drinkers). His brother has been a serious alcoholic all his life. My BIL hasn't drunk for over 10 years as he and my sister stopped drinking when the kids were younger. This has been a very positive thing however all the 'isms' are alive and kicking in my BIL.

- my other sister has also been deeply affected by her experience of growing up in an alcoholic household including a long-term open infidelity on my mother's part

- Apparently my grandfather on my dad's side was a 'quiet' drinker (i.e. alcoholic) and at least two of my dad's siblings have been known to have problems with drinking but they were never in treatment or anything as far as I know. But I do know that my uncles drinking affected at least one of his sons. On my mothers side I am not aware of her parents or uncles being drinkers but one elderly aunt did turn to the bottle. Both my mothers' brother and sister had serious problems with alcohol.

So I can see that I have two alcoholic parents, four alcoholic aunts and uncles at least. There could have been more. I live in Ireland so you don't have to go very far to find someone who can tell a similar story to this one. That said, I am quite sure that there is a whole population of people around me who grew up without alcohol featuring in their lives at all, where the adults understood how to enjoy alcohol responsibly.

I myself drank a lot throughout my 20s and 30s. I have recently had to start examining my own motives for drinking and I do not especially like my findings!! Thankfully my other half doesn't really drink often and he does not like me drinking frequently so my habits have improved dramatically in the last 10 years i.e. once a week. And I am getting older (52) so I am physically not as able as my youth! But I have to admit that I like the feeling of getting drunk and I would rather get drunk on my own watching tv so that's not good.

So now I want to proceed with the program, the meetings, reading, engaging online etc. I can see that for such a long time alcoholic behaviors and isms have been very normal in my life. As I get older my tolerance has diminished greatly. I find that it takes my whole energy just to run our home and get our two girls to school etc. I don't even work at the moment and I feel overwhelmed much of the time. But now my girls are almost six, our financial plan (that has had me and my husband stretched for the last five years) is coming to fruition, my sister has been diagnosed with cancer and died (almost two years ago now), my husbands father has died, my BIL is, thankfully, moving away. I feel it is time to start living a normal life. I know that people, their behaviors etc won't go away but I feel that I am at least going to get some breathing space to learn some tools etc for detaching, letting go, accepting etc.

Trying to do the right thing by my niece and nephew without being dragged into the craziness of my BILs life will be a challenge for me I expect. I would love to be as wise as those of you who offer kind words of support and advice here and I would love to have the wisdom to know when I should be helping and when I should be looking after my own corner. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts. X



-- Edited by Faintly Falling on Sunday 10th of June 2018 02:04:27 PM



-- Edited by Faintly Falling on Sunday 10th of June 2018 02:23:17 PM

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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 16094
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Hello faintlyFailing I have heard it said in alanon meetings that we all get to program"when we are ready" and not a minute before . Thank you for your complete honesty and clarity. I do believe that you can now pick up some of the tools and begin to move forward.

I  also believe that alanon literature such as : Paths to Recovery and" How alanon Works are two alanon books that can help in working the Steps. We have a step work Board here as well so practicing there would also help-- Here is the link

http://stepwork.activeboard.com/t63946948/alanon-step-one-9-18-2017/

l



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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


Senior Member

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Glad you posted this FF. It hit home with me because I feel like I too am ready. I plan to ask for a sponsor very soon.

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Veteran Member

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Thank you so much Betty. You are so supportive and encouraging. I am truly grateful for your tips and support. X



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Veteran Member

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Will you be asking for a sponsor at a meeting or online? I'm glad you are ready - it feels good doesn't it. Good luck. X



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~*Service Worker*~

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Hey FF - good on you for taking the time to examine your 'origin'....I do believe we often wonder why we are as we are and why things bother/affect us that don't seem to affect others. All of what you've discovered certainly can be a part of who/what/when/where/why yet what I love about recovery is our past, family, husbands, wives, etc. - none of this defines us and we actually get to determine who we are, what's important to us and how to best go forward without labels, baggage, etc.

Good, good, good for you that you feel ready! My life, outlook, attitude and all things around me have changed way more than I could have ever imagined. (((Hugs))) - it works when we work it, and we are worth it!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

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Aloha Faintly Falling and welcome to the board.  What an intro from you and the picture I get is of a lady looking back from where she came with her back to the entry door of where she wants to find herself in the future.  You so clearly know from where you come and your honestly includes your own participation with the chemical...WOW.  I spoke with a new comer this morning after my morning group who is also ready to start and I told her "We will start with the first half of the first step" where we deal with powerlessness.  I had to accept total powerlessness when I made the doors of Al-Anon for real because if I reserved any control or seeming control for myself I knew I would be on the long road of insanity.  

Part of what I had to deal deeply with was my own participation with the chemical and the addictive use of it.  Once I have that part out in front of me I know this disease will not as easily sweep me under the carpet any longer.   Bravo for your courage to be honest which is one of the entry doors of humility as I was taught by my own sponsorship.

I would say you have started the work and you have large support here and in the program where you are at.  It has been the love and unconditional acceptance of the program which I own my own recovery to.

Higher Power...Of Course!! having one greater than myself gave me and continues to give me the humility necessary to being teachable.  My Higher power has presented itself from the earliest religious teaching of my church/religion and then as male and female as the powerful spirit to change happened with often times the entities being alcoholic/Al-Anon and also the young people who sat with me in Alateen as a sponsor.  I do not limit my higher power to one role or condition and today my Higher Power resides constantly with me within the spirituality of my Hawaiian Culture.  That is for me...I was born within this culture and then separated from it and know that HP waited while I found and immersed myself in it.

I am in support as you search and find your own.  Please keep coming back and thanks again for your honest share.    ((((hugs)))) smile



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Senior Member

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I havenāt quite decided that yet. Our town is so small thereās only 1 female sponsor and Iāve never met her even once! So how do I ask someone Iāve never even interacted with to sponsor me??? I think I would rather ask someone from this group if thatās allowed. I think I read that it is. Iāve been reading from the people here for just short of 2 years.

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Veteran Member

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Hi JerryF. Thank you for your post - I love that you get the 'chemical' problem and I love that you call it a chemical smile I was in at my doctor this morning and we touched on this subject. He talked about it being a drug and possibly there being a genetic issue handed down. So I have lots of food for thought there.

Thank you for your words of wisdom.



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Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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Very simple...start going to face to face meetings. Find a sponsor. And start! Where to start? Step One! LOL. Your sponsor will guide you and will know what to do.

All the best.

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Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



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Thank you Bo. Good advice!!!



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