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Post Info TOPIC: Al-Anon Friendships


Member

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Date:
Al-Anon Friendships


COVID and the moving to no meetings, online meetings, zoom, etc... has brought me a new insight I may not have gotten otherwise.  I have listened to many speakers who talk about the connections they have through their AlAnon Group Meetings, Service, etc...

I have attended since 2013 and have gone 5 years to one meeting and 2-3 years another meeting.  I've attended  other meetings during the same time period but I feel these 2 are the most representative of my attendance being more consistent and knowing other attendees better from the meetings.  I have reached out to people with texts or calls over the years granted not weekly, but I would see and talk to them in the meetings.   I'd go out afterwards if groups did that.  I've struggled with loneliness, feeling alone and not having many connections since becoming a SAHM.  So I really hoped the relationships in Al-Anon would progress as people talked about in speaker meetings.   I'm aware of relationships and connections in both groups where people talk regularly, and have relationships from attending over the years.  The question I have is what else have you done to develop these relationships?  

I was excited when I joined a group and was included on group texts related to meetings info, some individual requests for prayer, etc...  That was not the case for me with the other 2 meetings I attended the most.  I am struggling very much with this area.  I was pretty darn sad, hurt etc... when I realized in 7 months of COVID I had reached out texting, calling group members and not once had anyone else initiated reaching out to me to see if I was ok or to just say Hi.  This was the group where I felt the most "part of the group" because of being included in communications.  Even if it was only once or twice that would have been nice.  I feel defeated that even in Al-Anon I'm still lacking developing a relationship enough that someone would want to at least say Hi, How Are you doing OR Even reach out cause they need someone to listen to them.  This is disheartening and makes me feel like I shouldn't invest myself to not have any success, but the healthy part of me says to reach out, ask how others develop relationships, I mean I don't want to be a pest if someone doesn't want to be bothered with me.  My heart hurts from my lack of Al-Anon friendships.  HELP



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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 2413
Date:

 

  aww Lovely topic, Conflicted...

...there was a reading in Courage to Change earlier in the year on friendships in Alanon.

For a number of obvious reasons I could not offer you friendship- but I can offer you friendliness. biggrin ...

My sponsor chose to leave Alanon for good. So I have no sponsor. Maybe no real need for one now.

I tend to lean on a group for sponsorship support... with a number of people seeming to lean inwards

at that level. 

I was at the airport eight weeks ago- and the first personI saw was my old sponsor. We had a chat- she was waiting for her grand-daughter. Later outside the airport they offered me a ride. Then at the supermarket afterwards I saw them again. Serendipity.

But we are still friendly and close- obviously... which is nice... aww ...



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A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.



~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 729
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This would be a hard time to make relationships Certainly without face to.face it makes it even harder In.addition everyone is pretty paranoid eitj Covid 19.around I.have certainly.bern in groups where there were csll lists. I.am not.sure i.would use them now because I have far mire boundaries How you interpret these times is pretty much up to you Therr are ways to circumvent this. One us to get a sponsor. You can approach soneone. Exoect it to not be easy Second is to create a small suppory group.for yourself of people you check in with Another is to get a therapist. Having one oerson you check in with weekly is a big help These times are really difficult. They are quite isolating. On one level they are extraordinary opportunities. On another level it is really stressful If you.cannot find people who you can relate to on.a one on one level seek other methods for relatng. Go to be in nature Do it virtually You have to take the foot off your back. Berating yourself is not tat helpful. There is no #wrong#,anymore Renember you.do not need to he homecoming queen. You just want s few people to relate to Expect it to he hard. Expect it to be a challenge There is no rule book here The rules were thrown out in the window in this pandemic. Recovery is constantly evolving process Covid 19 made it much.much.much harder Maresie

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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 2760
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Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your honesty about loneliness. I have had this experience and continue to have it with face to face Alanon. I have often reached out as you have to connect, say hello particularly to those who I haven't seen at the meeting in awhile. More often than not I may get voicemail, just say who I am and that I haven't seen you in awhile, hope things are going well for you and hope to see you soon. Typically, I'm vague because no one really can know another Alanon member's home situation. I would never want to cause a problem for another member who may have an insecure family member who snoops through their private messages whether it's texts, emails, voicemails. Anonymity is a safeguard especially for some living in unsafe homes. Not all members share with others in the household that they attend Alanon. When speaking with newcomers, I may offer my phone number but ask if they are willing to receive a call and what times work best. I never phone anyone new without asking if they are interested in receiving calls. At one of my meetings, another member brought up the topic of making friendly calls to others once a month just to connect. It was going to be added as another monthly service option for which meeting members could sign up. It went to a vote and only a few members were interested in receiving a call. I agree that sponsor are great to connect with but certainly my connection to others needn't be limited to one relationship. I have had many connections over the years at this site. Through email particularly we've exchanged e cards, information, met in person. Here we are so candid about so many things and I find that so refreshing. I enjoy the face to face Alanon experience but like all other groups, workplaces etc. I've had to find my peeps. Everyone has their own approach to attending Alanon. Some prefer to limit connection to others in the fellowship to the meeting place and their only contact is their sponsor. Many in the program don't share who their sponsor is. The perception if friendliness between some as opposed to others can be due to the fact that there is a sponsor sponsee relationship taking place. With all of this said, I've still found benefit in letting it begin with me. If I feel better after reaching out, I consider it being proactive concerning my own recovery. People seem glad to hear from me so I continue to make calls and exercise healthy boundaries with conversation. How are you? I was thinking of you because I got a lot from your share this week and wanted to tell you. Aren't we lucky to have this weather. Call me anytime too if you'd like. Hope to see you next week. For me, this feels like positive energy. I feel better after. I don't have answers as to why I rarely receive from others but ya know...whatever! People are not unfriendly at meetings to me so I'm choosing to not take it personally for too long. I feel a twinge of sadness about it, loneliness and disappointment but I'm going to keep being me and place calls to people when I'm in the mood to do so and keep conversations simple when I do. Thank you for sharing about feelings of loneliness many of feel at times within the Alanon fellowship. Glad you're here and keep coming back. (((hugs)) TT

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Surround yourself with people and elements that support your destiny, not just your history.



~*Service Worker*~

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{{{Conflicted}}} Virtual hug to you. I think Maresie has some good reality statements above: it is a difficult time for most of us with this virus lurking about, and that a sponsor can be a special person for you, and/or a therapist. If you check out this message board for awhile, and you find someone here you think has their head into strong recovery, you can ask that person to be your sponsor. If that person is unable, ask another. The idea about having a therapist is also good in my opinion. I have gone with my spouse and now have a monthly session by myself (on the phone ) but I see addiction therapists who understand my needs for living with an untreated alcoholic.

My sponsor died in February and it is only recently I have reached out to a new person to sponsor me. But I can tell you that this message board is a Godsend for me, with and without a sponsor. Almost certainly someone will respond to you, and sometimes many people respond. You can write anytime day or night. It's been an amazing part of my alanon journey, and I strongly recommend you give it a try.


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Lyne



~*Service Worker*~

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(((((Conflicted))))))

I too send virtual hugs & support.

I actually like being alone. Too much social interaction is mentally draining. So this is not an issue for me. But I can sympathize with how this affects you.

Just recently I had a huge epiphany... I was letting my fear of the COVID-19 virus keep me isolated, and I had to work harder at keeping up my friendships. I truly value my close friends, so this came as a shock to me!!
But I work in the healthcare field, so not only is my job essential (read no lockdown, no working from home), but I was wrought with the daily stress of possibly bringing this virus home to my elderly parents and kid. I was just too stressed to notice that I had allowed my usual contact with friends to fall away. Once I realized just how much this stress was affecting me, I took the steps I could handle to rectify this, as my friends were the ones who helped me get through the transition of leaving my qualifier, moving years and years of my life (having to ditch most of it) and figuring out how to manage on my own. I love and treasure them!
Recently I made amends to them all, and have worked on reaching out via texting, and now that our state's #'s have gone down, meeting with one or two for a socially distanced meal (in my backyard).

My long-winded point is, you never know what another's stressors are. But you DO know what you need. Perhaps send an electronic communication to your favorite group that you would like more interaction with members, and are open to receiving texts, Facetime, etc? I know that is really putting yourself "out there," & highlighting your vulnerability,  but they won't know your needs until you make them known. Personally, I tend to want to err on the side of "not bothering people." They may be the same way, or are too wrapped up in surviving the stress of the pandemic (like me)... I just feel it is harder to cope right now, so "normal" interactions fall by the wayside.

Just my 2 cents. Take what you like and leave the rest!



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"The wolf that thrives, is the one you feed." - Cherokee legend

"Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields... Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness."  ~ Mary Oliver

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

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I live in an apartment comolex wihere there are many many enmeshed relationships (24/7) going on around.me full throttle. . i have no doubt (from the point of view of always having been totally.enmeshed particularly in romantic relationships) that many of those relationships are outta loneliness really desperare black holes loneliness which feel unbearably raw. What is the.bottom line of our program in al.anon is to go from havng dysfunctional relationships to having functional nuriuring relationships. Lois and Bill (Lois being one of our founders) are orime examples of that. They went from being homeless and penniless (they were homeless for decades to producing a program that has saved lives They went from having no place to call their own to havung a home which is now a museum and treasured sacred place in Steplng Stones. We all need our sacred place to call home. Of course neither Bill nor Lois were perfect human beings. In some repects their flaws and #failures# are what has made al anon the perfect base for an al anon program. When I.first came to.al anon I saw only the flaws and was comoulsively.critical. Now I see those self same flaws as what makes al anon so relatable to people worldwide. I have the same struggles as Lois did decades ago. Now I have different tools. So therefore if you are struggling to connect you are truly on the right path because that is one of the main focus points of our orogram.For me in this progrm (and I have heen in Al anon for decades) the struggle is always on 24/7. I struggle to detach every day and acquire new skills in these very challenging times. So I have gone from having relationships which by all accounts and purposes nearly destroyed me to having detachment and compassion for myself. I have gone trom being suicidal (which is by all accounts the ultimate self hate) to sporadic contentment and intermittent acceptance. I have also gone from aching with loneliness to being content to be alone esoecially on the holidays i would never have considered such a remote possibility before. The struggle to.find people to relate to is always there but far less compulusive. The struggle to be known is absolutely always there especially in relation to people who trigger me However the struggle is for me longer viewed as what am I doing wrong. Now the struggle is look how far I have come from being at rock bottom. We are most certainly in unchartered territory with COVID. We are also, many of is in unchartered territory when we move from being enmeshed and in really destructibe relationships to those that are nuturing. After all how many #real# example do we have of what that even looks like surrounded as we are by the compulsuve need to look.good Remember that many of us are incredibly dependent on outside approval we compulsively produce images of success . 12 steo programs are not all islands of sanity. Some of the most admired people I knew in AA were comoulsive 13th steppers. No one ever for one moment called them on it. Some people are extremely adept at finding their niche to act out in. I have been part of complex enmeshed deatructive relationships in recovery because that is all I knew how to be. I have also been part of this group where peoole are supportive kind and struggling The founders and nain stays of this grouos were incredibly warm kind and extremely generous people. In many wys your desire to connect is cery much a sign of health rather than a sign of what am i getting wrong? Sone people .make a real art of looking good and saying all the #right# things. One of my friends (who committed suicide)had all the right image playjng going full strength (the perfect relationship that wasn't the case), perfect home (remodelled by himself to absolute oerfection) perfect politics (he was a shop steward), great friendships (apparently he was rxtremely isolated because we all bought the image he created) He had just begun pursuing a life long dream of playing music proressionally. He committed suicide 3 years ago during the holidays. I have only just begun to.see him.as human Only when I have been able to do my own work on myself can I look.at someone like ny friend and see his comoulsive need to #look good# at all costs (in his case he killed himself rather than let down the image) That need meant it was very hard for him to admit he needed help (profession help)with depression and a substance abuse disorder. Of course I was not in a place to offer him much help because I really bought into his mirage of perfection. I bought the total package completely and compulsuvely sought his approval. . I an glad that you are here and struggling to reach out and find ways to relate. To me that is an immense sign of health. You are in the right place at just the right time The holidays are a very hard time for many of us. Lookmg for ways to come through that is really a essential and necessary goal. Good luck on your goal. Maresie

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~*Service Worker*~

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(((Conflicted))) - thank you for your share and honesty. I have taken it upon myself to create several 'text groups' - one for years, a few others since this pandemic. Each group includes like-minded folks - so one for softball, one for golf, one for Al-Anon, one for AA, one for family and another for my HS friends. I reach out each morning to each group and just wish everyone a lovely, peaceful day.

It's been a form of service that I decided to do to make sure I was not isolating and that I was checking on others I love. Every day is different. Some days, everyone responds, other days, one/two will, etc. What's most fascinating to me is the recovery and HS friends are the most active. From my point of view, they also include the healthiest folks I hang with. I'm not judging; it's just a different level of kinship with these folks than the family or my 'social friends'.

I started this to help keep me sane. I don't take it personally if people don't respond. This pandemic has made the entire world a bit crazy and each of us is affected in some way, many more than others. I try to just bring a small amount of light/love to those I love each day with no expectations.

I will readily admit that I am more often than not the person who brings others together. I have some lovely friends who are extreme introverts and if I waiting for them to set up something, I'd be old/gray before it happened. So, I hear you and understand what you're saying...I think we each have to decide what investment we want to make in our relationships and it will probably be different for me vs. you vs. yet another. So - please know that you're welcome here and loved here always! We do our best to be here for each other and share ESH. Take good care of you and know that you're not alone!



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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

 

 



Member

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Posts: 15
Date:

Hi Everyone,
Thank you for all your responses and suggestions. Isn't it amazing how when we ourselves have our own problems we can never see the light, but we sure can find the answers for everyone else in our lives!! With time I got clarity and perspective. As always, with pain comes learning.

Thank you,

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~*Service Worker*~

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I think it would be very hard to see the #light# atnthis time 

I.meet b b profesionals who.downplay the virus. I.deal with people who.choose not to wear nasks. 

I also deal daily with people who think it is a small issie 

It id oretty hsrd to find reality out there 

Couplr that with the fact I.have been living with a year lomg.rennivation. Every other day tgey have sine.bew demand of us relating to.the rennovation 

I kmow when the last recesion happened there wasca lot of support in recovey rooms 

I.am sure in paces where catsstrophe has happened there is a comimg togethet. Right now that is not happening and I jope it will soon 

Cerainly some people here includung myself have used sponsorsorrs dron withun this group. It is rare that soneone says no. Virtial sponsirship. Is very different.   Nevertheless it has a definite advantage 

Maresie 

 

 

 

u ver reaction. 



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