Al-Anon Family Group

The material presented here is not Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature. It is a method to exchange information, ideas, feelings, problems and solutions on a personal level.

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Courage to Change Saturday


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2495
Date:
Courage to Change Saturday


The reading today talks about the most useful lessons the author has learned in Al-Anon. Now I read this, and I think to myself, "Well, I think that can be different for each person." And indeed it can. But what the reading talks about today is important for all of us I believe... whether you subscribe to the notion it is the most important lesson, or not.

If I don't want to be a doormat, I have to get up off the floor.

In other words, understand that you cannot control the actions of others. Not what they say, do, or even think. We are each solely responsible for our choices. So if there is unacceptable behavior thrown our way, We have to figure out why "we" continue to be a willing participant in a dance that requires two partners. The author states that they felt like a victim, but in many ways they were the volunteer! We are not helpless. Al-Anon can help us understand that we indeed have choices...we may not like our choices, but we are not trapped. When we get that old "victim" feeling, we can regard it as a "red-flag." A warning that we MAY be participating (in thoughts or actions) in something that is not in our best interest. We can resist the temptation to blame others and look to our own involvement instead. THAT is where we (collective "we") can make changes.

Today"s Reminder:

It can be very empowering to take responsibility for my own choices. I will act in my own best interest today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was very hard for me to identify "why" I continued to do the things I did... why I accepted less. At first there was the conventional, "These are my vows," or "Because I love him," and most strongly, "Because I feel my kid needs his Dad." And to a certain extent, all were valid and true. But deep down, it was a lack of faith in myself coupled with extreme fear of making it on my own that kept me tied to the horse on the not-so-merry-go-round. I lived in my own world of Denial. I was a very adept manager and cover-up artist... all to my health's detriment. It wasn't until I became very acquainted with ACOA and what life I was contributing to for my kid did I find my strength! Each day I pray to my HP that I didn't act "too late." There are many days when I believe I did. Al-Anon helps me to manage that guilt. 

Zoomed with family yesterday. There was no getting together for the holiday. It was quite funny to open presents on Zoom with the delays - so despite it being different, there was a lot of laughter!! We are all healthy (so far) and we each vowed to come together next year and forget about this year from Hell!  We were all grateful for what we had/experienced on this day! 

&



__________________

"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*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2094
Date:

Posies, sending you hugs and validation I so relate to what you say hear about why was I OK with excepting less? Not just from alcoholic husbands but in life in general. With friends with bosses at work. Why and its because I felt less than. I did not feel I was equal to anybody else I had this innate shame as to who and what I was due to my horrible past. And it has taken a long time for me to come out and say NO to settling for crumbs. I got a good story that shows How I have progressed

I was in IHOP after church on Christmas Eve and the meal was stone cold, it was horrible. Bacon was not crisp the hashbrowns tasted like the shavings on the bottom of my birdcage, the pancake was so cold I had to crunch it up so the butter would mix in with it as it was too cold to even soften the butter. So I ate the egg and the bacon and part of the pancake because I was so hungry after church

The waiter comes by and asks me how everything is and I told him terrible and that I would like a manager please. Well this lovely young lady name Sarah came to me and she said can I help you? And I told her I would like to speak with her in a private setting as this is an issue that nobody else needs to hear about, meaning the other customers. And I just told her my story, I just told her my experience. And I told her that I wanted her to know this so it doesnt happen to somebody else and they dont ever come back again. Well we had a great chitchat and she thanked me for being so straightforward yet kind and allowing her to take care of this in a quiet and private manner and she said she really wanted to do something nice for me in addition to not charging me for my meal and I told her she didnt have to do that and she said no please I want to so I said OK-do you have any good salads? And so we got out the menu and I got a grilled chicken salad with avocado and spinach and lettuce and all my favorite vegetables in it and she packed up this big old salad and sent me home with it and I thanked her and wished her a merry Christmas and she said I do hope you come back and I told her that I would that stuff happens and that Im not going to hold this against anybody. And no worries that I Would like to come back

Years ago, I would not have done that. I wouldve paid the bill, no tip because I do not believe in dipping for bad service. But I wouldve just paid the bill and left and not said a word. This time? No! The management needed to know and so I told her and because of my demeanor and my attitude towards her she was so eager to give me something as a gift for treating her the way I did. I could tell that she had had issues before with customers and they were nasty And aggressive probably. But yeah I was really happy for me that I finally decided that I deserve equal good treatment. And that I deserved on amend over that terrible meal

So its funny how I can see progress kind of sneak up on me and I will look at myself and go yeah I did the right thing by me I did stand up for me and I didnt be nasty and confrontational about it I just stood up for me. Sometimes I think I am going nowhere with my program that I am too damaged and too messed up but then something like this will happen and I will realize that sometimes progress isnt a great big neon sign, but its the smaller things too. I really enjoyed your share, you have come so far since I first met you, I love it. I love to see people grow along with me in this wonderful program

__________________

Rose, a work in progress!!!

KEEP IT SIMPLE_EASY DOES IT_KEEP THE FOCUS ON ME



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 132
Date:

Posiesandpups, thank you for today's reading, service and ESH and to MamaL as well for your service and ESH.

I do struggle with AH's verbal assaults, which usually happen at least once a week. Most times I ignore/walk away

and do not respond or acknowledge because I realize what I am dealing with. The thing is that I still resent what

I have to put up with, even though I do not wish to control (because I know I can't) the situation or his mouth.

I know in my heart that I do not deserve what he ladles on me, I do see him/disease for what it is, but I still am

having trouble with my feelings of resentment. I do still have love/connection with him and also know that once

I reach that time period where the thought of him, not in my life does not upset me, I know I am done, just don't

know what would tip the scale or when that will happen. I have to be very careful when I talk to him (cause he

starts drinking in the afternoon on week-ends or right after work during the week) and limit the amount of information

when I do need to relay something to him. I have to be careful about how I word my statements or requests, because

he is very touchy/paranoid. I do, maybe once a month, because I really dislike being angry, draw an emotional line

with him and tell him that he crossed that the line, but it is more for me to clear the air, it really doesn't change his

behavior.

I have to revisit Step One and Two:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity



-- Edited by Debb on Saturday 26th of December 2020 03:17:52 PM

__________________

"Forgiveness doesn't excuse bad behavior, but does prevent bad behavior from destroying your heart" ~ Unknown

Debbie



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 10996
Date:

Thank you PnP for your service and the daily. Thank you all for your shares & ESH. What I have always enjoyed about our daily readers is it will speak differently to me than you, and it will speak differently to me today than it did one, two, etc. years ago or same in the future. It seems that the pages give me exactly what I need when I need it.

For me, I am reminded that looking outside myself for my joy, peace, serenity is not healthy. When I am feeling attacked or worse, I am called upon to remember I have tools to use and choices always. I felt I had no choices when I came to Al-Anon - my marriage was troubled, my kids were a mess, my anxiety and fear consumed me and I felt trapped within an envelope of this disease. When I was able to put me first, keep my focus on me, establish boundaries and detach from the diseased, the insanity, chaos and drama, I felt relief. That little bit of relief brought me a little bit of hope.

Hope has been magical for me. I have come to believe that where there is breathe, there is hope. My one and only job is to find and seek my joy, one day at a time, however that looks like. Some leave their marriage and that's OK. Some stay in their marriage and that's OK. There is no one size fits all recovery solution, nor a better path than another - we each are blessed with our personal journey and there are no dress rehearsals. For me, at any point in time I am looking outside of me for the cause or the solution, I'm looking to throw blame/shame and for a quick fix, which will be temporary. When instead I can keep my focus on me, I better know what within me allows others to 'bother' me, 'annoy me', 'attack me', etc.

I am not a victim, nor a volunteer. I am a perfectly imperfect person placed on a journey by a power greater than I. One day at a time, I value who I am, where I am and whom I value in my life. Only when I spent the time/energy devoted to improving myself did I fully accept who I am and where I am. I will never be a perfect person, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, etc. I will never have a perfect husband, son, parent, marriage, house, job, etc. I am eternally grateful and feel blessed, one day at a time, as all of my needs are met. It's when I mourn my 'wants' that I question my journey, my value and ultimately my HP and his plan. I do best to accept what is, and not want for what is not. I do best to hold on to hope and faith and let my will and my ego take a back seat to God's plan. When I just do the next right thing, and allow life to unfold, I am continuously amazed at the many miracles all around me.

This page for me affirms that keeping my energy turned towards me yields profound results. It really does work when we work it! Happy Saturday all - got to golf with friends today; profoundly unheard of in December in my neck of the woods! Snow, ice and more are coming this week - hibernation, here I come! Love and light all - hope your day was great...

__________________

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

 

 



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 145
Date:

Thanks for all the shares here, I learn so much just by reading.

I was gonna write a very long post related to this topic but I have anxiety just thinking about doing it. This is a hard topic for me. Logically I understand that much of what goes on in my life is because I allow it and I am a willing participant. I know exactly what I should and shouldn't do, what I shouldn't allow ,what I shouldn't overlook, etc. But knowing and doing are such 2 different things. But I am so slowly working on that. I wish it was instant but instead it's at a snails pace. Ingrained patterns and behavior of a lifetime are hard to change.

I have a quote that I have been reading daily lately


What You permit you promote
What you allow you encourage
What you condone you own

I think that says it all



__________________


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2094
Date:

Oh I love the what you permit you promote, what you allow, you Encourage and what you condone you own. Thanks for sharing that SunnyFrogs

That is so true, it took me a long time to accept that I did have a part In my own miss treatment.

__________________

Rose, a work in progress!!!

KEEP IT SIMPLE_EASY DOES IT_KEEP THE FOCUS ON ME



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 932
Date:

From my new understanding of complex ptsd I can see I was chronically dysregulated.. Moreover I was generally around people who were also chronically dysregulated 

So the interaction certainly triggered off a great deal for me. 

Those interactions were of course not confined to romantic relationships. They included a lot of situations 

I was always so very hard in myself because I could not manage those situations.  Therefore of course it had to be my fault. 

Indeed I had often to spend hours processing how I became dysregulated.  There are not too many people who can deal with that. Indeed I recently had to stop seeing a therapist because he did not understand it. I will not digress into that obviously he is not trained or knowledgeable about cptsd but that is a given.   He did not see a need to be. 

So for some of us we are often given these perfectly clear statements about boundaries but they do not take into.account that we are dysregulated. Settimg a boundary when you are dysregulated is another matter.  Indeed for some of us we have never had relationships where we were constantly able to set and maintain boundaries in our lifetime.  How would I be able to do that overnight? 

I have a friend right now.who I can talk to about some of these issues.  That is indeed refreshing and helpful. They are one.of the few people who can talk to me about being dysregulated. 

Having one person who can listen to you is very helpful. 

 For most of my life I have wondered what was wrong with me 

Now I know and can explain so many situations that generated great shame for me.   Now that shame can leave and I can put aside the confusion and pain and chaos. 

 What better gift can I get for Christmas.  The new year certainly looks hopeful clear and positive for once. I did not have that last year but I have it this year and despite Covid, the medical issues I have to deal with this is the most positive gift I have had in a long time.   Maresie 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Maresie888 on Saturday 26th of December 2020 11:33:45 PM

__________________


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2805
Date:

Thanks pnp and all for the shares. Today's c2c is a strongly worded reading. Were I new, I might feel a bit shamed, discouraged and hopeless after reading this reading.  If I was reacting or accepting an alcoholic family member's unacceptable behaviors and feeling hurt even victimized by their words and actions, I might feel invalidated and my sadness minimized. Even if we can say "It's the disease talking," it's still negative and draining. At such times, going to an Al-anon meeting or reading CAL is recommended in order to feel better and regain sanity. This reading says "I was the one who sat and took it and often came back for more." Factual or not, that statement sounds as in your face as the experience the reader may have just encountered with the alcoholic. So much for reading this page to feel validation and support. Al-anon is meant be be a gentle and non-judgemental program. Sometimes we say in the program "When I knew better, I did better." Courage to make life affirming choices that honor ourselves can take time. Have you gathered that I don't much care for this reading? lol

What may look like doormat behavior in response to an active alcoholic may in fact be an action in self-care. No one can know the life situation of another person. My motivations when interacting with some actively drinking were very different years ago from what they are today. The active alcoholics in my life live elsewhere not with me. Loving at a distance can be easier for separating yourself from the situation at hand.

I don't much like the label of doormat for people in our program. When I was a newcomer I wasn't entirely self sufficient. I was dependent on a husband who was active in his disease. It took time in the program before I could even see the choices I had and yet more to time to find the courage to make them.

The reminder tells the reader that it's empowering to take responsibility for one's own choices followed by - "I will act in my own best interest today."

For some the appearance of being a doormat may in fact be a conscious action to keep a roof over their head and the heads of their children. Sometimes there is no Plan B, place to go or belief that you can make it on their own. If that makes someone a "participant" or "volunteer" as the reading mentions that may the right choice for them.



__________________

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



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 932
Date:

Thank you tired tonite. When I came into this program. I Zwas indeed very dependent on my qualifier. We also had oets who I had to consider. When the qualifier was entrusted with them he was neglectful. I ended uo having to take all of them 

 

It is cery eady to judge people. Now I am more aware of my cotsd. I  know thar certain situations do indeed trugger ne. 

I also know my behavior around those triggers is very difficukt to contain. It is more harmful to me.  Nevertheless the average oerson would not know why I was distressed 

In the case of my qualifier he capitalized on my triggers. 

He used my dysregulation against me. In fact he could very clearly portray me as the problem 

 

I have had people do that to me all my life. I am so hapoy to be at a point where I can address it 

Certainly as someone who has done extensive bibliotherapy I find much of the al anon literature sometimes lacking tact and diplomacy. 

Maresie 



__________________


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2495
Date:

Such great discussions on this topic!

Yes, TT, I can tell you don't like the C2C. LOL! TBH, there are many readings I don't particularly like or subscribe to. That is why I prefer to choose readings from other materials if I can. Occasionally, I feel some of the readings are "dated." It is the single reason why I had a hard time embracing this program (way back when), and why I continue to toy with leaving the program (now that I am divorced). But more often than not, I find more serenity when I "work it."


This particular reading bothered me A LOT when I first came to Al-Anon. I just could not see "my part" in any of my life's chaos! And to a certain extent, I still feel I am not the one who "ruined" my marriage.

But, I have begun to see the areas that have stymied my growth. The areas that only I could control and change. The reading has meaning for me today, b/c it is more about having choices, rather than me being a "willing participant." There was a time (a long time, actually) where I felt trapped... that I had no viable choices. That wasn't necessarily true... the reality is that I did not LIKE my choices.
I agree with you... there are many instances where being in whatever situation is difficult is the only option at the time. It is times/readings such as the above that 

1)'Taking what you want and leaving the rest' is good and prudent,

and

2) Having a seasoned sponsor to discuss our difficulties with interpretations of Al-Anon's teachings is truly priceless!

I hope that a newcomer will read this entire thread, as it is evident that we all interpret this reading in a way that works for us!

&



__________________

"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

 

 



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 132
Date:

I keep revisiting the three C's and Step One and Two.

I do strongly feel that if there is still love then it is not the right thing to leave and that I need to know that I have resolved all

my personal issues as well. That when in doubt, don't in Al-Anon is another helpful slogan, for me.

Always a work in progress for sure!!





__________________

"Forgiveness doesn't excuse bad behavior, but does prevent bad behavior from destroying your heart" ~ Unknown

Debbie



Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 4
Date:

Debb, I can really relate to what you are saying, especially about the resentment.  My AH's emotional outbursts have increased as his use of alcohol as increased over the course of the past few years.  Wednesday night hit a tipping point in terms of what he said and did.  Of course, he doesn't remember any of it! It took me all night to get to a clear enough place to speak with him about it. I resent this as well...I did take a stand and he seemed to get it, at least to some extent.  He told me Saturday that he is going to take an extended break from alcohol for up to a year.  While I think this is a good step, it doesn't change my resentment or feelings of disconnect/distrust of him, nor does it get at the root cause of the drinking.  He also seems cool and distant - which my codependent self is having a hard time not personalizing - like he's pissed at me because he behaved in a way that is causing him to take a break from something he enjoys so much (he still doesn't admit that he has a problem, only that he was getting a bit out of balance). I keep going back and forth between just taking care of myself/setting boundaries and wanting to force him to confront what is going on with him, which I know I have no control over. I do still love him very much but this has been the hardest year in our marriage for sure. Honestly, there's a part of me that still wants to be in denial about the problem of A in our lives, as I am an ACOA and can't believe that it is once again intruding in my life.

I had just started to attend meetings on and off when Covid hit and haven't yet done a Zoom meeting, but I think I need to...my plan is for tomorrow night.



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 132
Date:

Freedomssong, thank you for your response and can so relate to what you are going through as well as saddened by it.

I commend you for seeking meetings and coming here to MIP, we are all here for you!!

Al-Anon has definitely saved my sanity!!! No matter how long you are in this program, going back over the slogans

and 12 Steps are a continued resource and learning process that never ends.

{{HUGS}}

__________________

"Forgiveness doesn't excuse bad behavior, but does prevent bad behavior from destroying your heart" ~ Unknown

Debbie



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 932
Date:

Personally I feel many of us are served up.a double bind at Christmas. We are obligated to go do things we do not necessarily.want to.  Setting boundaries is easy to.say harder to.do.  I had plenty of experoence going to family Christmases where it was pretty hard. Even if I had advanxed management skills it would have been hard. I didnt have them so it was beyond my capability. 

 No one I know talked about that. 

One of my core issues was trying to make it a decent Christmas.  That was not a possibility with the qualifier. I was of course not able to be at a place of acceotance about it.  He deliberately made my life very difficult over the holidays.  Whatever I did he made it harder. Then when he was in trouble he wanted my undying devotion.  Of course I was boundaryless. 

The other was being under intense pressure to perform at Christmas.  No matter what I was supposed to summon superhuman strength to somehow make this occasion noteworthy.  

Whenever I tried to stay to myself i was saturared with loneliness. I would also have intense disappointment that those around me were not responsive to my needs. Since they were not responsive to their own needs how would they be. 

 The qualifier felt incredibly entitled. He went from completely ignoring ny needs to crisis. What a rollercoaster ˛

One of my friends committed suicide over Christmas. The pressure to #perform# had a lot to do with it. 

He had Christmas with his family.  I dont think he felt he coukd bow out of it. He had an extended family who were coming to visit. I do not think he felt he could bow out of that one either.

For those of us in al anon we are indeed brave enough to say we have issues. My friend appeared brave to me but he couldnt really stand uo to the immense oressure at Christmas. 

 He also could not ask.for help.  It takes immenss courage to.ask for help. 

There may be indeed some families who get together at Christmas and it is a time to be loving and responsive. .

For many of us it is not the reality. My efforts to.make Christmas work with the qualifier were a set up.from day one. My efforts to get him to acknowledge my needs were met with belligerence.  However I have to ask mysef who I was asking since he was a person drowned his feelings on a daily basis. .

Indeed asking someone with a substance abuse issue for acknowledgement is often a set up.  Thet can certainly feign empathy but if they had any they would not be using substances compulsively. 

I no longer set myself up in this way.  Christmas is far more manageable for me.  Nevertheless I am aware that for many people they are incaoable of processing disappointments, conflicts and the pressures of living. The qualifier was one of them. He would recruit me periodically but really he never had any intention of facing life on life's terms.  To date he does not face anything 

 

There are a few more days and the holidays will be over. 

For once for me it is not the let down that it always was. 

I have tremendous challenges ahead of me in 2021. 

I have to find ways to deal with them. 

However I really feel that I am no longer settimg myself up on the way I have for so so long 

Maresie 



__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.