I've decided to start this blog, because I find myself wanting to talk Al-Anon, at times when there isn't someone around who is willing or able to listen. I thought I could be pouring this out into what I picture, with some trepidation, as the giant ear of the Internet.
I've been in Al-Anon for about 20 years now, came in when I was still with my first husband, who was pretty far down the road by the time I met him, although in my innocence and naivete, (I was raised in a completely dry home) I didn't realise it, I thought he was just an exaggerated social drinker. We were together for quite a few years before I could ever begin to admit to myself the nature of his addiction to alcohol. I wanted the relationship to work, because he provided me with a measure of security, in his own messed-up, saturated, nasty way. I tried every way I could to get him to quit, and even guilt-tripped him into it for an amazing nine months one year. When he fell off the wagon, he fell in a spectacular fashion, and that was the impetus that brought me to Al-Anon for the first time. I used to visit my doctor and sob and wail and carry on, and he would suggest Al-Anon to me, and I would ignore him, and a week later, there I'd be in his office again, moaning about my husband's drinking, and my misery, and he'd suggest Al-Anon, and I'd be too busy wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness to hear him, and...you get the picture. Very tolerant man, my doctor was, and I will always have enormous gratitude to him, for steering me in the direction of recovery. He didn't lecture, or rant or shame me, he just continued to make the same suggestion week upon week until at last it penetrated my fog of pain, and I decided what the heck, what did I have to lose, anyway?
My first meeting, I looked around and thought "I have nothing, but nothing, in common with these people." I'm sure my Higher Power (hereinafter to be known as HP) got a good laugh over that one. I cried through the first few meetings, just sat there gently pouring tears, like a weeping hose, so I don't recall much about them, just that there seemed a lot of jargon, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what these women were laughing about, with the lives they described.
Fast forward twenty-odd years, and here I am, once again dealing with "alcoholism in a family member or friend." Up until just last night, if you'd asked me how I was doing, I'd have given you a resolutely positive picture.
But last night, my HP decided I was ready for a realisation. (Today, I can see that he's been working me up to this for quite some time, a couple of years, in truth; it's just that he's been giving me the information in small, easily digested increments, like little tender bites of steak, and last night, I don't know if he got impatient, or considered it necessary to break my denial, but last night, he wound right up, and hit me in the chest with the entire cow - WHAM!
Over I went, backwards, and smashed my head, and when I got my breath back enough to talk, said "Ok, ok, I get the message, geeeez."
Kind of hard not to get the message, when it's attached to 800 lbs of cow, which is now sitting on your chest. So today, I'm a little shaky. And I promise you, it really, really hurts to get hit by a cow-sized realisation.
From: COURAGE TO CHANGE, One Day At A Time in Al-Anon, page 191:
"I can't cope with something unless I acknowledge its reality.When I am willing to look at the whole picture, I take the first step toward a more manageable life."
I got the cow to at least move over and sit beside me, and now I'm trying to figure out what to do with it.