Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Shouldn't You Be Able To Avoid A Meltdown, If You've Been In Al-Anon For Some Time?"

Good question. I can and do, if I keep my focus firmly upon myself, and detach from the alcoholic craziness.


I've heard long-term members in Al-Anon talk as if they soar serenely above the fray in all circumstances, in all areas, never having the slightest upset or annoyance, and if they aren't exaggerating even slightly, I applaud and respect them.

I can't do that. I backslide. I forget. I become hungry, lonely, or overtired, or my temper rises, and, I fail to catch myself at the "stop and detach" stage of the proceedings, and instead, I go with my annoyance, and pretty soon I'm on that gerbil wheel running like a mad thing, completely unaware that this is what I'm doing.

Now, I grant you, that these times are few and far between, because I have long experience in program, am surrounded by friends who also practise program, and work to immerse myself in the wisdom of Al-Anon. But it does happen now and then.

I've given up shaming myself for it. It is what it is. Once I realise that I've been doing this, it only prolongs the agony, to then pick up a mental cudgel and begin to belabor myself with gusto, telling myself I should have done this, and I should have known that, and what is the matter with me, that I would still climb onto the gerbil wheel of obsessive thinking when I've been in Al-Anon for so many years, blah blah...doing that only made me feel much worse.

I've learned to sigh, laugh, and feel a powerful gratitude for the serenity of today, off that wheel. I've learned to do an inventory, searching for my character defect which came into play in this particular instance, and ask my Higher Power to remove it. I work to figure out what was the precipitating factor, in the hopes that when a similar event arises in the future, I can be aware: I can accept: I can respond differently.

That's all I can do, and I can do all of that.


  1. I've been reading your blog for a while now and am long overdue in telling you how wonderful it is. Thoughtful, interesting, sanity-saving and very beautifully written. I am grateful it is here, particularly when I need a mental adjustment and can't get to a meeting. Today, housebound with a fractured ankle, I woke up to learn that my brother, who had dropped in randomly the night before, had had his car stolen, because he left it unlocked with the key in it, along with his phone; he cannot get to work because he cannot get a rental because his license is suspended due to unpaid tickets and he has no money to get a rental or to clean up his tickets. No, he is not an alcoholic. He had profound ADD and the chaotic, "hot mess" circumstances are 100 percent parallel. I am doing so much better than I would have before, but I SO want him to take this mess and go, and instead he is here. I struggle a lot with: what are sane boundaries, and what is selfishness? Because I, selfishly, want peace ... and it is much harder when he is here, in my space.
    Thank you again for your wonderful blog Anonymous/Deb

  2. I realize that I slip at times too. I buy into the insanity of the disease. It happens when I lose compassion and want to slide back into trying to control the other person. It does not work....not ever.

  3. Thank you for this insightful and meaningful post. It was just what I needed today. May your higher power continue to bless you.