Thursday, July 26, 2012

Al-Anon Family Groups

One wonderful aspect of living in this city is the number of Al-Anon meetings available - at least one every day, and sometimes two - this makes for a great framework of support for someone like myself who has recently moved here, and has few connections. When I walk into a meeting, sit down in a chair and smile at the other people in the room, it doesn't matter that I don't know their names or life stories; what I do know is that they have been affected by someone else's alcoholism.

I know they have suffered in the same ways I have, in their struggles to deal with that "cunning, baffling and powerful" disease: had the same feelings of intense frustration and despair: most likely made some of the same crazy  misguided choices, in their efforts both to understand and to change the alcoholic. (I've come to see that when it comes to alcoholism and our efforts to have some effect upon it, we are all barking mad, it's just that some are barking more loudly than others.)

I know that I can learn from those whom I've met for the first time two weeks ago - we don't have to be close friends in order for me to gain insight from their willingness to share and to offer their experience, strength and hope. All that's required from me is an open mind, and that I pay attention when people are sharing. An open mind means that even if I've attended a meeting for the first time and not liked it as much as some of the others,  I continue to go back, because that "not liking" may have had more to do with my state of mind, expectations, or physical comfort than anything to do with the people in the group, or the way the meeting is run.  I had yet another example of this last night, when I went for the second time to a specific meeting, although I'd felt rather depressed after the meeting last week. I've learned that my situation can sharply affect my perceptions, and my situation is that I've recently left a long-term marriage, with all of the stresses that includes.

I'm grateful for all who take the time to attend meetings and give back what was given to them when they were new. My first sponsor used to say this to me whenever I'd suggest that I didn't feel like going to my home group meeting because I was tired, or busy, or distracted, or lazy - she'd give me that steely look, and ask what would have become of me, if everyone in the group in the very first meeting I'd attended, had decided to stay home and watch tv? I quailed before that prospect, and went to my meeting.


  1. I love traveling and going to new meetings. It makes me feel like I know a friendly face in whatever city I am in.

    My sponsor always says, "Get up, suit up, show up." This is what I keep in my head when I don't feel like going.

  2. Hi, I came upon your blog looking for some insight. I'm going to read a little more but wanted to say hi. I keep a blog here on Blogger but my "other" journal is on Live Journal.

  3. New meetings, especially those out of town, are good. I like to meet new people and see the program in action wherever I go. Nice to read here again.

  4. Yes be grateful for an availbility of many meetings in your location. As of today, there are places In rural areas, in the USA where there is no meeting at all. I live in such an area and travel 45 min to attend a meeting and have yet to find a sponser.I also coodernate meeting with chores and work scheduke so my attendence is sporadic. Gas is not abundant. This is a high alcholic area. Prayer,faith and reading literture are my main supports.