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.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Solitude And Peace.

When my marriage ended, I decided that I would move back to the city in which I had lived for 17 years, and have always loved. I'd come down here for visits many times over the years, and each time, would feel a wistful longing that I didn't live here anymore.

I have a strong feeling of having come home; I feel connected to this place in a way I never could in the smaller places we lived, perhaps because this is the place where I began my Al-Anon journey.

The setting is beautiful, beside the ocean, with a mountain range visible across the water, glorious old buildings and houses, and a sense of history recognised and appreciated.

I'm the one who decided to leave the marriage, and am not going to invade my privacy or his with details, they don't matter in this blog. It's over, and now I'm moving on to the next phase of my life. Thank you to all who wrote to give support, your kindness touched me - I feel such gratitude for people in program.

I think I've found the meeting that will become my home group, the people are friendly and welcoming, and I felt so comfortable at the first meeting I attended, that I could even share a little. I've been to lots of meetings since I've been here - they keep me feeling grounded and sane.

Now it's time to go home and cook myself something delicious to eat.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Life Changes.

I"m going to be offline for a while, as I have decided to leave the alcoholic and my marriage of 17 years. It hasn't been an easy decision, but I believe it's the right one for me. I'll post on this blog again as soon as I get the time. Take care, all.