Just when I was bitching about not being invited to parties, along comes one to go to tonight. It's a retirement party for someone that I've worked with for years. My "qualifier" wants to go also which is okay. However, I still feel that familiar anxiety return whenever there is the thought of being around a bunch of people who are drinking. An alternative that went through my head for a fleeting moment was to just go to dinner and forget going to the party, once again denying myself some semblance of a social life outside of Al-Anon. Because I know that I am powerless over alcohol and people, places and things, I think that going and detaching is the thing to do. I can't control any impulse to drink by anyone so I just need to put aside the fears, place this with my Higher Power, and have a good time.
Before Al-Anon, I would dread any kind of party because it always meant an excuse for my SO to get drunk and later there would be the verbal abuse and bad shit that alcohol brings out. My SO isn't a happy go lucky drunk but becomes moody, morose, and spews out all the snakes that live inside. I would react to this in the early years by placating and pleading. Later on, I just gave up and decided that nothing I would say or do would make any difference. I was consigned to just suffer through and try to cope. One particularly bad time early in the marriage when I was very down after a drunken spew, I picked up the phone and called the local Hotline. What I got on the other end was nothing helpful. I realized then that the relationship was on the skids and there was nothing that could save me or the alcoholic.
I knew nothing about Al-Anon at that time. In fact, I went to therapists and psychiatrists to talk about my feelings and that never really provided much sense of well-being either. The last therapist that I went to was the best and through her I was able to see that I needed to take care of myself. However, it wasn't until I started with Al-Anon that I began to see that there were lots of ways to put into the practice the idea of taking care of myself. It's one thing to know that you have to do that, but it is another thing to actually walk the walk. I've still got a long way to go but I'm developing some of the skills to be able to detach and take care of me.