After last night's meeting, I've done a lot of thinking about the actions that we display and how they may benefit or detract depending upon the true intent. The lady who shared her story last night did it bravely and with much feeling. There was a lot of pain expressed. I could feel the level of disappointment over being let down once again by promises that couldn't be kept. The alcoholic is unreliable and it's best for each of us to never forget that. But we also are unreliable because our emotions can take a downward spiral at any moment.
I don't think that I was truly prepared for the intensity of the meeting last night. I had been riding my own little wave of good feelings, and yet I knew that the pending departure of someone I love was weighing heavily on my mind. In short, I feel grief and a great loss. When I first got to the meeting, I could feel my level of anxiety increase. This group is one that I consider my home group since it's where I started. However, there have been some dynamics within the group that put me ill at ease. Nonetheless, I shirked that off and became absorbed in the lady's story. At one particular emotional moment, her sponsor got up and went over to hug her tightly. I wondered at this as it seemed that she needed to get out the emotions and didn't need the distraction at that moment. Then at the end when all was over, her sponsor spoke up and said some things that I found detracted from the story and basically stole the power of the lady who shared her story.
I've seen this happen in this group before. There is one person who dominates the group. I've managed to get past most of it but there have been moments when I've felt defensive and disgusted. It's important to have Al-Anon not be dominated or controlled by any one person. Everyone's sharing is important and worthy and should be done without concern of approval or negative comment. I know that the one person who dominates does so out of a need for control and attention. However, that need isn't something that I choose to nurture or accept. I dealt with parental messages and criticism when growing up and it isn't something that I want to hear in an Al-Anon meeting. Going to an Al-Anon meeting shouldn't create anxiety but lessen it. I've given some thought to actually not sharing on my anniversary date but going to another group instead where there is much more freedom and serenity. I don't like to not face difficult situations but I have to do what I need to do to feel comfortable.