Thursday, March 29, 2007

Identifying with others

One of the things that I've come to realize in Al-Anon is that there are a variety of life stories with regard to the effects of alcohol. Some people have had it very rough while others have not been through financial ruin or physical abuse. One thing that we can all identify with is the emotional upheaval that occurs when living with an alcoholic.

When I first started going to meetings, I thought that I had it so bad. Gradually, I came to realize that it didn't matter how bad my lot was because comparing myself to others wasn't useful. Rather I learned that we all had something to share about the effects of living with alcoholism. The anxiety, fear, and general disruption of life seemed to be the common denominators among all of us.

I've also learned that longevity in the program doesn't really indicate how far along you are in recovery. All of us struggle in one way or another with the effect that alcoholism has had on our lives. It isn't a race to the finish but rather it's a path that we walk every day and will likely do for the rest of our lives. When I start to compare myself to others or think that I'm not doing as well as I'd like, I have to remember that this is a life long journey.

At times, I find that I identify more with what is said at AA meetings than in Al-Anon. I think that the insight of the AA's is more honest and their solutions more useful to me. Some of the Al-Anon members do a lot of hand wringing. I've been there so I know why that's necessary. What I'm wanting to hear though are ways to move past the hand wringing. That's why I like to balance my time between AA and Al-Anon meetings whenever I can. The perspective of the alcoholic is one that I need to hear.


  1. I think Al anon offers a completely different 'flavour' of recovery. A 'softer' version. and i mean that in a GOOD way. soft as in the opposite of a 'hard heart'. i needed to get to aa to survive. but now my survival is no longer the issue, I can enjoy what al anon offers. when I get round to going! Meaning im not very good at showing up!
    They are the complete opposite of control freaks. its very refreshing! Well the ones I met were..

    To be honest, I don't know enough about al anon to be able to identify what it is I like about it. Its like when you admire a great work of art but you have no real understanding of WHY you like the painting. You just do. There is something very good about al anon, but I have no idea what it is exactly! I'd have to go to more to understand it better!

    For me, I see aa as basic training. Survival kit. Al anon is for TRYING to 'smooth off the edges' after the survival aspect is done with. Aa is like boot camp. Al anon is a place to learn how to drop the 'survival' act, and learn to yield to life more. It's 'soft' or something. Very female compared to the blokey atmosphere in AA.
    I reckon they both have their place. AA is like Yang energy, and al anon is like Yin energy. They're both pretty damm cool.

  2. I love love love open AA meetings! Often I'd rather be in an AA meeting than an Alanon meeting. But I tried 90 in 90 to see if that was where I belonged and I have stayed in Alanon rooms.

    I worked my 4th Step and all my Steps with a sponsor who learned how to do them from hers. Do you have a sponsor? I know I got relief from the rooms when I didn't have a sponsor but not the recovery I have today. Its made a huge difference for me.

  3. "I've also learned that longevity in the program doesn't really indicate how far along you are in recovery."

    ... yes.. true.. and I was told by some longer time members that I am doing so much better in many ways.. and they were slower Learners.

    ......Sometimes i feel I'm bragging when I'm sharing my better attitude now. I'm still having slip - ups of course.. but overall I changed so much the last 18 months. The slip ups last so shortly.. a half hour .. a weekend ....

    I think it is easier than I'm not living under the roof with any addicting personalities.. I am not sure I would be this Emotionally healthy .. I made my son leave home since he is almost 25 and addicted to video games..

    He is with his dad; not in the street.. and AH I feel at PEACE. (so I improved faster since I'm not living with any problems). (and I'm the first to admit that is why the faster improvement to my Emotional Health and More Serene attitude. :) Live and LET LIVE but not in my HOME (do it under your own roof ) (said with a smile not in a mean way)


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.