Thursday, June 12, 2008

When you post your email

"Most folks in Al Anon only want to complain. Most do not read the text books.
Most woman in Al Anon hate men. Al Anon for the most part is a dangerous and unhealthy environment for men." Steven H.

I decided to post my email address on my blog because a couple of people asked for it. I may be asking for it too since the first email message I received was from Steven who sent me his assessment of Al-Anon.

I don't think that I attend the same meetings as Steven because my experience hasn't been as he describes. When he writes that folks in Al-Anon only want to complain, I've found that the experiences shared are not so much complaining as being in pain. And that's primarily newcomers who haven't had much time in the program. Steven, if you've lived with an alcoholic for a while, there might be some complaining but in Al-Anon, we learn to quit bitchin' and start to listen.

As far as "text" books, we don't read any of them in meetings but read conference approved literature. Those include the daily readers such as One Day at a Time, Courage to Change, and Hope for today, as well as the books How Al-Anon Works, Paths to Recovery and many others. Outside of meetings, I read as much as I can on co-dependency, alcoholism, and whatever else seems of interest and relevant to living with an alcoholic.

Hmmm..... I disagree with the statement that most women in Al-Anon hate men. I haven't seen that one either. We're a pretty friendly group Steven. I know that in Al-Anon we often say that we hate the disease of alcoholism but love the individual. Acceptance is part of the program as is detachment with love.

And lastly, to say that Al-Anon is a dangerous and unhealthy environment for men is perplexing. The dangerous and unhealthy environment for me was living with an alcoholic without the benefit of Al-Anon. I had lived for most of my life in an environment that was distorted by alcoholism. I experienced anger, shame, guilt, sadness, hopelessness that led me to not trust, feel empty, and be depressed. I was on my way to an emotional bottom. Al-Anon has been a life saver for me.


  1. When I read or hear statements like that, I know that the individual most likely is repeating something he heard form someone else, or had a bad experience with a group. I've heard almost the same word for word statement said of Al-anon in our area. It is no different than those that say AA is a cult. But that is OK for me because I have seen the programs work.

  2. I have never attended an Al-Anon meeting well being an alcoholic but maybe it would be interesting to see life at the other side so to speak, Ill have to have a read up on the subject, I guess living with an alcoholic you love must be worse than being an alcoholic, since the person you love doesnt live in reality.
    I had no one at the end of my drinking only my dog

  3. Well you can imagine how much of that kind of stuff we hear in AA. "It's a cult", "It's the new addiction", etc.
    I've been to about a dozen Al-Anon meetings, thank goodness - everyone of them was on the solution.

  4. Everyone I've come across from alanon has never expressed anything of what Steven expressed. I have not been to alanon meeting but as I progress through my own recovery I am open to the experience as a child of an alcoholic.

  5. people don't know what they don't know, including me :)

    sounds like he showed up at one NOT so fun (!) meeting which is unfortunate.. all the 12-step meetings can have ONE of THOSE meetings where people are not having such good days and can come across as hating this or that or "those" people, whoever they are.

    just because things SEEM to be a certain way, doesn't make it actually SO (i have to remind myself that a lot during the day).. see u later syd.

  6. Dear Syd,

    Your responses to Steven were the best I've ever heard put to someone in obviously much pain and fear. Keep on keepin on, hon!

    Anonymous #1

  7. I attended alanon meeting for 10 months. After doing an alanon 4th and 5th step, the chaplin I did my 5th suggested I was in the wrong program. I switched to AA, no looking back.

    I started attending alanon because of the difficulties I was having dealing with my addicted child. I was a 50 year old male, and never had a negative experience while I attended. Very honest, truthful people, who dealt with the same fears I did. It felt like home. No easy answers, no solutions to my child's problems, just stuff for my problems. I learned to be honest in those rooms. Honest enought to see myself as I really was. I was blessed in the room of alanon.

  8. I love my daily Al-Anon/Codependency recovery reading.
    I don't attend meetings but the books have given me twelve plus years of food for thought and validations to personal matters that meant something to me.
    Interesting how some people take "program" stuff out of context.
    I guess it's there right.
    I remember feeling annoyed years ago when my Mom yacked about her Al-Anon stuff.Now I live it.I get it.And I love it.
    Some people do .Some people don't.
    Either way.I will never be one to judge another what works for them.

    That's why I like you share this stuff with an opeend mind.

    Keep sharing.

  9. Sorry that you get to be the target of that kind of crap. Like Pam said, we get a lot of it in AA.

    I have the utmost respect for Alanon and its members.

  10. Perfect response, Syd.

    Alanon is a lifesaver for women AND MEN who want to enjoy their lives despite their problems and family situations. I'd say there is more gratitude and gratefulness than complaining.

  11. I've found that Al-anon (just like AA) does not work for anyone unless they keep an open mind and are hurting enough to really want help. Your answer was excellent and I think the movie "When A Man Loves A Woman" is a very realistic portrayal of a man's reluctance to get help from Al-anon and then his final capitulation and relief at finding some of the answers amid fellow sufferers. (just as you do, Syd.)

  12. oh what a sad e-mail. this rings like a 'one bad experience makes the whole concept bad' kinda thing.


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