Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Finding a voice
There are a lot of boats here--big ones that speak of lots of money. This is a wealthy city by many standards. But I know that there are other areas where things aren't so great--just a few blocks from the big houses and big marinas. I know that I would not like to live here.
I found an Al-Anon meeting last night. It was one that was behind a gate in an upscale housing community. I drove back and forth trying to find it, finally stopping at a gas station where I asked a policeman who was buying a carton of cigarettes. He told me how to get there--it was a turn next to the gas station into the housing development. I looked for the church steeple and made my way to where I saw cars parked and the Welcome Al-Anon sign on the door.
I walked in to a group of five people who warmly welcomed me. It was about one minute before the meeting started. When I told them that I had difficulty finding the meeting place, the chair person said, "Well, we were waiting for you." That is a great welcome to a person you have not met. And just like that, it was a meeting of people who shared about how to let go when someone in your life is drinking their's away.
Several shared that they had children who were active alcoholics. Slob living conditions, no job, asking for money--that seemed to be the common thread for parents who were trying to give love but not support the many demands of the alcoholic. One lady said that she would send her brother a gift card for a food in a grocery store but worried that he would buy wine instead of food. Another mother shared that she did not like to visit her son because he lived in an abysmal place, never cleaned it, and played on her sympathy to get money from her.
I thought about several bloggers who are trying to find a balance between love and enabling. I do believe that each of us has a higher power. The alcoholic who is destitute and hurting has a higher power, just as I do. I think that at some point, the realization that no other human can make me feel better, was the most important thing that turned me towards a spiritual solution. I have no answers for others. I am not in their situation with children who are killing themselves with alcohol. But I can see that it is no easy thing to have your heart being torn from you while saying, "No, I will not send you money."
I am going to another meeting tonight. No matter where I go, the stories are the same. And in this city, it would seem that there are so many more people out there who haven't yet found a voice to tell theirs.