Monday, February 26, 2007

Thinking about what makes us who we are

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.


  1. I've been attending meetings with group domination, cross talk and stuff. Its tough but I have to wonder why God has me in places with so much spiritual sandpaper. What is it I'm to learn?

  2. Christine, maybe we both are to learn to not rise to the bait and be defensive. I know that I felt a real kick in the gut when I saw what was happening at the meeting with domination and control. Maybe I just need to consider the slogan, "How Important Is It?" I like the term "spirtual sandpaper" by the way.

  3. wow, this issue came up at my group conscience tonight... and the person chairing the group conscience said that he has had trouble finding legit alanon literature on the definition of crosstalk/ an explanation of it. for whatever reason, he has chaired the meeting every time since i started attending 3 mos ago, and his wife always writes things down during the meeting and keeps tabs on numbers of attendees, etc. my issue is that i feel we have a single leader of our group who takes time at the end of each meeting to "teach" us about whatever issue he feels is important that night, who also allows others to crosstalk and does not see it as a problem. i am new to alanon, but the group crosstalk, as well as his "teaching", rather than sharing his experience makes it feel a bit like church. it feels like we are being shown the "right" way to do the program and how to live. i dunno. it is hard to verbalize my thoughts and feelings right now, but i thought i'd throw it out there.

    aside from what concerns i have, this happens to be the group that feels the most beneficial to me. i love the chairperson and his wife... and i feel a true warmth and genuineness in the group every time.

  4. Wow.. here in our meetings.. the 3 different ones I go to.. no one says who is sponsoring them. It is considered just a personal thing.

    We have a couple of more dominant members... I actually like them a lot.. but they don't do anything Rude. One is just a bit too paternal and another too maternal since they have a looooong time in. The woman her husband died and I think she wants to feel needed. She means well.

    The male one I think he knows he overdoing it too much; and he back down.. and re-focus himself.

    Luckily these things are MINOR stuff... we had problem with people talking incessantly about their other 12 step programs when that is not supposed to be allowed.

  5. "But we also are unreliable because our emotions can take a downward spiral at any moment."

    - Brilliant Syd


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