REASONS WHY AL-ANON HAS HELPED ME
@jzsla @slikvik (and the many others- I'm here for you) I realize that 12 step groups aren't for everyone. I just wanted to highlight what it's done for me and also to show you that even though AlAnon might not be right for you, talking about stuff is always good- especially with those who have been there before.
- •First I should say that I didn't go to AlAnon because I was like "cool, maybe this will help". I went because I basically wanted to say "see? I'm doing it, I'm trying, I'm doing my part, now you have to do your part too!!" Which is like- completely manipulative in its own right. But there you have it: full disclosure.
- •The first few meetings, I just sat. I didn't participate. People told me to call them, I didn't. Because my mind was saying "fuck this, nothing will help, nobody gets it, I can't talk to anyone, I have friends, I don't need anyone else." Also I was super resentful that I was even going in the first place. I hated all of it.
- •After awhile, little by little, I started to be able to relate. Even if my story was somewhat different, I started to think that maybe other people knew more about me than I was willing to admit.At this point though- I still wasn't "sold". I was pissed off because I didn't think I should have to do 12 fucking steps to fix myself when I wasn't the one with the problem.
- •Eventually, I have surrendered to "the program", and "the process". Here's what helped me do so...
- •I was able to get over myself. The more stories I heard about alcoholics, the more they sounded the same. It was nice to know that the feelings and thoughts and patterns weren't unique to just me.
- •I was able to recognize my own denial: alcoholism was a disease. For so long I thought that I wasn't good enough to make the drinking stop. I thought my qualifier was CHOOSING alcohol over me- that isn't the case. I learned to recognize the disease for what it was.
- •In doing so, I learned to stop taking everything so personally. The drinking wasn't about ME at all. IT WASN'T ABOUT ME AT ALL. It wasn't about ME. It want my fault. It wasn't directed at me. It had nothing to do with me.
- •I've learned how to manage my own emotions. I've meditated on this: "I didn't create the problem, I can't control the problem, but I CAN contribute to the problem." How have I contributed?
- •I've realized that I DID contribute in multiple ways. I've shamed (someone who already was shaming himself). I've blamed (someone who didn't know how to stop). I've screamed (at someone and added to their personal agony and stress). I've begged (someone who desperately wanted to stop). I've demoralized (a man who already felt worthless).
- •I've adopted dysfunctional and chaotic characteristics. I didn't know what boundaries were and I matched the level of trauma and noise.
- •One of the most important things I've learned is this: you can't reason with alcoholism. The way you can't tell a diabetic to "knock it off", you can't tell an alcoholic to "grow up", "get over it", "just quit" etc. I had been doing that for years and all I was doing was stressing myself out and making myself crazy.I was MAKING MYSELF feel inadequate. I was doing it to myself. Huge stress relief for me.
- •Unfortunately, I've also come to the realization that this doesn't end. THIS DOESN'T END. It will not be a decision that happens once, or twice or even 20 times. It is a choice, that the alcoholic and their families must make every day. The decision to LIVE WITH THIS, and to manage it. The only choice is to accept responsibility for it.The choice is "today". Not "from now on".
- •Now- my life isn't all peaches either. I make mistakes daily, I fall back into old behaviors. I get easily distracted and tempted to give in to anger and jealousy. HOWEVER- now I know that the choice is ultimately mine... I can choose to live in chaos and discontentment OR I can choose to live in my own serenity. Today I choose serenity.
- •I relate to the desperation that those in my situation feel. I struggle with it too.
- •When I say that I'm here for you- I am. ❤️