Thursday, March 09, 2006

Searching for Al-Anon

I have tried three times in the past two weeks to go to an Al-Anon meeting. First I went on Thursday to the All Twelve Steps Club. They didn't know anything about Al-Anon but they would call the woman who knew all about it. She told me that the meeting was on Tuesday. I then learned that there was one on Mondays at the parish house behind the church I used to go to. I did that this Monday -- they were not there. On Tuesday I went back to the All Twelve Steps Club, but they have never heard of Al-Anon. A young co-dependent in the making (about 12) kept trying to imagine where it might be. I finally escaped.

I emailed a friend to ask if he knew where one might be. He said he would ask. He emailed me later to say that there was one on Mondays in the parish house behind this church...I told him thankyou.

Anyway, yesterday I went into the city to see the rehab counselor and stayed in to try a meeting there. I got there early and sat in the car waiting to see if people actually showed up.

The meeting was pretty good. There were about 18 people there. Four people decided to talk about how stressed they were at work and how the Al-Anon skills helped them. Two of them were fine about it. They kept it brief. Two went on and on. It was annoying. However one of the annoying ones cornered me after to express concern for me for 30 seconds and then talk to me for 10 minutes about her horrible boss and her anxiety about her review on Friday. She did me the favor of telling me that she was going to every single Al-Anon meeting she could this week and it was the only thing that was keeping me calm.

I say it was a favor because it meant that both she was not a regular fixture at this meeting and that I need to remember that there may be an annoying personality at all of them (maybe even her).

But generally it was good. There were several people whose "qualifier" was a son or daughter. It really bought back memories of Alateen -- things I had not remembered in years. I went to two different regional conferences. I was a speaker at one! I told them that I had done the first three steps as a teenager, looked at the fourth one and said, "Umm...No." They laughed.

They also laughed when I told them that I had had found a genuine peace about my father being an alcoholic when I was 24 and that right after that he joined AA,which really pissed me off. They laughed when I told them that I married a great guy who wasn't an addict and had two cool kids. There was no chaos in my life at all and so I became a foster parent to get some.

Then I told them that I had realized that I had always pushed every person that I even suspsected was an addict, but that Evan had already got in and I really did not want to push him away too. "So -- I'm back." I got choked up with that and they said, "Welcome back."

It was basically a good meeting, but I am going to keep trying to find one closer to home.

[Just for reference: I live in a town with fewer than 30,000 people. The "big city" 25 miles away has a population of about 185,000.]

1 comment:

  1. It's been my experience that any group is as good or as awful as the people attending.

    I've backed off AA here. All problems, no solutions, and most there by court order. They'd rather eat dirt and it shows.

    I've thought about checking out Al-Anon but don't know when I'd find the time. It was my first program - I backed into AA.


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