M(3), 8/1/16: Prologue to Al-Anon?

be4619063a8a25e9177ac54b0cd61959

If I get to the end of this post, and I hit publish, AND it’s coherent… that is today’s miracle.  I will simply put “enough said.”

Without getting into unnecessary complaining, we are getting to that point in the summer.  That and a ridiculously unnecessary, incredibly long and painful dentist appointment makes me less than the happy camper I want to be.

Hopefully blogging will work its usual magic.

Today being the first of the month, we read from the book Alcoholics Anonymous (“The Big Book”), and we are up to Chapter 8:  To the Wives.

Come to think of it, this chapter might have sent the ball rolling down the hill of unhappiness, since the meeting was right before the dentist appointment.  I shared with the group that this chapter is, hands down, my least favorite in the book.

For those not familiar, “To the Wives” addresses the loved ones of alcoholics, and how best to help them.  In answer to your unspoken question, the chauvinistic title is due to the culture in the time it was published (1939).

My share was an honest one:  I did not have a whole lot to share, due to my being unable to relate to its contents.  I think the closest part of the chapter that spoke to me was the notion that the rebuilding a relationship in recovery is a journey for both parties.  Mistakes will be made, patience needs to be plentiful.  But the outcome can be a stronger relationship than ever before.

Amen to that part of the chapter!

The rest… not so much.  And I was not alone.  Others took umbrage with the advice to take the alcoholic behavior with a smile, for attempting to nag or browbeat an alcoholic into recovery is a futile endeavor at best, a nudge towards more drinking at worst.

One regular attendee who has been around the meetings for decades longer than I explained it this way:  this chapter is 13 years ahead of the creation of Al-Anon, the 12-step fellowship for families of alcoholics.  It is the first stumbling steps in terms of direction; therefore, it needs to be fleshed out a great deal more.  For him, his greatest take-away from the chapter is to understand an alcoholic cannot be forced into recovery, at least not into long-term recovery.  Willingness must come from within, and no brute force will create it.

One member of the group was a lone wolf.  He said the spirit of this chapter was the turning point for his sobriety.  For months and months, his wife and he argued bitterly over his drinking, to no avail.  It got so bad that he finally decided he needed to end the marriage.  He could not stop drinking, despite his best efforts, and he was tired of the endless fighting within his marriage.  He made up his mind that as soon as he was done work he was going to tell her the marriage was over.

As fate would have it, his wife went to her first Al-Anon meeting that very same day, and she was taught many of the same lessons discussed in this chapter.  When he arrived home that evening, he was met with compassion and understanding, rather than contempt and disgust.  They talked reasonably in a way they hadn’t before, and he sat down and read The Big Book for the first time that evening.

And the rest is history.

I believe I said this last week as well:  no matter how unusual the message, there is always someone to receive it.

One friend was in the meeting, and I was counting on her to bring enlightenment to me regarding this chapter.  She did not disappoint.  She thinks the message in the chapter is a sound one with universal application:  meet a problem in your life with love, rather than with resentment.  If you have an active alcoholic in your life, you are better served treating them with love.  She said earlier in her sobriety, both she and her husband attended Al-Anon as well as Alcoholics Anonymous, since they were both in recovery, and those were the best years of their married life.  The message is to take care of your side of the street rather than trying to fix someone else’s.

These words spoke to me more than any words in the chapter, and with problems more diverse than addiction.  We are currently struggling with an extended family problem, and how best to define our role in trying to resolve it.  Bringing love to the problem rather than hate is illuminating, and advice I will immediately be putting into effect!

Today’s Miracle:

Enough said!  And the blogging has helped me to detach with love from my dentist 😉

 

Advertisements

Posted on August 1, 2016, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Love has been the buzz word of the summer, and I don’t mean that dismissively. Respond to fear with love. This one size fits all approach should not breed more fear/hate/resentment. Even when I’m not sure how exactly to practice love in a trying situation, I often know what the opposite is because it feels like fear. In this way, it always feels easier. I’m glad you tied this message in with a chapter I think most have trouble identifying with.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always believe love is the answer…

    …love includes saying no and boundaries. This chapter always seemed to me to put the onus on the non alcoholic partner to be accommodating and non judgemental, but never gave real direction on how to deal with the resentment and anger that creates.

    Perhaps al anon does, but I have never been…

    Maybe the drinker is supposed to read it and recognize just how much their partner is sacrificing to keep the peace? How hard life must be to be the other party?

    Sorry about the dentist. Hugs.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • The shares from people in the meeting who are familiar with Al-Anon indicate that the program is a great deal more fleshed out that this chapter. So I can only imagine it’s true.

      I don’t know your hypothesis is correct in terms of the writer’s goals, but it sure is true for me… reading this chapter renews my gratitude for my friends and family!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had to have an implanted tooth!
    It took a long time (months) for the whole process, as well as LOTS of money!
    Yikes!
    This chapter always bugged me, too.
    I do agree that my husband yelling at me did not make me get sober.
    I had to reach that conclusion by myself.
    Now, his continued love helps me keep going!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m pretty sure that implants are in my future, though now the idea is to save what’s left. Not sure which is more expensive or time consuming!

      Agreed, threats and aggression mostly make for a greater excuse to drink. Love is the answer, and I’m grateful for the love I was and am shown!

      Hope you are well, Wendy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

losing anonymously

Learning to balance healthy and happy while living a full and busy life!

Oh for the love of...me

Just another 50+ woman trying to get her shit together.

Guitars and Life

Blog about life by a music obsessed middle aged recovering alcoholic from South East England

Off-Dry

I got sober. Life got big.

HealthyJenn

From daily wine drinker to alcohol free living...this is my journey.

Vodka Goggles

No longer seeing the world through vodka colored glasses..

Pickled Fish

Musings on life and sobriety

Mindfulbalance

An Irish Mindfulness Meditation Blog: Self-care, resilience, meaning and personal development.

SOBERLEARNING

Working one day at a time on sobriety, often winning, but sometimes losing.

viatoday

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Starting today I am on my way.

ainsobriety

Trying to ace sober living

Emotional Sobriety And Food

"... to be able to Twelfth Step ourselves and others into emotional sobriety" -- living, loving & letting go.

girl gone sober.

a blog about living sober. i didn't always drink beer but when i did i drank a lot of it. stay sober my friends.

%d bloggers like this: