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Exoticflower just went to 1st Alanon meeting: PLEASE tell me it was unusual!
June 26, 2009
2:25 pm
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exoticflower
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As an AA person myself and there not being any other programs for Codependency kind of issues in my area, I went to an Alanon meeting when finding myself yet again emeshed with someone verbally abusive to me in front of my daughter, and someone who suggests regularly that I kill myself. So clearly, the problem is me, I get that, I do. NO one puts themselves through that as many times as I have without it totally being my issue.

BUT, this meeting-- I don't know. It wasn'ta first step meeting, it was extremely heavy subject matter that brought up a lot of pain and suffering for me, I called a few people, and also the person who brought me, who said "Well, they're YOUR feelings. Go easy on yourself" and refused to offer any advice or anything. Everyone did. I just don't understand. All this shit got opened up, there's no suggestions, the person that brought me responded to my "wow, now I'm really hurting and looking for feedback with apathy and annoyance.... I just don't know, I'm out of ideas. Please soemone tell me this isn't what Alanon is... I don't want to be that kind of person!!

June 26, 2009
2:36 pm
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exoticflower
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Essentially, No suggestions, no support, no comfort, my actual FRIEND didn't answer the phone when I called a second time because he didn't feel I should bother him again I guess, no idea how this is supposed to work, no empathy, and again with what is the really hard part: NO SUGGESTIONS with what to do with all of this pain. I said to one person when describing it that I feel like I was cut op-en and left all alone alive to watch myself bleed out and no one will even offer me a tissue to wipe some of the blood off of my face... that's how totally raw and exposed and then discarded I feel. The issue they brought up at that meeting was something extremely painful for me, not tools or welcome to how we do things or anything like that-- I can find that info NOWHERE, but now I have all this pain from what the topic was and don't know what to do with it.

June 26, 2009
2:41 pm
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I was actually going to try a Nar-anon meeting to work through a lot of issues I have......I don't know about these meetings, but I understand people telling me about them is that they are basically support groups that go through similar issues in life and help each other see hope and share how they handled them.

I would try another meeting for beginners.....I'm going to my first nar-anon meeting either today or Monday, I'll keep you posted and wish you luck - don't give up...

We can all get through this together

June 26, 2009
3:33 pm
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Anonymous
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Exoticflower:

I am sorry you are in pain 🙁 and had a bad experience at an Alanon meeting. The meeting you attended sounds unlike any I have been too.

I tried several on different days and in different places until I found one I was comfortable attending. I echo PaleBlueSky's suggestion to try other meetings.

I know sometimes there is no substitute for face to face support, but I am certain you would receive kindness and support here.

((((exoticflower)))

Moon & Stars

June 26, 2009
3:47 pm
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atalose
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Exoticflower,

I am sorry for your pain and that experience with alanon, sounds like it was a discussion meeting and what ever the subject was it obviously disturbed you.

Most alanon meeting do offer a beginners meeting or at the very least show up a few minutes prior to the start of the meeting and introduce yourself and explain that you are brand new and need some guidance. And also check out other meetings and times and locations until you find a group that seems to fit with you.

I do know that in alanon telling others what to do is a no no suggestions can be made but usually it’s not about sharing a problem and everyone else tells you what to do or how to handle it. It’s mostly about sharing personal experiences and each one handled certain experiences.

Not sure what the subject was that brought up so much pain for you maybe you want to share it here to receive feedback, suggestions and advice….just a thought.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 26, 2009
3:47 pm
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Tumbleweed8
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Exoticflower, Just happened to be reading a little on here and I, too, am sorry you're hurting so. It definitely sounds like an unusual Alanon meeting to me from ones I've attended. I always felt good coming away from the meetings I attended and they did deal with the steps. When I lived in a small town our Alanon meetings were combined with Coda all in one meeting and that seemed to work out great. I would agree to look around for another meeting to attend even if its a little further to get to. Maybe you can call a main number for Alanon to get some help. You may find some support that way as well as suggestions as to where other meetings are. The same with Coda if they have a main number listed somewhere you could call. I don't know much about the online meetings as I couldn't seem to connect with them with my setup here. Otherwise I would definitely try them, also. Maybe that would be another suggestion for you though. Wishing you the best with all this.

June 26, 2009
3:57 pm
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Zebra
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ExoticFlower,

I too am sorry you are hurting. I tried to attend Alanon meetings in my town as well. I have never found a group that made me feel comfortable or tha I knew what I was doing. Thank God for this site. Anyway, keep trying you might have better luck and I encourage you to share your story here and let the people here give you advice and suggestions.

Love, Z

June 26, 2009
4:04 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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I so sorry you are feeling pain. I found that emotions anonymous helped me better than alanon or the others.

June 26, 2009
4:42 pm
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exoticflower
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So is there anyone here from AlAnon that CAN suggest what to do with new feelings of pain after a first meeting or offer some tools or advice? I mean, not solutions, I realize that this is my issue, but I don't know what to do at all with all of this new stuff I'm feeling and would like just some input. Some of it just doesn't apply to my other 12 step work at all-- I'm at a loss!

June 26, 2009
6:21 pm
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Eek! It really MUST be an Al-Anon thing! 🙂

June 26, 2009
8:00 pm
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_anonymous
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Exotic- I went to Alanon a while back. It was a huge group of people. Mostly each would take their turn and tell their story. No one would comment. I just jumped in and said I wanted to get the hell away from the alcoholic (my X who was in jail at the time.). No one really said anything. I called the woman who wanted to be my sponser I dont even recall why or what I said and all she said is she was travelling and adviced me to go to more meetings. I never went back again. Quite a few here didnt like it either. Some did.

June 26, 2009
10:08 pm
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fantas
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((((Exoticflower))))

Sorry you had a lousy meeting. My AlAnon meeting was all women and very supportive. I was advised to say that this was my first meeting and ask for a step 1 topic when I got there. I was terrified to do it but I did and the women shared their first experiences.

I would suggest you go to other meetings till you find one where you feel comfortable. Right now, you could also call the AA number and ask for some advise on where to go or even the crisis hotline. None of those will offer advise but they will listen.

As far as your feelings go, there is no special advise. You just need to feel them and accept them just as they are. Perhaps you can start journaling what you are feeling, the rawness, until you feel some relief. You could also take a walk. If you need to cry then go ahead and cry till you are done.

I know you want a quick fix for the pain, but there isn't one, my love. You are literally walking through the valley of the SHADOW of death. Not pitching a tent there, walking through. As for the phones, keep calling until you find a listening ear. You could also call friends. You came here, which is awesome. This the beginning of you learning to take care of yourself and meeting your needs. Not an easy task after masking them in dysfunctional relationships. In the relationships, you could say that the person was not caring and compassionate, now you have to give yourself care and compassion and not put it on anyone else.

Try not to want to get rid of the feelings because they will come back again if you don't get to the root of them. More importantly, they are showing you what you need to heal. The pain is within you. No one and nothing outside can help take it away.

In essence, your first meeting was a success. It unlocked your hidden pains and now you need to sooth yourself just like you would your sick child. Allow yourself to go into an emotional fetal position for a minute. Doesn't feel like it now, but it wont last. Emotions are Energy in Motion. Their purpose is to move on. Do you have a therapist you can see?

If you can make it to another meeting tomorrow, you can suggest "dealing with intense emotions" as the topic of discussion and you will hear what others have done.

Till then, we are here for you!! I for one, am very excited for you. You are squarely and consciously on your healing path.

June 27, 2009
12:01 am
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exoticflower
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I had the friend in question come over (who is also an ex, by the by, who dumped me because he couldn't make me the woman he wanted me to be so decided he could not love me-- isn't it amazing how people with the same problem find each other so often?!)... Thank you all for the love and support, the ex too told me that he was very surprised women didn't call me back later when I was so shook up after the first meeting. He said just what you guys say, keep going until you find one that fits. I guess at least in that it's not unlike the program I already work, is it?!

((((fantas)))), thank you also for the suggestion to ASK for a 1st step meeting, what a great idea and wonderful way to remove myself from my victim-mode right now!

Since I have not been around as much, it's fun for me to be reminded how helpful and good to me this site has been in so many areas of my life! Thanks SC, as ever this discussion room was of great help and comfort to me!

June 27, 2009
8:19 am
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(((exoticflower)))

I think, in my opinion, this site outweighs the advice you'll get face to face because here there is no fear of what you say comin back on you and it is much easier to be supportive to someone that cannot see your own life. Hope that made sense.

Many years ago, like ummm, 20, I attended Al-Anon. The first one I went too was 30 miles from home. They looked at me as an outsider and I felt outside whenever I spoke. I went for a month once a week. Then I started goin to an Al-Anon up by the school I was attending 60 miles from home. They were open armed, helpful, kind, and made sure my evil-x was not lurking around when I left. (often had to leave school in someone else's car and meet up to get away from him following me.) Al-Anon was for ME. I attended this Al-Anon for a year or more and I grew and was given good advice as to how to grow and deal w/ the evil-x.

My advice to you hon would be to give it another try. If you feel the same again then find a new Al-Anon to go too. Doesn't matter what your friend thinks, it is what helps you that matters. If the second doesn't work try a third but give each an honest try. I don't know how the Al-Anon structure is now, but back then it was good. I just had to find the one I fit into. Decided the first one was not equipped to help me w/ my level of problems and they were mostly "friends" and didn't want outsiders.

Hang in there.

June 27, 2009
9:37 am
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Wise words.

Exotic,

I applaud you for trying. It's hard to actually get yourself to do it and then when it doesn't turn out right, hard to keep searching. Definintely a life moment. I know I've had to slow myself down when it comes to deciding if things are worth pursuing.

I tried a CODA meeting for the first time last week and no one showed up except one other person. I got strange vibes from him. I'm going to try another meeting this weekend.

I agree with Mama. This site helps me because people are very supportive. It's like writing in a journal that is alive. The therapist told me to journal and it wasn't working for me.

June 27, 2009
6:33 pm
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razor
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E. Flower.
I have been going to alanon for several years now and it was the best thing I ever did for myself...I did not feel that way at first and I forced myself to keep going back.... there were days I left there thinking all these people are nuts but its not like I have anything else to do..... I can't tell you how much those people and that program have helped me although I can't really tell you how and it certainly didn't happen overnight.

Fantas, you were so dead on in what you said....don't want to blow smoke but you have really shared some words of wisdom since I have been coming here and I always try to read what you say.
EFlowe, I would say keep looking it will be worth it.

June 27, 2009
6:44 pm
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fantas
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Razor, Thank you!! How sweet of you to say that!! I too have learned a whole lot from this site.

June 27, 2009
9:36 pm
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exoticflower
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Lanigirl, one of my 1st AA meetings was just me and one other person, who did seem extremely strange to me at the time. Not only did I come back anyway and find other bigger meetings, but ended up finding out that this person who had struck me as so strange was actually a very caring but shy person who just didn't know how to talk 1 on 1 in what was usually a group forum. In the end, I got sober because I was lucky enough that there was that 1 person, however strange, there to have a meeting with me at all.

I love what everyone has to say, it's like any other program I guess-- find a meeting that works for me, and keep coming back. Thank you so much , and Mama, great to hear from you!

June 27, 2009
10:17 pm
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sdesigns
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Hi EF!!!!!!

Sorry that happened to you, I think there are all dif kinds of meetings though.

I've only attended one group and it was a women's Al Anon group ('cept once a guy showed up and they let him stay- kinda funny).

I had no idea what to expect and I think my emotions were sooooo high, it wouldn't have mattered because I was ready for the dam to burst.

I basically sat thru the whole meeting just wanting to be an observer but at the end they asked me to tell about myself and I started blubbering. But the ladies were so nice, some hugged me, some gave me their phone numbers and one gave me her book to borrow.

I think I was epecting more discussion but apparently the "cross talk" wasn't part of their agenda and everyone went around the table and told their circumstances and how they were handling things. There was always a topic from their book to sort of guide the meeting.

I hope you'll try another group and not give up.

((((EF))))

sd

June 28, 2009
5:09 pm
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Hello e-flower,

I cope with emotional pain by crying and writing for a limit of 2 hours. Then I do something else. If I am very angry, or unable to focus on anything else I go outside and do something physically rigorous like hiking, swimming, biking. If I only do the crying and writing part, I get depressed. But I find that I need to do it some.

I don't always need two hours to cry and write. That's just the limit. I might only need 15 minutes, if it's something small.

Sometimes, I cannot get my emotional needs met from other people. This is frustrating. Meditation and self-reflection have helped me with this. I ask myself, "What do I want this person to say or do? " Often, this question is hard for me to answer. I know I want something from the person, but I don't know exactly what. I need to think about it. I imagine that I have been granted a wish. Now what do I choose? If I could have whatever I wanted, what would it be? I usually figure out what it is I want from that person. Then I see if I can give it to myself. Many times, I can. If I can't, I see if I can get it from someone else. If I can't do that, then I see if I can let it go. If I can't do any of these, I will have to work it out some other way.

I try to be patient with myself and treat myself with the same acceptance and kindness I would show my children. If I am harsh with myself I simply detach further from knowing what it is I want, how I feel and what I think. That just takes me further from solving the problem.

I hope someone responds.

June 28, 2009
6:54 pm
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AH! Those are EXACTLY the kinds of solid 'here is something I can do with these feelings' sort of suggestions I had hoped for! A friend dripped by to bring me some more books the other night too, which helped me to understand the concepts a bit better... I love that getting help is as easy as asking for it sometimes! Thank you SooFoo and SD!!

June 28, 2009
9:43 pm
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atalose
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exoticflower,

AHH those feelings and dealing with them, soofoo made a great suggestion of writing them down.

I’m not a bit step person in al-anon but possible doing a 4th and 7th step and write it all down may help.

Sharing those feelings here is also another way to un-lease them and talk them through.

Keep posting glad you are here.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 29, 2009
1:18 am
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((((Exoticflower))))),

It sucks when you have a bad meeting. In general, I had a hard time with Alanon because I was also in early recovery from drugs and I am bipolar, so that might have explained my feeling of not belonging. But there was a problem in that group that I could identify early on- most of the people thought the OTHER person was the flawed one and they were okay. I've only been to a couple (literally) of CODA meetings, but I have met people on this site for years who swear by it, and I'm reading the literature right now... it seems more balanced to me. Gives you more of a concrete way to act on how you feel or behaviors that are distructive to change... and the Melody Beattie books I was avoiding for years... at first I didn't like her, but she is growing on me. So I kind of like the Coda and related materials better than Alanon, although some people go to both.

That being said, I had some bad meetings in AA and NA as well, but I ended up going to so many... you just hope the next one is better. As each group is different, within the same groups... each meeting can be different, and certainly each member is different. Sometimes (anywhere), work, public, crowds... the loudest people with the most opinions get to you first- leaving a bad impression, while the cooler, more reserved, kinder folk take longer to find and get to know. Sometimes they are quieter, and more gentle... sometimes it's a matter of waiting in out.

However, I have been to support groups for bipolar that I just had to stop attending. I am mostly depressive and the group I attended was led by non professionals who let the most obnoxious ill informed manic people hijack the sessions. Personally, I felt my time was more valuable than that reminder of why a person should take their meds (the only thing such an experience can do for me). It was sad because there were so many people there with good things to share, who never got a chance. I don't know, I got fed up, but maybe I should give it a chance again.

In short, I understand how you feel. I had a bad experience in NA when I ended up losing my sponsor. I felt betrayed. Not the same as losing a long time friend, but she was all I had at the time. But please don't give up. There is help out there somewhere. Especially here.

more hugs,
ella

June 29, 2009
1:21 am
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p.s.

The "what can I do with those feelings" question is tough. It's my problem currently as well. I am considering kickboxing.

June 29, 2009
12:55 pm
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Hi Exoticflower!

I have attended Al-Anon for 7 years and AA for 2 and Coda for 5. I am not an authority but I have experience, strength, and hope.

It is suggested that you attend 6 meetings before quitting.

The pain that you felt was your pain and that is a good thing. Pain hurts so why would anyone want to feel it. My pain teaches me that I have unresolved issues.

Al-Anon is a program for self discovery. In Al-Anon, we keep the focus on us and not on the alcoholic or others. We share, one person at a time. For some, this is the first time anyone has actually listened to them share. Al-Anon is a safe place for getting in touch with our feelings. If someone gives you advice, basically it may feel like you are not able to think for yourself. It takes time to heal wounds. The daily meditation books help to develop a discipline for working the Al-Anon program. Get a Sponsor. One that you feel comfortable with. One that you can safely share more intimate, vulnerable feelings. Most importantly, remember, feelings are not facts. Feelings are created by the thoughts we think. Observe your feelings then talk with a safe person like your sponsor.

For me the program taught me to trust in a power greater than myself.
I could admit Step One, that my life was unmanageable. Two took time to believe in a power greater than myself because I felt like if I didn't take care of myself , no one would. My old ways were insane. If I continued doing what I had always done, my life would remain unmanageable.

I am really glad that you stepped out of your comfort zone and reached out to others. That is like believing in a power greater than yourself.

I had always been an approval seeker. I wanted everyone elses opinions because I thought they had all my answers. I have learned that when I meditate and get in touch with my HP then I can calm enough to listen to that intuitive quiet voice inside that is so wise. It is a day at a time for me. Some Days I do extremely well and others I slip back into my victim behavior.

I feel more empowered today then I ever have. I am grateful for Al-Anon. It works for me and I will continue working my program for recovery.

Love to YOU

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