My First AA Meeting

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I attended my second Al-Anon meeting yesterday and today I decided to walk over to attend an Open Speaker AA meeting. I was nervous about going – but I was welcomed by what I was told after was the ‘grandfather’ of the group, Serge with 26 years of sobriety.

The meeting format is similar to that of Al-Anon – but listening to a speaker tell his story of how he came be an alcoholic was good to hear. After he spoke, they talked about their chip program and the first one she spoke of was the Desire Chip – which was for anyone who desired to make a change and I raised my hand to accept it. At the end of the meeting, another member came to me to give me the other chip … One Day at a Time with a psalm on the reverse side that reads “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

I walked to and from the meeting. I left the meeting feeling emotional. Many members came to me to congratulate me on coming forward to get my desire chip. I was also given material to read.

I guess I’ve always been on the fence with the word ‘alcoholism’ because it’s hard to admit or say that I am in fact an alcoholic… but there are signs that I definitely do have alcoholic tendencies by simple fact of my family history. One lady told me that to find out if you’re an alcoholic quit for six months … and see what happens. If it drives you nuts to have to quit, then chances are you are in fact an alcoholic and it definitely is a progressive illness. I also know that alcoholism is a family disease and that I’m susceptible to it because I was indeed raised around it and affected by it. I just don’t want the pattern to repeat with my own kids.

I know I’m ready for a  change and I think attending in person meetings will help me on my path to healing – with all issues that surround me about alcohol. I need to practice sobriety for a good stretch to get a better perspective on where I stand with the issue. I will continue to attend meetings and read literature.

I was reminded that just for TODAY – I can do this. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here – I must live in and with the present. I will be mindful of not overwhelming myself and continue to seek support as I need it. I will say the fellowship that exists in these meetings is comforting and welcoming. I’m grateful to have had the courage to go. I plan on continuing to attend  Al-Anon meetings for the minimum 6 weeks they require to be able to determine if I think it’s a good fit and I plan on attending a few other AA meetings as well. If nothing else, this is good information to hear and a great support system to be a part of – the fellowship in both groups is so warm and welcoming.

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Reaching for Support Through Al-Anon

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Yesterday I attended my very first Al-Anon meeting. Over the years, I struggled with the idea of attending an AA meeting feeling it wasn’t the right fit – but after spending 5 days with a roommate at a conference – we got to talking and she’s a long time Al-Anon member, it felt like this group would be something that I could benefit from. And so, I planned to go alone, but she joined the meeting. It was a discussion group meeting and I have to say – after my first one, I feel like this is going to open up a whole new world for me and perhaps be the catalyst that will truly give me the “Courage to Change” (I bought the book yesterday and love the dated daily readings). I enjoyed the meeting so much that I’m going to another one on Monday and I am also considering going to an Open Speaker AA meeting as well.

I guess my own issues or worries around drinking stem from being afraid I’ll end up like my sister or be that ‘heavy’ drinking parent my girls will remember and this is NOT what I want for them. I did grow up surrounded by a drinking family and recall many experiences that truly affected me and made me who I am today. It also led me to attracting some negative people into my life – but I am happy to say that I’m single and very aware of the quality of people that I draw into my life now.

I won’t lie – the past couple of months I have not been so AF and I felt myself spiraling down a road I didn’t want to travel again. And so, after some very motivational conference speakers/sessions, I came back home and setup a 90 day challenge for myself. It started August 1st and day 90 will be October 29, 2014.

I also have a LOT of changes going on at home with my oldest moving out August 1st and my own realization that I need to change my own living space as a 3 bedroom, 3 level condo is just too much for me and my 13 year old daughter. I think the past couple of months’ stressors have been this indecision or the unknown of what was coming … but now that things are materializing, I feel a sense of peace. I’m the type of person who is an organizer and planner to the unknown is hard (I’m a Virgo can you tell lol). It’s going to be HUGE to move from a house to a 2 bedroom apartment (I have not lived in an apartment for over 20 years). But I am looking at the bright side of things – it’s an opportunity to get rid of a LOT of old ghosts including furniture I’ve had since before my marriage (and subsequent separation/divorce in 2002). I have listed things to sell and will donate even more. While I dislike moving (it’s only been a year since my since my last move), this is a good decision as it will cost less per month and it will bring me closer to work and my daughter closer to the day treatment program she’ll be attending.

And so – this time, it seems easier to be AF than all the other times I’ve tried because there’s a different purpose behind it. I also believe that with this newly added ‘in person’ support, I will reach my goal! I’m not saying I’ll be AF forever, but I will be AF a lot more than I ever was, and perhaps one day, I may quit altogether, but just for today – I will not drink.