I attended my second Al Anon meeting this week. I wasn't able to go to the same meeting I went to for the first time so it would be my first meeting at this location. I had a difficult time finding a meeting that was at the right time and place for me. As I have mentioned I am a mother of 3 which means there is no "me" time. I don't even get to go to the bathroom by myself let alone leave the house! My husband works hard to support our family so I tend to put guilt on myself when I want to do something that is just for me and not for the family. It had been over a week since I attended my first meeting and I was getting annoyed with myself for putting it off so once I realized that attending this Al Anon meeting really wasn't just for me, it was to benefit my family as well, then the guilt was gone and I left the hubby in charge of the bedtime rituals as I went to work on becoming a better me! The anxiety level was much lower vs. my first meeting and I was really looking forward to it. I walked into the room a little nervous just because I was meeting new people but Al Anon is apart of my life now so here I am! As I walked through the door I hear someone shout from the opposite side of the room "O, yay Carly's here!" Then another woman's voice say "Carly, we were afraid we wouldn't see you again." It took me a second to realize they were talking to me. There were 4 people at this meeting that attended my first meeting. I replied with hello and was appreciative that they thought of me and I also let them know my name was actually Charlie but, hey, they were close! One of the people walked across the room, wrapped his arms around me and said "We are all so happy you are here. We were worried maybe you didn't feel welcomed by everyone or something about the meeting turned you off and you weren't coming back. So happy to see you Charlie!" The idea that these four people had a conversation about me and were concerned for me, a person they met one time over a week ago made me feel like I belonged. As the meeting began we did the moment of silence followed by the serenity prayer. My first meeting I was just trying to hold myself together emotionally but this time I actually recited the prayer with everybody. It's the first time I have spoke the words of the serenity prayer although I've heard it over a thousand times! This meetings topic was detachment so a few people shared stories then there was a break for birthday celebrations which I didn't realize Al Anon had birthday celebrations just like AA & NA, celebrations for how many years you have attended. There were a lot of years in that room and they shared a lot of wisdom that I am grateful for. One particular member had 30 years attending Al Anon. She said that she attended one then it took her 3 years to go to another. She didn't like it the first time, didn't think she really needed it. Came back and 30 years later she is living her best life.
Once again, I found myself nodding while people shared because I could relate yet I couldn't relate once their story began to discuss how they were able to detach. Such a foreign concept to me. I can't detach from anyone's problems regardless if they are an addict or not. I allow other people's problem to consume me. It's such an unhealthy way my family lives. When mom has relapsed, we all relapse which shouldn't be the case. Learning the tools to make sure my mom's addiction remains HER sickness and not mine is the reason I went to Al Anon and here we are Meeting #2 and it's the topic. I think detachment is easier said than done. My family is so attached it's crazy. If my Uncle had a problem we all would make it ours, we would talk about it, try to help, allow it to consume us which didn't help anybody. Same goes for every member of my family. It's how I was raised.
My fear has always been if I don't "help" with a problem then they will feel unloved therefore I take in their problems and try to fix them, partly in fear they will abandon our relationship if I don't and partly in fear that if I don't then I might make their problems worse. I have to be prepared that by detaching I might lose the relationship but my health and happiness is more important to me then theirs. Doesn't that sound selfish!?!? I have to look at it not as being selfish but as loving myself and value my life. If I'm not happy and healthy it's the trickle down effect. My issues become my husband's issues which my kids can feel. I have to make me my priority so the people I love don't suffer. Detachment is probably my biggest obstacle to overcome in this healing process but I knew healing wasn't going to be easy!