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Saturday, August 17, 2013

My first Al Anon Meeting

I arrived at the location of the of the Al Anon meeting and my heart was pumping. As I took my first step onto the stairs that would lead me to the conference room where the meeting was being held I felt a lump in my throat. I had to shake it off. I can't cry before I even enter the room! What's wrong with me!?! I took a couple of deep breathes and continued up the stairs and into the meeting. I made it! After many years of fighting the idea of Al Anon followed by a couple of years of putting it off, here I am! The meeting began with a moment of silence. That moment felt like an eternity! My throat was once again burning from holding back tears. The overwhelming feeling of emotions was because I am proud of myself for going, I am proud of myself for recognizing that I need help, and I am proud of myself for taking the first step towards becoming the best person I can be. There was no shame in this room. I felt a sense of relief. The moment of silence was followed by the serenity prayer then the meeting began. They asked all of the new people to introduce themselves which caused my heart racing. O God, I have to talk! I can barely keep myself from crying in silence what am I going to do when I have to speak to this room full of people!?!  I felt all the eyes on me which was my cue. "Hello my name is Charlie" I was welcomed with one big "Hi Charlie" from everyone. I continued "Sorry, I'm an emotional person" as tears are now falling down my cheeks. "I have been to many AA and NA meetings to support the alcoholics and addicts in my life but this is the first meeting I've come to for me." The warm welcome was appreciated then the meeting continued on with reading and members sharing. I found myself nodding in agreement with some of the words people spoke. It felt good to hear that we had similar struggles and to hear them explain their process of working through them. At the end of the meeting they asked all the new people to say a little something. I tried to quickly go over a rough draft of my thoughts. What am I going to say? Once again, all eyes on me and all I could do was be honest. "Hi I'm Charlie. For a long time I fought the idea of Al Anon. My entire life has revolved around alcoholics and addicts so why do I want to go to a meeting where I talk about them? But now my oldest child is old enough to create memories and I don't want his memories to be of his mom having emotional break downs because I don't have the right tools to work through my issues caused by my parents." Of course I was crying as I spoke and it was as if for that moment I wasn't the "new girl" at the meeting, I was just one of them. They were nodding as I spoke, in agreement with my words as if they had similar reasons for being in that room on that day. They were there to learn how to live just like I was. I will be going back next week!