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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Detachment~ Al Anon meeting #2

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!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Your Addiction My Recovery: Daddy's Girl

Your Addiction My Recovery: Daddy's Girl: I remember the exact moment I became a fatherless daughter. The exact moment when my Daddy became a stranger to me. I was 5 years old. After...

Daddy's Girl

I remember the exact moment I became a fatherless daughter. The exact moment when my Daddy became a stranger to me. I was 5 years old. After that day I would never again see him on a regular basis and the time between visits became longer and longer. I never expressed my heart ache to him with fear that if I did I would never see him again so I continued to set my self up for disappointment. I continued to look for him in the stands at a game knowing the odds were I wouldn't see him. I continued to wait on the curb with hopes he would pick me up when he promised he would knowing the odds were that he wouldn't be there. I was told at a young age that my dad was sick, he was an addict. I was told he was living the life he was raised with, so he didn't know better. As a child, and let's be honest even as an adult, I couldn't relate because I felt like if you had a difficult childhood wouldn't you do everything in your power to make sure your children had it better than you? If your father wasn't there for you, wouldn't you make sure you were there for you children? The last time I set myself up for disappointment was when I was 26 years old. That was it for me. I waited for him at a restaurant to discuss my upcoming wedding. I wanted to tell him my fiancĂ© & I had paid for a tuxedo for him to wear and I wanted to explain that although he would not play a role in my wedding I still wanted him to be there. I waited in that restaurant for 30 minutes and he never showed up. I went from being a 26 year old woman to a 6 year old little girl who was, once again, waiting for her daddy. I walked slowly out of the restaurant then ran to my car where I sobbed and yelled at myself because I was so mad that I allowed myself to feel this way as an adult. As I child I didn't realize that my expectations were too high for him to reach because of his disease but as an adult I shouldn't have known better! For most fathers, meeting your daughter to discuss her up coming wedding would be a no brainer but for my dad, I believe, he was afraid to hear what I might have said so he didn't come. That was the first and only time I expressed to him my feelings. I called him at work and he tried to say he was there at the wrong time so he waited for me and then had to get back to work which could have been possible if I didn't arrive 1/2 hour early and speak to the hostess about the man I was waiting for which she in returned said nobody had come in with that description. He had multiple excuses but this time I didn't want to hear it. I just told him all I wanted from him is to show up. I wanted him to want to be my dad for one time in his life. I was crying and speaking loudly, passionately. Trying to make him hear me that I don't need much, I just need him to want to know his daughter. In the end he yelled in the phone "I hope you have a nice F#$%ing wedding and a nice
F$%&ing life!" then he hung up. So my fears which kept me from expressing my feelings in the past came true. If I try to tell him how I felt, I would never see him again. I didn't speak to him for 6 years until he found me over the internet. In those 6 years, I married, had 2 children, and began to heal the wounds he left me with. I now see him as a man that gave what he could and although he didn't fulfill my needs, I believe he loves me. Its been a process and will continue to be but most importantly I had to learn that I can not set myself up for disappointment again. No, I will never get the chance to be a Daddy's girl and it's ok if I mourn that from time to time but I can not dwell on it anymore.  He's not a bad man he just wasn't the best father therefor I have to see him as a man vs my Daddy, otherwise I will never heal. I speak to him from time to time and I'm really proud of him for the new life he has created and wish him nothing but happiness. What makes me happy and has filled that void he left is watching my daughter with my husband. My daughter is a Daddy's Girl and the joy that brings me is greater than any pain brought on by the fact that I didn't get the chance to be one!
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

She is not a failure

As I was watching Oprah interviewing Lindsay Lohan, I hear her say she has entered rehab 6 times. This interview made me replay a conversation I had with my in laws regarding my mother. It was the last time my mom relapsed and as she entered rehab AGAIN. I was sitting with my in laws explaining my disgust with my mother and my mother in law, who I will call Sue, said "you know she loves you". I looked her in her eyes and said "Sue, I don't believe that anymore." My father in law, who I will call Jack, then something that completely changed my way of thinking. He said "At least your mom keeps trying." It was like he slapped me across my face and told me to wake F#$& up! Every time my mom has relapsed and entered another rehab facility I have looked at her as a failure but the words that came out of Jack's mouth made me realize she is the only alcoholic or addict who is in my life that has actually tried to get clean and sober. She is the only one who has gone to rehab and yes she has been many times but instead of looking at it like as a failure why don't I see it as it is!?! Which is she is fighting this disease with all that she has and every time it defeats her she gets right back up and tries again. I realized in that moment she was the one person who I am the hardest on, I throw her shortcomings in her face every chance I get because the anger and resentment I have in my heart. Every time she relapses I have let her know the disappointment and my lack of confidence I have in her that she will ever stay clean. The words of my in laws during that conversation, almost a year ago, have never left me and those words made me begin to look at my mom with respect which I never did before.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Your Addiction My Recovery: My first Al Anon Meeting

Your Addiction My Recovery: 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...

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!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Maybe

Tomorrow is set to be a big day. I am to attend my first Al Anon meeting! I have been contemplating going to a meeting for the last 2 years knowing I can benefit from it but just never made it a priority. Before that I was NOT going to attend an Al Anon meeting, period! I have lived my life with my world revolving around addicts and I was not going to give them any more of MY time! My thought began to shift when I watched a made for tv movie about how Al Anon got started and it got me thinking. To put it simply- the alcoholics would meet inside a house while their wives would just sit in their cars for an hour . They wouldn't communicate with each other, mostly out of shame and embarrassment until the wife of one of the AA founders realized these woman were out there so she invited them in for refreshments and they began to share their stories.  A support group for those who live with an alcoholic was created. A place where"victims" of alcoholics &/or addicts can feel safe and know they are not being judged. A place where their peers understand. For a long time I was too embarrassed to talk about my mother and father's addictions. Especially my mother's because my father wasn't a constant in my life but my mother was. So having a single mom who was abusing drugs was embarrassing. I now realize as she continues to work on herself I too need to work on myself. I hope that Al Anon can help me understand addiction as a disease because I have always struggled with that thought. I can't help but feel that is more an excuse. When an alcoholic/addict describes addiction as a disease all I hear is the blame being put else where, no responsibility for their choices/actions. Maybe Al Anon can help me understand addiction, maybe??? If I can understand the idea that addiction is a disease then maybe I won't have so much heart ache. When someone you love is an alcoholic/addict you, or I, tend to feel like they don't love me enough. As I mentioned in my first post, I hope that Al Anon will be helpful with removing the triggers that take me back to being a broken child. Someone can say something that has nothing to do with me but if I can relate it to my life with the alcoholic/addicts I become flooded with negative memories. I try to shake it off but there are times I can't which usually causes me to lash out. Maybe Al Anon can help. I don't want to yell at my mom, start an argument with my husband or someone close to me, or just be in a really bad mood because of something that happened years ago. I try to calm myself but some times the emotions are too strong. For example, recently I was in a car with some friends. One person mentioned their childhood pet which made me think of a puppy I had once, named Tuck who I loved! That led to me thinking that I had to get ride of him because, once again, we had to move. We lived with one of my mom's ex boyfriends because she had just left her fiancĂ© and now we are moving into an apartment which got me thinking about thinking about 2 other puppies  and 3 cats I had as a child that ended the same way. We had to get rid of them all because of another move and these were all different instances. I had to interrupt myself while sharing about Tuck because the memories in my head were upsetting me too much so I had to just end that conversation. I don't want that any more! That is just one example, I have thousands and I need to either learn to control my thoughts or learn ways to ease the pain from my past and maybe Al Anon can help.













Your Addiction My Recovery: Living Inside the Box

Your Addiction My Recovery: Living Inside the Box: For me, breaking the cycle was easy. I don't remember it being a conscious decision to "Just Say No" to drugs, it was just som...

Living Inside the Box

For me, breaking the cycle was easy. I don't remember it being a conscious decision to "Just Say No" to drugs, it was just something inside me. Fear of becoming an addict was always in the back of my mind and I knew you can not become a drug addict if you never try drugs. Recently I was talking with a couple woman. One being my mom, a recovering addict, and the other my mom's friend. We were talking about how some people live their lives inside the box and others live outside the box. I expressed how I was a little envious of those who dared to live outside the box. Some times I feel self conscious of the fact I've never done drugs, including pot, or even smoked a cigarette. I feel like maybe I'm looked at as being a bit boring. I even lived in another country for a while, where nobody knew me. I wanted to create a different person like I wanted to get a tattoo and try weed and live a life of a girl in her early 20's trying to figure out who she is BUT the craziest thing I did was cut my hair! I have always lived "inside the box". As I was talking to the 2 women I was interrupted by my mom's friend and she said "You had to live inside the box to make up for the fact your parents didn't". That was an "Ah Ha" moment for me. She's right. I had to create my own stability. Every child needs stability and some have to create their own.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ready to Begin!

Before I was a wife and mother I was a daughter of alcoholic/addicts and a grand daughter and a niece to alcoholics. Most of the adults in my life that were not battling with addiction were enablers. I unknowingly turned into a an enabler as well. I began life as a victim then an enabler and now I am someone who is ready to gain complete control of my life and release all control from the addicts. This blog is not for me to dwell on my past (although I will share stories) or point the finger at the addicts. It's about my journey. I plan on attending my first Al Anon meeting soon. I have long battled with the idea of Al Anon but I have now decided that I need help and maybe Al Anon will be a great tool to help me remove the triggers that randomly occur in my life which takes me right back to being a broken child. I don't want that for myself and it's not fair to my husband and children to have to witness. I promise to be an open book, to be honest while telling my story. I also promise to respect my family, friends, and the AA, NA, and Al Anon programs by being anonymous and not using my name or the real names of those in my life. I would love to share with you my identity however this is my story and my decision to tell it therefore it would not be fair to my family and friends.
I am excited to begin this new adventure of discovery by launching this blog, Your Addiction My Recovery. The name says it all. I want to heal the wounds that were inflicted by the alcoholics and addicts in my life. I'm a work in progress and ready and willing to openly discuss my life. I hope through sharing my story you will feel comfortable to share yours. This is a safe place for all of us who have suffered heart ache at the hands of an alcoholic/addict and together we can heal!
I'M READY TO BEGIN!!!