Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Monday, December 31, 2007


Update on the dog: She's going. All it took was to let her off her leash! At home, she's used to her doggie door and freedom. I was controlling her with a short leash. As such, she wasn't getting her normal amount of exercise and probably a bit bound up. As with people, places, and things, I need to let them go so they can do their own thing...

So Happy New Year! It is finally snowing where we're at after a couple of weeks of nothing but wind and cold. It's like a fresh start, which we can always make any time, any day, any week, any month, any year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Even when the alcoholic is sober and you're surrounded by loving, mostly functional family, something happens that reminds you that you're not in charge, you're powerless. Such a thing happened to me last night when I took the dog out for her late evening potty break.

SHE WOULDN'T GO! Even though she's gone lots of time for me travelling in all kinds of weather and on all kinds of soil with or without grass, with or without weeds, including gravel. But for some reason, the dirt around my mother-in-law's brand new house and neighborhood is so sterile that my dog can't find one place suitable to leave her mark.

SO I GOT ANGRY WITH HER! So much so that I just about wrung her neck along with using a few choice four-letter words. I thought about throwing her in her crate in the car and letting her just try to keep warm, knowing full well she'd probably freeze with the temperature in the teens. Instead, I pulled her back into the house and asked my husband what to do. He told me what he had done earlier that day.

SO I DROVE HER TO SOME LAWN! That worked, but my dog didn't understand why she didn't get her snack. When I got back, I told my husband that had to be the dumbest thing I've ever had to do for our dog. I'd flown to another state to pick her up when we adopted her. I take her to daycare at least once a week. I've paid several vet bills nearing $1000 each. I let her sleep on my bed. I mix her wet food with her dry food, along with her medicine every night.

BUT THIS WAS CROSSING THE LINE! I was so riled up last night that it took me a good hour and a funny book to settle down. Plus I woke up this morning with one of my "anger hangovers" and have been in a bad mood all day. And my dog has no idea why I'm at a cozy coffee shop and she's shut up in her crate in the cold car. My behavior hasn't changed her behavior one bit. She'll continue to not want to go in the dirt and I'll have to drive her to suitable grass.

I AM POWERLESS OVER PEOPLE, PLACES, AND DOGS! But I'm not powerless over my attitude. Right now, on this sunny though cold and windy afternoon, I can enjoy my Chai tea and let go of my anger by blogging. It's almost as good as calling my sponsor or going to a meeting. I did tell my mother-in-law this morning what a dumb thing I had to do last night for the dog. She laughed and said that's a good story. Yes, it is, and it will be funnier as time goes by. In the meantime, in a few minutes, I need to take my dog to some lawn...

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Monday, December 24, 2007


Just want to wish all of you out there in blogland a very Happy Holidays! We're able to spend them with family back home. It may be cold and windy, but our hearts are warm. I may even be able to visit one of my favorite out-of-town meetings today. If not for Al-Anon, I would not be part of any kind of family. Yet I am blessed with several, including all of you! Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Doing God's Will

Doing God's will doesn't always feel good. Sometimes, I'd rather just stay home by myself and not answer the phone or doorbell. I'd rather not drive in the dark, on the ice, to meet with a sponsee. I'd rather not adjust my attitude, put on a smile, and drive across town for a pre-Christmas get-together with my children and granddaughter (even though I love them dearly).

I'd rather not be on the road again, first to my parents' for another pre-Christmas thing with my sister and nieces; second to my mother-in-law's to help her move and then partake in a family reunion on Christmas Day. I'm not in the mood to be helpful or merry; neither am I feeling well physically; so I'd rather not show up.

But I will. Because I know it is God's will for me to be there for others. If I've learned nothing else this year, it's that my presence on this earth actually matters to other people - friends, family, sponsees, and sponsors. And if I allow myself to reach out to them in small but significant ways, I will be blessed with that feeling of being connected that got shut off when I was a child.

Instead of feeling all alone, that anyone I love and depend upon will disappear, I will realize and internalize that I am part of a family, albeit imperfect, as well as my Al-Anon family which is infinite, always changing and growing. I am indeed blessed. And so it is with gratitude that I press on, doing God's will for my life even when I don't feel like it.

Chances are that my feelings will change as I add memories to my mental scrapbook:

-my sponsee's adorable baby gobbling down cereal
-my granddaughter saying "baby" in a southern-type accent
-an intimate conversation with my spouse about the meaning of Christmas
-the unexpected discovery of a Canadian sitcom while watching TV in our motel room
-and now, the time to take the dog for a walk before brunch with an old college friend...

Even if I don't feel like showering, getting dressed, and packing up again, doing so is doing God's will. Showing up for life is doing God's will. It's as simple as that.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Dealing with Depression

Along with being an Al-Anon, I fight depression. Not the kind that comes from dealing with alcoholism and other family/relationship dysfunctions, but the kind that comes from an inherited chemical imbalance. I can usually tell when it's coming, and more often than not, I usually just have to let it, because I know that "This too shall pass." I am powerless.

That doesn't mean that I need to become depression's victim, letting it drag me down to despair and complete escapism. Instead, I recognize it, do what I can do to alleviate its symptoms, and leave the results to time. I know, for example, that some physical exercise will help, even though my brain tells me to crawl back into bed or onto the couch. I also know that getting out of the house will help, to be out in the world even though I don't want to deal with anyone or anything. So I plan on going somewhere, even if it's the grocery store. I go through the motions of normalcy and these help.

It also helps to make a gratitude list as well as list my good qualities. This is not a good time to do a 6th step, dredging up my character defects. That list, when I'm depressed, is already present in my mind and much longer than the one my sponsor and I made during my last 5th step. In fact, during my last 5th step, my sponsor also made me list 10 good character traits. She said it was like pulling teeth because I've spent so much time in my life letting depression get the best of me.

And since that 5th step, my Greater Power has been showing me that I am indeed lovable and worthy of love, and I have many people in my life who not only love me, but like me as well. In fact, just writing this post is helping me realize that. I'm already feeling better because I'm doing something positive. I am taking part in changing my attitude and something is clicking inside my brain. Everything may not be okay, but I will be okay. I've probably been through the worst of it this morning (after a week of knowing it was coming) and like fog, my depression will lift as the day goes on...

If I let it, if I "Let Go and Let God."

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Friday, December 07, 2007


How do I know my life is unmanageable? Well, yesterday and today, I got stuck simply because a loved one in my life seems stuck. For me, that means I'm depressed about someone else's problem rather than living my own life. I'm stuck waiting until that person's life moves forward before mine can. In effect, that person has become my Higher Power for the moment.

I need not be in this place. I have choices. I can do some Christmas shopping, or just wrap the presents I already have. I can go for a walk. I can go to a movie. I can blog. The key is to get moving, without getting involved in solving someone else's problem. Unless of course they ask for help and it is appropriate that I help. So this is my start to GETTING UNSTUCK...

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