Al Anon Meeting


New Member
So, I went to my first Al-Anon meeting last night.
I have mixed feelings about it. I don't know if it was because it was half a dozen older (50+) ladies that were there dealing with their alcoholic husbands, or if it was just the first time feeling because I kind of wished I was anywhere else in the world.
They said that I should give it at least 6 weeks before I make a final judgment, but I just can't seem to shake the feeling that they will have no idea where I'm coming from when I bring up my 23yr difficult child drug addiction and other issues.
I got the impression that they were all still with their spouses and were working on themselves to learn to live harmoniously with addiction. Whereas, I am trying to learn how to detach from my destructive difficult child.
Any thoughts? Should I try to keep going, or should I try another meeting, and maybe feel a connection with a different group of people?
Just feeling like I will never find support.


Well-Known Member
I would try a different meeting. There are meetings of younger people, usually at night.

Although the people you saw are still planning on staying with their spouses, that doesn't mean they aren't going to detach from their behavior though. But I do get what you mean. I found a group that was a hodge-podge and, after a while, the message sunk into my brain that I have to detach. Nobody in the group was exactly like me, but we were all dealing with similar garbage and, in the end, I found 12 Step very valuable. If you don't, after six times, maybe a private therapist could help you better. It's hard to take this walk alone...when a child of ours is self-destructive. We need others to help us stay sane. At least at first :)


one day at a time
Hi Bennieb and welcome.

First, great that you went to a meeting. I know it's hard to walk in there the very first time.

My best advice: keep on going. Just do it. In Al-Anon we say: "Go to at least six meetings until you decide if Al-Anon is for you."

The first time (period of time) I went, it was for about 18 months. I didn't "get it" much at all. I just wanted what I wanted, and I did not really have an open mind about what was available to me. After my husband and I separated, I stopped. After all, he was gone, what did I need with Al-Anon?

When my son started his drug addiction---or I should say, when I realized what was going on---I ran back so fast and I have stayed this time. Al-Anon has truly been my salvation.

In the meetings there are people from every situation. Yes, it's mostly women. And a lot of "older" women. Maybe I'm one of them? :) (at almost 58 years old, what?)

But Bennieb, the stories are all the same. The pain is the same. The process is the same. You are not unique and so very different from those women who were there last night. They may not be in crisis right now, but they have been there and done that.

So, please keep going. And like MWM said, try some other meetings as well. There is a different crowd at every meeting.

I can't say enough about the brilliantly simple and wonderful wisdom---simple but so very hard to live out---that is offered at Al-Anon. From the books, to the sponsorship program, to the meetings, to little things like the slogans, some of the pamphlets, the phone list...there are so many wonderful tools and one or two or three of those tools will be exactly what YOU yourself need, if you will keep on going and learn more. Open your mind. Don't be like I was. I wasted a lot of years because I wasn't open.

Warm hugs. We are here for you, no matter what you decide, always.


Well-Known Member
See if you can find a parents meeting. I go to a wonderful meeting that is for parents... we have a couple of people there for spouses and they keep coming to this meeting because it is such a great group of people but the vast majority are parents. And it is interesting because there is a wide range of ages... from a couple of people with teens, to several with kids in their 20s to some elders with kids in their 40s.

I think I would have some trouble at an alanon meeting if everyone was dealing with spouses. Although the alanon principals are the same, I think there are some differences for us in dealing with a spouse and addiction vs a child dealing with addiciton. I think the detachment, although again similar in principal, feels a bit different.

At least that is the way it feels to me.... but I am blessed not to have this issue with my spouse so maybe i dont know.


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Well-Known Member
Staff member
Much of the value of any group is the sharing that YOU do. Make an attempt to utilize the group for your benefit........share your story and keep on sharing. If the group is not a good fit, you will know that in a short amount of time, but give it some time and tell your story. It's a healing experience to share our stories whether the others understand or relate or not. You may find the empathy and understanding you're seeking in this group, or not, but while you're there trying to figure out if it's a good fit, use the group energy for yourself.


New Member
That's exactly how I was feeling Toughlovin, that detaching from a spouse, is a completely different thing. While I'm sure that is not easy either, I think that a person who you carried, and gave life to, that you were supposed to care for for a lifetime, is a much more difficult thing to deal with.
I have fairly easily detached from others in my life that were close to me due to addiction, but a child is a whole other issue.


Well-Known Member
I agree.... and that is why I think it is important to think about detachment with love. I doubt I will ever write my son completely off.... or decide to never have contact with him again. I could see potentially stopping contact for a period of time but I dont think I could ever cut the ties completely. I think I could do that with an abusive, addicted spouse... maybe not easily and it would take time but I think I could do that. Therein lies one difference for me... my son no matter what will always be my son and I will always love him.

But I dont think detachment necessarily means cutting someone out of your life. To me it means setting limits and boundaries so that I am true to myself, do things that feel right to me and also feel right for my difficult child. Sometimes what feels right for my difficult child is not going to be what he wants or feel good to him.

So for example we kicked him out of the house when he was 18 because he blatantly was disobeying ALL or our rules, and they were very simple rules you would have with anyone you lived with. We kicked him out for our own safety and sanity but also because I dont believe that living in a house where you can disobey all rules was a good lesson for him to learn.. society does not work like that as he has since discovered!

However even though we kicked him out I stayed in touch with him and let him know I loved him.

That was 4 years ago and we have been on quite a road since then.... with many ups and downs and twists and turns but we still have a relationship. Sometimes it is better than others but it is still there. And I am learning more and more to let go and let him find his own path and he seems to be doing that, at least for the moment.


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