tried the Al Anon meetings

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Tiredof33, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I have joined Al Anon meeting in the past and I started again. Maybe I already know the steps to work and have always tried to continue working them.

    BUT I find that everyone just needs to vent, and my heart goes out to them all, I find more info here and in the recommended books. I know what to do and when my son sent an email today asking for money I am just ignoring him. It ticks me off and he can call me and we will discuss WHY I am not sending money like adults, don't send me an email like a child. I don't even know where he is!

    I received one line saying he needed money, well, DUH!!!

    He lied about being homeless 3 months ago to get money and this time he actually may be eating from dumpsters, so I am trying to stay strong and not think about a little boy I loved BUT a grown man that will lie to me, steal from me, and THEN say he loves me.

    I told my daughter before I think my son may be a sociopath, I know the drugs make them worse, but my son just doesn't think in a rational pattern. At 33 he still doesn't understand that he is the one making the problems in his life!

    (((hugs and prayers to us all)))
  2. Rabbit

    Rabbit Member

    Sending Hugs to u. Rabbit
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Al anon can be very helpful to many. Unfortunately, I did better with private counseling one on one. You may as well, have you tried counseling just for you and your personal growth and detachment skills? I had to make those things my focus so my therapist could reel me back in when I began venting about other things. She was able to help me stay focused on my goals and I'm so very grateful to her. Al anon, again, can be very helpful in gaining perspective and helping you realize you're not alone. Working the steps is always a good practice, but for ME, one on one worked best in terms of personal growth and using the skills I had to lovingly detach without guilt.

    Big hugs, best of luck.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Over the years I gather that meetings really vary from location to location. Some of our CD family members have attended groups where (evidently) there was limited opportunity for many people to share their personal pain. Some have attended meetings like the one you visited. groups has resulted in some members finding a comfortable environment that has strengthened them for their journey. I think it's likely a bit like church shopping. Likely there is a "right fit" out there and it could relieve the isolationism that most of us adopt along the way. I hope the best for you. You are in a painful place. Hugs DDD
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    HI T33, I suppose the important thing is you find support and comfort somewhere, right? Everyone is unique. Every group even under the same title is unique too. My sisters and I went to one group long ago and it wasn't for us either. We did end up going to therapy as a family group on and off. Mostly we talk to each other and try to do what you are doing... stick to what we have learned is best and not get too enmeshed (our thing due to our upbringing).

    I hope he does call you if he is willing to listen, in the mean time, good for you for being consistent and taking care of yourself. The people here with your parenting challenges are stellar and so good at sharing and supporting. I am glad you find that helpful. HUGS and support.... Dee
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a similar experience as H&R. I've gone to CoDa meetings on and off for 20 years and they're very helpful. I've had 19 years of personal therapy and been in countless support groups. All helpful. The single most valuable tool, for me, was getting into a Codependency support group through a local hospital's Chemical Dependency program which is specifically for Codependents. It's lead by a therapist trained in Codependency issues and we meet once a week. the program goes on in stages for at least a year. Stage one is the beginning, Stage two is where the heavy lifting is done and Stage 3 is maintenance. I've learned more in this program and grown more and detached more then in any other counseling I've done. Just for the issues with my difficult child, not other issues which other therapies were perfect for, but this is a specific issue which for me, needed specific therapy.

    The support of a therapist who is right there with you, plus listening to other parents going through the same thing is remarkable. It's as if I am in a group with you guys AND with a trained therapist. For me, the detaching and getting on with my own life has been the most challenging thing to do. As a Mom, those are counter-intuitive to what Motherhood is supposed to be. It's also helped me with understanding the difference between enabling and doing loving things for my difficult child and when to draw the line. And, to recognize where it began in me, in my childhood.

    In the West, the facility that has this program is called Kaiser Permanente. If anyone is interested in finding out more, you might Google Kaiser and search for the Chemical Dependency Program, perhaps you can call them and inquire as to what other Hospitals or plans offer similar programs. Of course, we all learn and discover differently, but this has been what I needed to really make the changes necessary.

    Hugs and blessings to you Tired!
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I have found the alanon parents group I go to incredibly helpful... helpful in a different way than therapy.... I did go to therapy for over a year to deal with my issues of letting go and just getting some good support on how to handle things.

    I think with alanon the particular group of people makes a huge difference. In the meeting I attend there are quite a number of people who have been going for years and help keep the focus on ourselves rather than eveyrone venting about their kids. Everyone is allowed to share so people do share about their kids....but the goal is to make it about ourselves. My experience is newcomers tend to focus more on their kids (I did too) but with time it becomes about ourselves and how to get through this hard stuff, and how to go on living a good and happy life. There are enough people at the meeting who are doing that, to give inspiration to those of us trying to figure that out. But to me a big key is the group of people and kind of the group culture. I can imagine a meeting where everyone told sad story after sad story about their kids which might not be helpful. So Tired.... see if you can find a different meeting which might be more helpful.

    And you are doing the right things... and yes he might be homeless and hungry, that might be what he needs to decide to get help.

    My son recently went into rehab after being homless and hungry... I refused to give him any money for food. It was very hard to do... however I found out he had to detox from alcohol.. which means the money I was giving him before that was probably for booze not food!!!! It will fill that tummy up and get rid of the hunger and give you a buzz to boot. When I found that out i was very glad I had put my foot down on any more money.

  8. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    Today difficult child sent out an email to about 10 people inquiring about work in another city and he included a telephone number, I looked it up and it belongs to the girlie from he***. I feel like this email is the 'I am doing better so send money' email. No thanks! The last time his sister tried to call him at that number girlie (37yo) answered and said he was dead.

    The AlAnon meeting I attended (3 times) was puzzling! First meeting, it was a small group and the meeting was monopolized by a woman talking about the sexual abuse of her 3 adopted difficult children in detail, nothing about drugs or alcohol being involved. She interupted people and said several times she had to leave and walked outside and came back and sat down.
    When we took a break someone said I can't believe she is back! and I heard someone say maybe she won't be here next time. She did seem a little odd, but it is a support group after all.

    Second time she came in very late, but started the same behavior! Everyone is polite and doesn't want more drama so they ignore her and just let her ramble. Third meeting people left when she came in lol!! She certainly is a diversion from my problems lol!!!! She didn't look like she had been drinking, maybe she is a little off balance (or a lot). Whatever is going on it's too far for me to travel just to listen to her so I'll find something else.

    One lady did say she had enough money to buy or build a treatment center and still could not help her son with his addiction. Listening to her talk about all of the money she has spent on setting him up in his own place for years does reinforce the statement that we are only prolonging the 'hit bottom' process.

    Thank you everyone the support does help! I have a page of affirmations I read and it does help. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes, one person can certainly take up all the time in a group. That's unfortunate for the rest of you. I agree with what everyone else has stated, it really does depend on the group you are in. As in anything else, some are terrific, some not so good. It may require some research on your part, if that is what you decide is best for you. Just like there are so many different versions of our difficult child's, there are as many solutions to the issues we all face, and each one of us will find the best way for us. It's so good to hear differing opinions, then you're armed with many options to explore.

    Yes, all the money in the world doesn't stop the downward spiral of our difficult child's until they stop it. What a lesson for me that has been. Right now mine is lost in space, and I am gearing myself up for a possible dramatic exit by March 1st, or not, the usual unpredictability. I am using all my support to really take in the fact that she may be homeless and jobless and possibly in jail, and putting my energy into being detached from that as well as make every attempt to then allow myself to have a happy life even though her's isn't. Yikes. There is nothing else I can do. I deserve to be happy, and so does my granddaughter and my SO. I am more deeply committed to that then I have ever been before. Sigh.
  10. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I totally agree that your deserve peace!!! One of my classmates, now 60, just told me that she is going to raise the grands ages 2 and 5, I just don't think I could do it. She has 3 male difficult children, all raised in a drug and alcohol free Christian home. They have spent so much money trying to turn the difficult children lives around and she told me no more, she us just going to focus on making a better life for the grands.

    One thing I have learned is how lucky I was that my difficult child stayed OUT of my house. Although much of that time was spent in jail and rehab I could go home to peace and quiet. A distant relative let a guy she was casual friends with move in to get back on his feet, after 2 years he is not showing any plans to move and she wants him out. He is college educated and sold things in a flea market on the weekends, now he is a cook at Shoneys. He is in his 50s and doesn't do drugs now but does blame his past drug use for lake of motivation to do anything. I think it's just an excuse to be lazy and he is definitely taking advantage of her.

    One time when my son was in rehab and they had a family day several of the older guys commented that their families don't come to visit them any more. I waited until I was alone with my son and I told him it is so stressful for the families to keep going through this and they just get tired of the drama, they want a life that doesn't revolve around going to visit someone every weekend at court ordered rehab.

    I will check the forum often during this week, so post away if it gets to be too much. Your granddaughter is so lucky to have you and I am sure she appreciates it. Prayers for us all.

    (((blessigns for you and yours)))
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Tired, you are lucky that your difficult child stayed out of your home, it is much easier when they are not right in front of you. You did a really good job setting boundaries and keeping them. Good job!! I am encouraged when I read that others have done that and they are okay. At my age coming home to peace and quiet is now necessary not optional.

    Being in one's 60's and raising kids can be exhausting at times, just because they have so much energy and there is so much to do. Fortunately for me, my SO is a real DAD kind of guy and does a lot of the driving her around and since he is already retired he has more time to go to the store, pick up prescriptions, take her to the Dr. etc. I can't imagine doing this alone, his help is invaluable. And, at 15 she is pretty independent and a good kid, so she doesn't create any stress. Her mother has the corner on that!!

    Thanks for your support, I will post what is happening here. I so hope this goes down easy as opposed to hard. But, as you all know, it can go either way. That causes me stress, the not knowing, the unpredictability of it all. Plus she doesn't call me back to let me know what is going on , I have to track her down to find out when the rest of her stuff will be taken away. Yikes.

    SO and I went on a hike through a beautiful woodsy area near our home. It's good to be out in the woods, the clean air, the gorgeous views, walking up some steep hills, good for the old heart. Gotta keep ourselves healthy while going through this stuff.

    It feels like this upcoming deadline will facilitate some kind of completion for my difficult child and I, whether it's because she has taken some hold on her life and is moving in a positive direction, OR because she is staying in inertia and I will then have to let go and completely detach. Sigh. I am a little apprehensive about which way it will go. Please keep me in your prayers..............
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    TL, I am very impressed with your detachment skills, refusing to give your son any money for food when he was homeless and hungry, wow, that is amazing. And, in putting your foot down, he went into Rehab. That is such a hard thing to do. Your story gives me hope and inspiration. Thank you! I need to hear that.
  13. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    It is an hourly process, some days are better than others. I thought he was doing much better and he was for one year, I always dreaded his phone calls, drama, drama, drama, mama fix it please. A ctually for a while I dreaded ALL phones calls, not knowing who was going to be calling about what. Then the year before I could tell the amazing difference when he called. I actually could talk to my son for the first time in so many years I can not even remember. I looked forward to his calls.

    Then after about one year I could tell a difference in the phone calls. I tried so hard to deny what I knew was happening. It hurt so much when the drama started all over again. He had met a girl that was so much like him and the worse possible person in the world for him.

    I thought all of that was in the past. I had to call the police to get the 37 yo girlie (I had met her 1 time) to stop harrassing me. Then he called and cussed me out in a phone message for calling the police. She is controlling, posessive, and factor in the prescription drugs with alcohol this is the most evil of people.

    My heart was ripped open! I was not able to have children after my first and there were complications. When he was struggling I was right in there as head cheerleader until the very last minute. I now think my good intentions to boost his self esteem was codependent. We learn by mistakes!

    I can not begin to even guess how much money was spent each time he was 'starting over'. I have also been in counseling with each of my children and myself for 25+ years. I believe in counseling!!!! But I also carried the guilt as all mothers do (the ones that love their children and do not know any better lol).

    This was the first time in 3+ years he had asked me for money. He was in college (at 33) and on the deans list and told me they had a fight and she threw him out and he needed help to finish the semester, his professors admired him so much because they knew of his situation and he still was making great grades. I discussed it with his older sister and she said he is trying so hard to better himself. So I sent him a lot of money and he just kept asking for more. I'm retired and I was only going to help through this semester.

    The truth always has a way of coming out! The girlie witch was harrassing me and I called the police and they gave me the number to speak with the mother (they were living with the mother). The mother told me he was not homeless he was still there, they party a lot all night and come home about 4,5,6, fight a lot, and he cuts himself and threatens suicide. He had lied to me and kept the con going for about 3 months. If the witch had not harrassed me and I had to call the police I never would have found out.

    They had a fight 3 weeks ago and he Baker Acted himself and she was sent to detox. I am over it! He has had so many chances and there are many family members that would have a fit for me not rescuing my child. It's none of their business and I don't tell them what is going on. My daughter and my husband know and they are extremely supportive.

    The con cut my heart like a knife, but I refuse to be caught up in his drama and lies again. He only has himself to support, as does your daughter since you have the grandchild. I have complete ignored the emails and I will never again give him money. I was always very generous on his birthday and Christmas. I can count on one hand the times he has even bothered to send a card much less know when my birthday is.

    I do not know if my gifted child has mental problems, they were never diagnosed, but he is very manipulative and deceitful. He quit a job to move in with the girlie and go to school full time. Who did he think was going to support him??

    I made a list of everything he had done to me and when I start feeling weak I read it. I am just very tired of this and now I am in control not him.

    I also pray a lot! Sorry to tell you but the requests for money are going to be frequent after she leaves March 1. They will bleed you dry and not even blink an eye.

    You can do it if I can! I still need the 'yes you are doing the right thing' because they will always be our child, but they are not children, and for some reason they think differently and think we owe them a living.

    I envision myself giving him over to God and that helps me, we have zero control over this, it is their lives and their choices.

    (((prayer for us all)))
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have feeling we would end up with the grands in a NY Minute if it was up to Tony. I am not so sure that I could do the tiny ones anymore but I could handle Keyana because she has been raised around me and knows my limitations. She has grown up knowing that Grandma is almost always sitting down or in the bed and she just takes that for granted and realizes that her job is to play quietly on my bed with me and watch TV with me. Sometimes we brush each others hair and play The others just dont get that and expect me to be as active as their parents.

    I have never been to any of the AA/NA meetings but I did try several of the OA meetings and I was completely less than impressed. If they are run anything like AA and NA, I dont see how they can help. We all tried to talk about how food was an issue for us and we were reprimanded for even discussing food at all. We were told we couldnt even speak about it. Now I found that just astounding because unlike alcohol or even drugs, a person has to eat to survive. We werent informed about how to limit ourselves to good ways of handling food or anything. Just told to follow the 12 step program. I thought that was a crock of bull.
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks Recoveringenabler....I am working on detachment but it is really hard. I sometimes feel I was a chump for too long and he took such advantage of us and our love....but I am determined not to keep letting that happen. It doesnt help him or us. We shall see if this time at rehab clicks.

    Janet... you know I did OA for quite some time, lost weight too. I think the idea is to focus on the other things that make you eat, rather than the food. Again I think a lot depends on the meetings you go to and how helpful they are. I found one meeting much more helpful than another..... but I also have to say although I think there are elements of addiction in compulsive eating, I think in some ways it is different. And when I stopped going to OA (and gained the weight back) I just couldn't face the idea of giving up sugar and flour again. Hmmmm that probably is what it feels like to an alcoholic or drug addict huh? Anyway I am now going to weight watchers and for me that is working much better emotionally.... I am learning how to eat some of the foods I love in moderation and I think it will work much better.

    At alanon though I am starting to see why the 12 steps make sense... in a way that never made sense to me at OA meetings. I will also admit that my time at OA made me resist alanon for quite some time.... but now I am really thankful I found the alanon parents meeting I did... because it is wonderful.

  16. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I completely agree that Al-Anon varies from meeting to meeting. I went to several different locations/times before I found one that I was comfortable with. Don't just go back to the same one, check the schedule and try different ones around your city/town, before you give up on it. They're all different. I also found having a counselor that has a background in substance abuse and/or codependency is extremely helpful as well.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think I am in a drought area for support groups. That OA group didnt talk about ANYTHING. We sort of sat around and stared at each other while saying Hi, Im Janet and I am addicted to..oops...something.
  18. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    Janet same here!! I honestly get more info fron this forum than any of the other groups put together!
    I tried one AlAnon online and they were a hoot, one person from Scotland, Canada, about 10 to 15 people in and out. They told jokes and seemed to know each other well, they were friendly to me. I went out and made sure I was in the right chat room and then I asked if they met everyday and they said yes we try to. I had a great time! The lady from Scotland asked if all the American men look like George Clooney. We certainly didn't work on 12 steps or anything else but just having fun and even if I don't check in very often they made me laugh. After 2 hours and one person saying they were having such a good time they decided to skip work I thanked them and said goodnight. They invited me back lol!!!
  19. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    I have just started going to Family Anonymous meetings, and I have found a group that I feel very comfortable going to. This group studies the 12 steps every week, with the goal of teaching parents how to offer encouragement to addicts without enabling them. From the very first meeting that I went to several members in this FA group gave me their telephone numbers to call them if I needed to talk about my addicted difficult child before the next meeting. It is a big help to me to know that there are parents in my area who also have addicts in their families and who know all about the pain and worry that I have for my difficult child. I hope that you can find a support group in your area that will be helpful to you also.
  20. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    Pinevalley I live in a rural community so we don't have anything close by. Also, it is still such a stigma here (always blame the parents) that people won't discuss it much.

    I am happy for you that you have found a great support group. I'm hoping I can find one that concentrates on working the program. in my opinion sometimes there is such a fine line between encouranging and enabling and it's good to have support to help you through the tough spots.