- What do we do about the family?

What do we do about the family?




Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery

What do we do about the family?

Postby Dallas » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:23 am

So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love. - PG 83
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Postby Dallas » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:26 pm

I understand. I'm wiping my snot off my keyboard as I write. :lol:

Thank you.

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Postby gunner48 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:43 pm

I understand the loneiness of not having your children in your life. When I got sober and went to talk with my 2 sons both walked out of the room not to return. I was living in Maine and my sons in Virigina at the time. I moved home to Texas to be near my father that needed my help at the time . He had a heart attack and needed someone to be near to make sure he got to doctor appointments and other daily affairs. A real blessing for me. It gave me a chance to discover the love my dad had for me and gave me a chance to be of service to him. I had 9 great years with him before he passed in 98. Something else I was going through was missing that relationship with my sons. No phone calls were coming, when I called they would be polite and short, no real conversation. I sat and waited. When I had 10 years, 3 months and 4 days sober my phone rang and I was invited to come visit my oldest son and meet my 2 grandchildren for the first time. My son was in Missouri and I asked when he would like me to be there. When I arrived we had a chance to sit and talk. I did my amends with him and a real relationship was started. I asked him sometime later why it took so long for him to want to see me and his answer was I didn't think you were serious about staying sober and I didn't want the drunk you were in my life. My other son accepted me back in his life a short time later. Today I live near my oldest son (his request) and am a part of his and my grandchildrens life. My youngest son is still a little standoffest but things are slowly getting better.

Fast forward to today. My youngest brother (55 years old) is an addict and alcoholic. I just got back from Texas after going down to be with him in the hospital after he had a heart attack and kidney failure. He almost died and spent 3 weeks in ICU. Complaining the entire time. He has no job, no insurance and no money. A real case of it's your fault I am down on my luck so you had better give me what I want. Sound familiar?? Once again I paid for his medication. I don't think I will do that again. I know that as long as I bail him out he will never take responsibility for himself. I have asked God for guidenance. Will see where it leads.

Peace and Love Gunner
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Postby cajunbam » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:46 am

Keith,

I see you live near Bonaire, GA. I have a very good friend that lives there. I am in McDonough, GA, for now. I am originally from a little town named Scott just west of the metropolis of Lafayette, LA, home of the Ragin' Cajuns.

Anyway, I couldn't get sober in my hometown because I could not accept AA since that was the way my dad did it. Sound normal, right? :roll: I tried it a couple of times and could not get past the 18 hears of hell I went through as a kid growing up with an alcoholic father and a tyrant mother. After he got sober, my mom acted like everything was great because he had quit drinking and was sober now. Being the oldest and the one who took the brunt of it all (i.e., being sent into bars to look for him while my mom and brothers sat in the car waiting, etc. etc.), I found no normalness in my life, only hipocrasy. When he got sober and found God, it was extremely hard for me to accetp this since as a kid I went to catechism for one hour per week, but rarely went to church because dad was mad at God for taking his father when he was only 11. Needless to say, as soon as I graduated from high school and left for the Army, I looked forward to starting my own drinking career. And, so I did. I also am the only one of my brothers who drank like our dad and quit after my second child was born. My son was 5 at the time and I just couldn't put him throuhg what I had been through. However, I wasn't yet ready for AA. I was a dry drunk with many other addictions, i.e overspending and eating, gambling with stock options, spam. I wasn't hurting anyone else, but myself. or so I thought. I was completely isolated and withdrawn, miserly and miserable with not a clear thought in my head. My dad and I talked a couple of months before he passed (for the record we did talk a lot during his 22 years of sobriety, but our relationship was strained). He said I still had a lot of anger penned up and I told him he was right. I was still upset with him and wondered why he never told me he was sorry. He was well loved by AA and non-AA members alike as he helped a lot of people in his life. I had been to AA and knew about the amends part and always wondered why he never talked to me about it. My mom even told me later that he went and asked a priest if he should tell me he was sorry. :?
I have to say that he did help out my brothers and I financially through the years and for a while I accepted this as his way of making amends. But I wanted the emotional connection, always wanting more. It wasn't until about a year and a half later that I crawled back to AA. I'm here to sober up my thinking - because for the last 5 or 6 years, I've had exactly 13 drinks, the last being just over a year ago. It is true that this is a progressive disease as my last drink was one glass of wine and I told her after we left the restaraunt that I could go get a bottle of wine at the store and finish it off at home. The gears were turning already. 6 months after that she kicked my self-pitiful, victimized self out of the house and into the hotel I checked in. Within a couple of weeks, I was praying about what to do, how to change - I was lost. God spoke to me through the little voice in my head and said, "Go back to AA". I thought He was crazy because I wasn't drinking. But I needed people to talk to and my counselor and priest wanted appointments and I needed someone to talk to on a more regular basis. So, I trudged back to AA, picked up a white chip and told everyone I needed to change but didn't know how. Guess who's at the top of my resentment list today? You guessed it, ME. I'm working with a sponsor now, actually my third one in 6 months, but I am persisting and being patient. I know I have a lot of growth and maturity to make up for. I'm pretty sure I still think like an early 20 something and I'm going to be 45 this year! I really look forward to my AA meetings, a safe place for me to share. I love the people, and the program. I am coming to love myself again, slowly. I'm still not sure what to do about my strained relationship with my mother. She never accepted Al-Anon and can be controlling and emotionally manipulative and draining. I can't be around her very much or talk to her for long periods because, being the sponge I am, I absorb the negativity too easily. Still praying about it and know that I cannot change her, only me, but it's still hard. I was only in the hotel for a couple of months when my wife asked me to move back. In a way I was glad, but knew that I was going to have to spend as much time patching up my relationship with her that I was spending in AA. My kids were affected, of course, but I always kept there needs before anyone elses and had more of a friendship relationship with them in the past. I am working on becoming their father now and that is difficult because none of us are used to me saying no too much. But they know I love them and only want what is best for them, even though they still push like hell for me to say yes everytime....Now, it's time to begin taking care of myself, physically too. And that's not easy either. This program of life is simple, but not easy.

Taking one day at a time,
Brian
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Postby Dallas » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:15 pm

Have you guys been spying on me or something????

1. Gunner: I'm still in that phase. It's been 23 years and going. My oldest son considers me a weak bitch... because "I use AA as a crutch." :lol: :lol: He figured, if I was still a "real man" I could be back to drinking and living in the fast lane with lots of money and toys!! :lol: So, he's spent a lot of his time working on his brothers, to turn them against me. Oh well. When it was really eating my lunch and becoming a heavy load, I talked to my sponsor about it... And, the old man, said "Look. You offered your amends to them. And, that's all that you can do and all that you have to do. They made the choice that they didn't want to accept your amends. Period. Now, get on with your life and stop thinking about it. They are adults. If they want to live their lives on their childish pity pot that's their business and not yours. You did your part."

2. Gunner: I had a brother like yours. Except, my brother died of this disease about three years ago.

3. The other guys, Brian and Keith: "Geowgia!!" :lol: :lol: Yep. Seems like every where I go or have been... when I'm with alkies in AA, I'm with people that I share a lot of things in common with!!!

Best wishes for you guys!!!

Dallas
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Postby gunner48 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:48 pm

Dallas, I think we just think and act in a similar manner. I can say this, The 10 years I waited for my sons to let me back in their lives was worth every minute. Today my relationship with my sons is more than I ever expected. As for my brother life itself will tell. I just need to be here if he decides to do something about his life.

It's really good to be back home and doing what is before me. Spent this weekend at the Circle of Unity Conf. at Lake of the Ozarks with good friends. Just what I needed. Bought 15 acres at the lake so I will have a place in the woods to go. God just keeps blessing me.

Thanks for the opportunities of this day. I now ask that you place before me only the things I can handle with your love, your power and your way of life

Peace cand Love Gunner
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Family

Postby john1977 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:42 am

Family is the hardest topic of AA. I eventually turned to an inpatient rehab program in upstate NY for guidance on how to get my family back in my corner. It took years to do so, but without proper guidance, it is an impossibilty. I chose an inpatient facility because they emphasize the importance of family and they helped me to meet with them on very honest terms. I am forever grateful to [url]Veritas Villa[/url]for helping me to get my daughter and ex-wife to trust me again.
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Postby Dallas » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:47 am

Keith, I enjoyed reading your experience. Thanks for sharing.

re:

I neglected him to get my sobriety. I was a hypocrite claiming to walk the walk. I was NOT practicing the principles in ALL my affairs.


I used to say that to myself. It was part of my insanity. The insanity was not neglecting anyone -- the insanity was thinking "it's all about me and what I've done."

They say, that the Carpenter once said:

Let the dead bury the dead. Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.


If He did say this, he said it in relationship to a problem that happened in their family. Someone died. They wanted to go attend to that.

Blaming ourselves and finding fault with ourselves -- is not the same as taking responsibility, being accountable, and continued self-analysis.

Blaming myself and finding fault w/ myself -- especially, when grown kids are concerned -- relates to my sick thinking, when I'm thinking sick.

My life at home as a kid sucked. I ran away from home and never went back when I was 13. I got jobs. I worked. I survived and made a life for myself. I didn't blame my parents or anyone else -- for my problems. I simply set out to solve my problems. I got into a lot of trouble. But, it wasn't my family or childhood that caused me to get into trouble. I was "doing" stuff that got me into trouble. My parents weren't doing stuff that got me in trouble. If the Life fits -- we've got to aquit... acquit ourselves for what we percieve to be someone elses results based on us.

I had an older brother that died of my sickness a couple years back. He spent his entire life blaming others. He never got it. Maybe he should have left home at 13. Instead, he grew up to be an old guy that stayed home... looking for parents to support, etceteras.

My oldest son is the same way. Except he did leave home. And, still blames me for all his problems. I used to wonder -- if he blames me for all his problems -- then, why doesn't he give me credit for his successes??? :lol:

My suggestion to anyone reading this is: stop blaming yourself. That's the "self-destructive" work of a negative-Ego. It the Ego can't take you up -- it will take you down. The Ego always wants to separate you one way or the other, to keep you apart from, yourself and others. Up or down, but never at the level of truth.

You offered amends and did what you could to make amends. That's over. Let it go and get on with the good life, and with being a fisher of men and women. Let the dead bury the dead. There is nothing that you can do to stop it or control it or to fix it. Only they can do that for themeselves.

The Prodigal Son was willing to leave the pig pen -- to go home. Once he left the pig pen -- he was welcomed. But, he wan't welcomed while he was still living in the pig pen.

We often do a greater dis-service to friends & family... by getting into the pig pen w/ them... to try and pull them out. It doesn't work that way. It only gets us both deeper in the mud.

An early lesson I learned in AA was "family cannot help family"... when it comes to our sickness. It requires someone other than us to help them, if it takes another to help them. I think God designed it this way. You see, if we spent all our time trying to fix our family -- we would only be busy trying to fix our families. That's selfish. We wouldn't reach out to "others" that we could be helping.

Dallas
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Postby cajunbam » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:25 am

Keith,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. It brought tears to my eyes.

As you stated, there are differences but so many similarities, it is not funny. My previous "tours" in AA were all about me finding the differences to give me an "out", if you know what I mean. Today, I may feel or think that I'm 99% different than the next person in the room, but it's that 1% that keeps me coming back! I look for similarities today and yes, sometimes they are hard to find because this can easily become a "YET" disease, i.e. I hadn't yet spent the entire night in jail (only about 2 hours in a standing/holding cell), haven't yet killed anyone or myself yet (although I was secretly hoping someone would do it for me for a long time during my dry drunk days), etc. You get the picture and I'm sure you've already heard of this "yet" dis-ease.

Dallas,

You said something like family cannot help family. That is the first time I heard that and I'm sure my wife will be even happier to hear that - can't wait to tell her, no not really. But she often wonders why I have to hear something from somebody else instead of just her to accept it and take action on it. For me with the alcoholic mind, I wonder if it's her ego that's getting the best of her? Or, that you may be right, that family can't help family? It doesn't even have to be a big issue, i.e. losing weight and taking better care of myself physically, but she will comment about it, it gets under my skin, and I ignore her. Then, I may talk about it with a third party and come to terms with that fact. Why? I already know I'm 40 lbs overweight. Why do I have to hear it from someone in AA and not just accept that my wife, my counselor, and my doctor have already told me this. Hell, I'm already on meds for high tryglycerides and cholesterol - duh, that should raise the red flag. But, oh, my sponsor and Phillip told me it was a good idea, so I think I'm going to go exercise now. Hmmm. That's some crazy stuff, ain't it?!

I am now leaving for a Noon meeting (since I usually get to telework on Wednesdays, thank God, b/c driving an hour and 15 minutes everyday gets old fast). I have so much more to say in response to both of your posts. Its been a real eye-opener!

Peace,
Brian
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Postby Dallas » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:18 am

Brian, that might be part of the being married package. :wink: I'm not an expert in that area... but it would make sense to me, that I'd want to try to keep as much peace as possible w/ the bride. It's okay to "act as if" they're right and we're not... if it will keep peace in the home. :lol:

A long-time married to an Al-Anon, brother in sobriety once told me... "It's more important to be happy than right!" I was only about five years sober then... and I could not agree w/ him! I said, "No Bob! When we're right... that's just being honest! We can't dodge the truth or we'll resent ourselves for it! We must be true to ourselves!" Well... a few months later, I was divorced... and Bob? After all these years... he's still happily married to the same lady! :lol: Once I began taking action on Bob's suggestion in all my relationships, business and personal... ALL my relationships improved and my life got better! :lol:

When I was new in AA was when I first heard about "family can not help family in recovery and sobriety"... by the old-timers that had been around 30 and 40 years before I got here. I wanted to and I did disagree w/ them, just like I disagreed with Bob. True, to my alcoholic self -- I tried doing it my way and I discovered that their way worked and my way didn't.

I have seen it over and over and over again over the years. Very rarely, do we hear of a family member being successful at helping another family member. It doesn't work. They need to find someone else to help them and to sponsor them. Trying to help them, based upon my own personal experiences and those I've watched... most often makes the situation worse.

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