TRUCKEE, Calif. --Is a child or spouse using drugs that you know is a problem and causes you to feel upset and concerned?
Have you heard about Al-Anon? Al-Anon is a meeting of family and friends who share your feelings. Al-Anon meetings can be found in most communities throughout the United States and internationally. Al-Anon provides a safe, anonymous place to share your concerns and hear how others are coping with the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. When a family member is alcoholic or addicted, their behavior affects everyone in the family.
Truckee has two Al-Anon meetings a week: Monday at 7 p.m. in the Church of The Mountains Annex Building on Church Street and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the For Goodness Sake Building on Donner Pass Road
You may relate to the following stories submitted by Truckee Al-Anon members.
A spouse: "I have been attending Al-Anon for many years. I arrived at my first meeting feeling desperate, confused, angry and full of fear and shame. I knew my spouse's behavior was connected to his drinking and had no idea about the drug use also going on. The meetings provided support and understanding and helped me to make changes. Having boundaries, not accepting unacceptable behavior, and taking care of myself were all tools I learned in Al-Anon. As I became healthier, our family situation became better. My spouse found recovery and I still attend Al-Anon. I use these tools to be the best person I can be and that makes my life balanced and full.
A son: My mother married her second alcoholic when I was five. He became my dad. Over the next 59 years he never quit drinking, and like many men in South St. Louis thought beer was a food group. A tough taskmaster, my dad criticized everything anyone did including me, his stepson. I thought that was the way life was.
After marrying and divorcing two alcoholic women, I found myself the father of two daughters who had drug and alcohol problems and dysfunctional households of their own. Although I was a successful workaholic businessman, my personal relationships lasted for only a few years each. At the age of 49, I fell in love with a woman 18 years my junior with two young boys. Thinking I must be crazy to put myself into that situation, I decided to get professional help and we were directed to Al-Anon, which became the glue that held us together. And I became a better step parent than I had been as a parent.
During this journey, I made a promise to be happy instead of right and realized it didn't cost a dime to be wrong. Living the 12 steps, traditions and principles of Al-Anon have become a way of life for me. I keep "coming back" to meetings to combat the compulsive behaviors I learned early in life and try to live one day at a time (sometimes one moment at a time). It became a habit not to make decisions when I was hungry, angry or tired (HALT). My relationship with my Higher Power has grown over the years and serenity is part of my life because of the Al-Anon Fellowship.
A parent: Al-Anon has been a blessing in our lives. Our son, battling a pain medication dependency decided to enter a rehab program and we had no understanding of the challenges he faced or what we would do if he relapsed. We were anxious and frightened. Al-Anon gave us the tools to listen to him and help ourselves. In the meetings we were surrounded by people who understood and sympathized with what we were going through. We learned we can only control our own reactions, not anyone else's behavior. We also were able to call on individuals, confidentially, when we needed to talk or just feel supported.
What is shared in an Al-Anon meeting is confidential and you will find understanding, support and hope.