Monday, June 24, 2013

Alanon in the psych....

Today was our first Alanon meeting in the pysch facility. There were 3 residents and 2 staff members and 3 Alanon members. The meeting was very loosely based on the usual format....we started with some of the usual readings, but it quickly became apparent that it was too much information. Eyes glazing over, wiggling in their seats is a good indication of tmi.

We decided that we would open with the Serenity Prayer, read the newcomers welcome, the 12 steps, share our stories of what brought us to Alanon, read from a daily reader, pick a topic and have a time of discussion. Today we talked about slogans and everyone got to pick one from a list that was meaningful to them, we left lots of reading materials and schedules, and we were done.

Keep it simple. I have been taught that we stick to the format *at all costs,* no cross talk, do it this way and that way....and I have to admit, I had a minute of panic at the thought this wasn't "right." But the "right" way was really too much for this situation.  I had to fight off the feeling that we were going to be in trouble! lol I calmed myself down by remembering that there were two other Alanon members there and we were working together.  It wasn't my job solely to keep things on track. We will figure it out. We are merely introducing them to the Alanon program.

I am happy to be there. We need a third person and my sponsor just said she would join us. I am so happy. I love my sponsor and this is near and dear to her heart like it is to mine for similar reasons.

I am off to my new job tonight. I was there last night and I came home in the morning. It was wonderful! I am working through all of my crazy feelings of obligation and loyalty to my little old folks. I am trying to look at the bigger picture of what is best for myself and my family. As of right now, its still uncomfortable, but coming home this morning and not dashing off to another job in the morning, felt really really good. Maybe I will get used to feeling good and I will learn to not operate only from a place of guilt and what I *should* do....but from a place of what works for me and mine. I feel selfish even typing that.

I asked my girl if it would be helpful to have me home during the day more and her answer, "Whether it would be helpful or not, it would be really nice."

Ok All.....bless us all.


Dawn said...

What you speak of about your meeting is exactly what pushed me
away from meetings. I felt it was pretty cut and dried - this is how it's done, follow/believe in the steps or be gone - we can't help you. I so wanted to find one that I could belong to but, after 3 different tries I gave up. I know, I know.....I need to try again. I do also hear there is a meeting for everyone, you just need to find the right one.

Annette said...

Dawn, thanks for commenting. You just created a whole new blog post in my head for me. I get what you are saying....and I struggled with similar issues when I first got there. I do hope you try again at a different meeting...but I think my next post will be about my initial reactions to Alanon and the structure.

Grace-WorkinProgress said...

I helped lead a meeting at recovery house for about a year. It was stressful because the families were required to be there in order to see their loved ones in treatment.

I think it says somewhere each meeting is autonomous and that the stated openings etc are suggested.

We skipped everything but the steps. We had new people every month and they had a lot of questions and sometimes we felt like a target for their frustations.

It was a good experience but exhausting dealing with just new comers.

Just remember that you aren't responsible for what each person gets out of the meeting.

It helped us to have a silent meditation in the car together before going in, it really helped.

Annette said...

Grace, Thank you!! What a great encouragement this comment was and the idea of a meditation before we go in....yes! This meeting is not mandatory, which was something I specifically asked about. I felt very strongly that it needed to be a choice to come or not. One resident chose to stay in his bed while we were there and that was ok. Another resident didn't want to sit with the group, but he stood on the outer edge and listened. I told him I was glad he had stayed for the meeting when I left. I do feel that the structure in certain environments has to be flexible enough to accommodate the different needs of who the meeting is for. A recovery house, a psychiatric hospital, a jail....not your average meetings.

Hattie Heaton said...

Annette when we take a meeting to the jail some groups seem to totally understand and appreciate it and others like our last group have trouble understanding how it will help them. One young lady even was angry about that her mother went to AlAnon she felt like she only went there to talk about her. It wasn't until our very last meeting until she started to get it. I loved your daughters response!

Mary Christine said...

I'm one of the format sticklers. Not all the reading, which I think in some groups is insanely excessive. But that one person talks at a time and everyone listens. And do not talk again unless everyone has shared, etc. I know that would not work in a psychiatric hospital though.

God bless you for doing this.

Signe said...

I love your daughter's answer. Just that it would be nice is probably more help than she realizes. Also, I think being flexible is the key. Know the plan, but be prepared to readjust it to the needs of the group(but I understand the initial stress about 'we need to stick to the plan when things are going south' you made me laugh). I'm glad you're happy about how work is going. Balance is key.