I'm back to "cranky and morose" today. It won't last, because I won't let it last, but my brain is sort of saying (in the words of another blogger I really admire) "Wait. What?"
I went to my first Alanon meeting last night. (Disclaimer: I went to one single meeting about five years ago that I thought was great, but then I never got back to it because my addict bounced back in the door and I permitted myself to get distracted, hopeful, helpful, guarded, and otherwise occupied.... by the time I got another chance, that particular meeting was no longer there. My bad, entirely.)
This meeting was for parents of alcoholics.... and since she is an alcoholic/addict, and alcohol is a drug.... and she starts with alcohol and jumps to heroin.... I figured it was a good one for me to try. Figured I'd slink in, listen, learn, and slink out.... I have never been good at being the new kid, not in school, not now.... but I was willing to try. Figured I'd work my way into feeling comfy, perhaps get a few phone numbers, and maybe become a regular if it was a good fit.
It was a bit overwhelming. I've never sat in one place with 50 other grieving parents. The largest group we had in family therapy at the hospital was about 20-25, and some of these were boyfriends, girlfriends, platonic friends, coworkers, sisters, brothers.... not all that many parents. At one point, however, this meeting became a room full of aching hearts. The grief was palpable.
The meeting started positively enough, though, with the familiar readings and format I am used to from NA meetings. Lots of people shared, in the middle of the meeting. Then it took me by surprise when they asked each of us who had identified as newbies, to share. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I went from snuggled in my hoodie, sipping my hot tea and enjoying the meeting and the positive shares, the challenging shares, the encouraging shares.....
to feeling like I was having some of my
When my turn came, the leader turned to me expectantly and said my name. It was comical, I gaped like a fish. It took me three tries to find my voice. I held it together long enough to say something along the line of:
"I'm not sure I can do this this week, but I'll try. My daughter is a 26-year-old bipolar, alcoholic/addict, whose most recent relapse to her drugs of choice, alcohol and heroin, have landed her in jail yet again. Our family has been dealing with this for eight years. Her rehab counselor is a man named Milton, whom I positively adore and trust implicitly. He said I needed to come here. My daughter, even when she is loaded, concedes that "Milton has never been wrong, Mom." Therefore, I am here."
I didn't take up anywhere NEAR the three minutes they alloted before the timer would sound and announce my final 60 seconds to wind down. I was done.
(insert usual end-of-share clapping here)
At that point, I commenced with the dreaded silent cry.... wherein my eyes leaked from then until looooooooooooong after I got home. And I went from feeling okay, to feeling angry for being cornered into speaking unexpectedly, and extremely sad. (In retrospect maybe I could have said "no, I don't want to", but my frigging "polite Southern Ladylike behavior training" kicked in. Thanks, Mom!)
And today, I'm a basket case. I was fine until I went to the meeting and now I'm sad, mad, and I have a back ache and I just found out my little trainwreck is unexpectedly going back into court tomorrow on her third case (which she had thought had been dropped). It could result in more jail time (60 days). And really, that's fine. I kinda hope she gets another 60 days. She needs the clean time. I, selfishly, am not entirely ready for the spinning to start again. I feel guilty for hoping she gets it.
(My DH likens her life as a spinning tornado. We love our tornado. We ache over our tornado. We treasure and enjoy every good time we are blessed to have with our tornado. But even sober, she is a
And yes, I realize Alanon or Naranon could help me not get caught up in the spinning. And I will go back next week to another meeting. I was listening, and I heard the admonishment to attend six meetings before deciding if this is a good meeting for me.
I can take direction, I really can. But I sure hated being put on the spot like that. And I'm not entirely sure that being shy, and wanting to open up in a strange group in my own good time, is a character flaw.
*pout!* I'm off to take a rest and see if I can get my back to cooperate with me. This 'getting older' nonsense is not for sissies!
P.S. There were some really nice folks at the meeting, and I was welcomed afterwards with hugs and given kleenexes and a newcomer packet and a phone list and a homemade brownie and...and...it's obviously going to be hard to stay mad at them! Deeeeeeep cleansing breath! I am going to try to go back next week!