Reality Check: My First Al-Anon Meeting

by Dick on January 27, 2012 · 9 comments

in 12 Steps, Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Alcoholism, Recovery

Alcoholism is a family disease.

I had dinner with my dad the other night, and he was going to take me to an AA meeting after. Over dinner, we were talking about Al-Anon and how it has really helped him. I’ve been wanting to go to an Al-Anon meeting for awhile now, so I suggested going to his Al-Anon instead of the AA meeting.

Boy, am I glad I did. One of my biggest criticisms of the AA program is that there is not nearly enough focus on the effect the alcoholic has on the family and love ones. Sure, there’s Steps 8 and 9 and making amends, but from my experience a lot of alcoholics don’t do the steps or avoid making amends and those who do may fail to truly emotionally connect and feel the damage caused to family members.

The first thing I immediately saw at the Al-Anon meeting was how tired and beaten down a lot of people seemed. It’s the same for some AA meetings as well. Alcohol really does a number on everyone.

I was most impacted by two couples, both parents of early twenty something year olds, who’s sons were rapidly deteriorating into alcoholic hell. One dad described the fear he had of his own cellphone, because he never knew if it was going to be bad news on the other end. He said he hated his phone. A mother teared up describing how powerless she was over her son sneaking off and drinking in his room, that she couldn’t do anything to help him or save him.

It brought home (literally) the feeling I’m sure my wife and parents had on those dreadful nights when I called with bad news, and how powerless they must have felt (as I do) over this disease.

I think the powerlessness piece is even worse with family members, because they are powerless over both the alcoholic and alcoholism itself — a double layer of powerlessness.

I shared for a minute or two, just thanking the group for allowing me to be there as an alcoholic in recovery, helping me with my own recovery, and offering some hope, from my experience and others in “the other program” as the Al-Anons say, that this too shall pass.

After the meeting, my dad and I spoke to one of the couples and offered whatever encouragement we could muster. It was their first meeting, and they seemed relieved and hopeful that help was there and maybe things would be better.

All in all, it was a great experience and I highly recommend it to any alcoholic in recovery.

P.S. I got my 30 day coin! Third time is a charm, but you have to start somewhere!

One day at a time…


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  • Pam T

    It really is amazing how Al-Anon is the “best kept secret” in the field of alcoholism/addiction.  Having grown up in an alcoholic home and having been in and around AA for many years, it wasn’t until my sober husband went back out that I turned to Al-Anon as a last-ditch effort to find out how to “fix” him. It was only then that I realized how completely encompassing this disease is on the family. Now, as a “doublewinner” who attends BOTH programs, my passion is to reach out to the families.  I also blog about my experience, strength and hope; keep up the good work “one day at a time”.  And congratulations on your recent award as “Sober Blog of the Month!

    • Dick

      Pam, that’s great! Please post a link to your blog and I will put it in my blogroll!

      One day at a time…


  • Counselochick
    • Dick

      Well, if it isn’t the infamous Laura Tompkins, the most dangerous addiction counselor in the US! Welcome!

      • Counselorchick

        Wow. I am far more famous than infamous, but thanks. Your ad hominem attempts to discredit the truth only expose your extremely brainwashed brain. Your beloved cult religion exposed is coming soon to a theatre near you. Very soon. Enjoy the lies while you still can.

        • DAM123

          I strongly suggest that anyone considering going to this woman for treatment first read her posts at for a true representation of her personality. Draw your own conclusions.

          • Counselorchick

            I strongly suggest that too … Get some real help rather than 12 step cult religion mind control help. Thank you for spreading the word! My fans far outnumber my stalkers. Boy, you are working hard to help spread the truth that the 12 steps is a mind control cult religion. Thank you!

          • DAM123

            Again, I am not affiliated with any 12 step program, not have I ever been to an AA meeting. I was referring to your emotional outbursts and penchant for name calling as teaching device. I am confident that anyone reading your posts before choosing you as a counselor will be appreciative of my suggestion.

      • Counselorchick

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