Just like the AA meeting, I felt very uncomfortable with attending an Al-Anon meeting. I have been fortunate enough where no one close to me has ever been addicted to alcohol. I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to relate to the members of this meeting. I was very nervous walking in the meeting and I felt out of place. One thing that brought me relief was the smiling faces and happy conversation I encountered as I entered the room. These people looked like they were trying to make the best out of the situation that their loved ones put them in.
There was a lot of chatter in the room. People were talking about their past week and common ground between each other. The atmosphere of the room wasn’t as gloomy as when I attended the AA meeting. The people who were chatting the most looked like they might attend the Al-anon meetings regularly. The room I walked in looked like a lunch room with chairs and tables set up. The meeting started with a Serenity Prayer, which was similar to how my AA meeting started. Once again, like my AA meeting, it was explained to everyone that this was an Open meeting and no one was required to talk.
The story that stood out the most to me was the story that came from the man in the blue jacket. This man looked to be about 26 years old. He told the story about how his father is an alcoholic and how he has been spending extra time with him during his free time to try and keep his father’s mind off of alcohol. He said he would do anything to help his father beat this addiction. I can relate to this story because I to have a family member who’s addiction consume her life. Just like the man in the blue jacket, I to would do anything to help my family member beat this addiction.
No one really reacted to his story accept for the leader of the meeting. The leader said some words to the man. There was another member of the group who began talking about her struggles in relation to the man in the blue jacket’s story. All of the people attending this meeting are there because someone they love needs help fighting an addiction. From the stories I heard, these addictions are affecting everyone’s daily life, not just the person addicted. From my own personal experience with addiction, I am always worried about my family member.
My family member has a gambling addiction, so she must never be able to have cash. This is a daily struggle for me because I take care of all her finances, so she does not have any temptation. The people in this meeting were trying to help their loved ones in the same way, by trying to limit the temptation of drinking alcohol or doing drugs. I think the biggest difference with the Al-anon meeting versus the AA meeting is that the people attending the Al-anon meeting were all there voluntarily.
When I attended the AA meeting you could definitely tell that there was some court ordered participants. Everyone at the Al-anon meeting was more than willing to share their struggles and triumphs with everyone in the room, where as in the AA meeting only one or two people shared their stories. Overall, It think these meetings are a great source for people dealing with addiction, for everyone needs to be able to share their experiences to be able to lift them off their shoulders.