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I checked the Al-Anon website and found a listing of the meetings here in Winnipeg. There is one not too far from my place and they meet every Monday nights. I already checked out this website before when a blogger mom emailed me and expressed her concerns when I wrote about my father’s alcoholism in my other blog. Her husband is a recovering alcoholic and she was told that children who had alcoholic fathers marry men like their dads. Her children are often made aware of this and are under therapy because of the years that they lived in alcoholism. At that time, I was already aware of how sometimes children marry men like their dads. Thanks to years of watching Dr. Phil. 🙂

I just wish that support groups were available when I was still a kid growing up in the Philippines. And that I was given a heads up and I probably wouldn’t have ended up marrying a man like my father and it would have probably spared me a lot of heartaches and stress. But then again, if I had not married him, then I wouldn’t have these three wonderful children who are the joy and love of my life. And I’m not saying that the man is an alcoholic. It’s not that he was dependent on alcohol. Although he did drink a lot and it bothered me. And it caused a rift and a lot of problems in our relationship. But he has changed a lot over the past few years. He has cut back a lot on his drinking.

So this time, I was really intent on going to the meeting even though I have to leave the two younger boys at home because my 18-year old usually goes out on Monday nights with his friends and they go to this little Italian restaurant where they get to play jazz music. I even called the number they had in the website to confirm the time and place. I already told the kids that I have to attend a meeting and that I would be home late. But something came up. Excuses, excuses, eh?

It’s just that my middle guy has a basketball game the following day and we still have to figure out how we will make it to his game because it starts at 4:00 pm which means that I have to leave work earlier than usual and we would have to end up meeting at the bus stop where we can catch the bus that will bring us to the school where they are playing. My oldest one also has a performance the following night and we still have to talk about how we were going to go to the venue and what bus route we have to take. So now you get an idea of how crazy my schedule can get.

Well, anyway, we did make it to my middle guy’s basketball game. Although we were late by a few minutes. And my oldest son didn’t think that I should watch his performance because he said that his group is not that prepared and they were performing in this sort of night club thingy and that he has other upcoming performances that I can watch anyway.

So where is this post going?

I just want to share some of the points that I have read from the Al-Anon website. To inform people and if there is anyone out there who’s also interested in attending a meeting.

This is what’s written on the welcome page of the website:

For over 50 years, Al-Anon (which includes Alateen for younger members) has been offering hope and help to families and friends of alcoholics. It is estimated that each alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people… alcoholism is truly a family disease. No matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all who have been affected by someone else’s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship.”

Is it for you? – 20 questions for friends and relatives of problem drinkers:

1. Do you worry about how much someone drinks?
2. Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
3. Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking?
4. Do you feel that if the drinker loved you, he or she would stop drinking to please you?
5. Do you blame the drinker’s behavior on his or her companions?
6. Are plans frequently upset or canceled or meals delayed because of the drinker?
7. Do you make threats, such as “If you don’t stop drinking, I’ll leave you”?
8. Do you secretly try to smell the drinker’s breath?
9. Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout?
10. Have you been hurt or embarrassed by a drinker’s behavior?
11. Are holidays and gatherings spoiled because of drinking?
12. Have you considered calling the police for help in fear of abuse?
13. Do you search for hidden alcohol?
14. Do you often ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking?
15. Have you refused social invitations out of fear or anxiety?
16 Do you sometimes feel like a failure when you think of the lengths you have gone to control the drinker?
17. Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?
18. Do you ever threaten to hurt yourself to scare the drinker?
19. Do you feel angry, confused, or depressed most of the time?
20. Do you feel there is no one who understands your problems?

Did You Grow Up With a Problem Drinker? – 20 questions for adult children of alcoholics.

Answer these questions to see if you are still affected today.

1. Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation?
2. Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments?
3. Do you fear criticism?
4. Do you overextend yourself?
5. Have you had problems with your own compulsive behavior?
6. Do you have a need for perfection?
7. Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?
8. Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
9. Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the problem drinker in your life?
10. Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself?
11. Do you isolate yourself from other people?
12. Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people?
13. Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you?
14. Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?
15. Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker?
16. Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to be compulsive and abusive?
17. Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone?
18. Do you mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others?
19. Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions?
20. Do you think parental drinking may have affected you?

If you answered “yes” to some or all of the above questions, Al-Anon may help.

I have highlighted the numbers of the questions that I answered yes to.

This was the opening song at mass this morning. I always get goosebumps when I hear this song and when we sing it at church, I always get misty-eyed and even get choked up at those times when I feel that I’m lost.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me –
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T’was Grace that taught –
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear –
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares –
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far –
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me –
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be –
as long as life endures.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years –
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise –
then when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me –
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

I’ve made a decision. I’m blogging here for the meantime. I’ve tried to write something in my other blog but either I just go blank or I delete most of what I have written. It’s like I’m censoring my own thoughts.

I think I spoke too soon. My post Changes sounded so positive and hopeful. I know it’s only been a few weeks since the man and I have made amends. But why do I feel kind of depressed again?

I was watching the movie The Good Girl last night. I’ve seen this movie before, but I had the urge to watch it again last night. I guess, to have something to write about and to explain what I have gone through.

At the beginning of the movie, Justine, the main character played by Jennifer Aniston was narrating:

As a girl you see the world as a giant candy store filled with sweet candy and such. But one day you look around and you see a prison and you’re on death row. You wanna run or scream or cry but something’s locking you up. Are the other folks cows chewing cud until the hour comes when their heads roll? Or are they just keeping quiet like you, planning their escape.”

For a period of time, I also felt like I was in a prison. There were times when I wanted to scream and run, but something’s holding me back – namely my three children. I came from a broken home and I know how hard it is and I didn’t want them to experience what I have gone through.

But then, I can relate so much to Justine’s character. She is so unhappy in her marriage. Her husband frustrates and annoys her. Although, there is more excitement going on in my life than Justine’s home-work-home life, I find my relationship so boring.

Later on in the movie, Justine said:

After living in the dark for so long, a glimpse of the light can make you giddy. Strange thoughts come into your head and you better think’em. Has a special fate been calling you and you not listening? Is there a secret message right in front of you and you’re not reading it? Is this your last, best chance? Are you gonna take it? Or are you going to the grave with unlived lives in your veins?”

All these changes of going back to work at the office and getting out of the house, I also saw a glimpse of light and it sure did make me giddy. I had my chance to escape. It made me excited. But then again I was held back. Why didn’t I take that chance? Was it because I felt guilty, like I was being selfish? Was it my last best chance though? I look back now and think, did I really make the right decision? Or did I just make that decision to make everybody happy? Why doesn’t it feel right for me?