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The days are getting longer here in Winnipeg and yet I have been feeling kind of depressed. I was sitting at the bus on the way home and I was getting misty eyed again. It’s not a new feeling. How many times have I sat at the bus and tears would just roll down my cheeks. I don’t even know if people have noticed.

The man and I have talked about changes, but it seems to me that nothing’s changed that much. I should really write about what happened two months ago so that you can make sense of all of this blabbing. It’s just that I always feel so tired, working up to ten hours a day. That, and the kids are always on the computers. And we have two now.

I haven’t gone to an Al-Anon meeting yet. I already want to. But it is just so frigging cold out there – down to minus 40 windchill at times. And I don’t want to freeze my butt out there waiting for the bus. I have to take two buses to get there and also two to get home. And since the meeting’s at night and the buses don’t run that often, I might have to wait for up to half an hour or longer for my connecting bus. I just need to talk to someone who can relate. I don’t even know how I’d react to these meetings. Would it help me feel better about myself? Or would it just make me feel more depressed hearing stories that are similar to mine?

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.