Are you carrying a load that’s too heavy to bear? It’s time to put it down. Alcohol abuse impacts entire families, including children, but there is hope. I want to share this review of a client’s experiences at Al-Anon with you, because it’s been a lifeline for her in a sea of emotional turbulence.
What is Al-Anon?
Al-Anon is “a remarkable fellowship of courageous men and women who have experienced the sometimes subtle, but nonetheless devastating effects of another’s alcoholism…(it) helps families of alcoholics to overcome even the most negative aspects of their lives and, in turn, extend hope and help to others” (from the Preface of How Al-Anon Works, by Al-Anon Family Groups, 1995).
Al-Anon is a network of support groups, which is the lesser-known counterpart to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It is widely available and runs free of charge (My client donates $2 to $5 a meeting). Meetings are chaired by volunteers in venues like schools and church halls. Please note that this post represents my client’s personal views, as told to me. They are not associated with Al-Anon Family Groups.
The day my client realised she was drowning, not waving
Many highly sensitive people felt the global energy surges in December 2018 – January 2019***. In my client’s case, after weeks of anxiety, she had a panic attack at the beach on 13 January while her husband was swimming. For a few excruciating minutes, she could not talk or move. Normally, this would be difficult but in her case, it was terrifying. Why? Because her children were out of arm’s reach, playing with buckets in the sand. Note from Sarah: As someone who’s had a water-birth and witnessed the 2004 tsunami, I know too well the power of water to bring life and death.
There she was, paralysed with fear, as people walked by, with no idea of what was going on. She had to use all her willpower to command herself to breathe. At the same time, she felt a surprising calm between the waves of terror – as if her children and Soul were vibing, ‘everything is okay’.
When her husband returned, she asked, ‘were you in trouble?’. Sure enough, he’d been caught in a rip (strong current) at the time she was stressing out. That night, she thought of Mia Freedman (a 20/2 Peacemaker lifepath), who she’d seen in Brisbane. She also has anxiety and had a similar episode at the beach, which she writes about in Work Strife Balance.
The next morning, my client went to her first Al-Anon meeting, which she had been planning for a while. Was the panic linked to that? Maybe. Or maybe, it was the push she needed to get out of emotional jail.
(***Note from Sarah: I have read for another client who had a panic attack in January, which also led her to seek help. Thank you S. for inspiring this post, and for your feedback: “What courage your client has to not only write this but to be so open and honest about it. I too am ready to take my courage up a notch, to break the glass ceiling and reclaim my power of which I know is far more than I can even imagine right now. I will ring your AA friend.” )
Why my client calls Al-Anon, Angels-Anon
As someone who works with energy, my client often feels wings growing out of her back and senses Angels in the room (human and invisible) once people start opening up in an Al-Anon meeting. It reminds her of the Bible quote,“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
The way she felt going to Al-Anon, was the way she felt seeing a doctor for a previous mental illness…guilty, embarrassed and resistant to getting help. At the same time, she knew she had to do something, as she wasn’t coping with the effects of other people’s drinking any longer.
That first day, she arrived late and practically crawled around the wall to avoid being seen. One of the members helped her to a seat. The meeting involved sharing on a topic, with members reading from books then briefly talking about their lives. My client almost fell over when she was handed this page to read:
“When we talk of tomorrow,” says a Chinese proverb, “the gods laugh.” They laugh, I believe, not because they find us ridiculous, but because they know that the future is not predictable. Thus we have no choice but to live one day at a time. I can make plans, but I cannot determine the results. No amount of scheming about next week can control what will happen then. Circumstances will be different, and I myself will be different as well.
I can further compress the focus of this slogan to address one hour at a time, or even one minute at a time. In such small increments, life begins to feel not only bearable but precious. At any given moment, no matter what is going on, if I concentrate on being right here, right now, I know that I am fine.” (p138 reading for May 17 in Courage to Change by Al-Anon Family Groups, 1992).
(As my client is an Asian life coach, the synchronicity was laugh-out-out perfect.) Each meeting since then, she’s always found that the reading she’s given or chooses, reflects what she needs to hear. Another day, she was given the reading for November 11 (yes, 11:11 – the Angel and Starseed Number).
There’s something about the space created at Al-Anon that works for my client. She says that it’s because the 12 traditions and steps are so structured, plus the people who attend come without much ego left. That said, she prefer some groups over others, as people have different needs. For example, her home group is has quite a few older, long-time members, who have taught her about walking the path of marriage, parenting, ill health and so on.
What my client likes about Al-Anon
-It’s anonymous (my client is publishing through me to protect her identity)
-It’s affordable (She also goes to a counsellor, but this costs more and has different benefits)
-The members of Al-Anon are ready for a shift and have something in common
-The literature is affordable and very powerful/ comprehensive
-It’s not a pity party – the literature readings and group setup minimise victim mentality
-There is no advice giving, just listening. You don’t have to share unless you want to
-It’s ok to cry (sometimes, that’s all she does). No one will blink an eye, they’ll just pass the tissues
-It’s ok to sit with your eyes closed if it’s too much
-You only socialise (after the meeting) if you want to
-The meetings run on time and are held around Australia, day and night – find your local meeting
-You can find meetings in many countries or start one yourself
-She feels more peaceful afterwards (it’s like yoga for the heart – she feels more emotionally flexible and never regret going)
-Her kids and partner seem more settled when she goes regularly
What my client finds confronting about Al-Anon
-She dislikes the references to ‘he’ when it comes to a God or Higher Power. That said, my client works with the Soul/ Higher Self in her career and was raised Christian, so she understands where Al-Anon is coming from. It was founded by Lois Wilson and Anne B. in 1951, almost 70 years ago. Still, part of her wishes the language would be updated. The group she goes to does not bring Christian ideology into their meetings, thank Go(o)d… it was hard enough for her to walk through the doors of a church again. In this post about Al-Anon and atheism, the author has a different experience to my client’s with a U.S. Al-Anon group, unfortunately.
-My client tends to be late (also one of my traits – see this blog on punctuality), and struggles with often being the last one to arrive
-For the first few meetings, my client was too emotional to say much. It took a while to relax and realise how nice people were.
-Sometimes my client finds it hard to attend meetings with her children, as they are still quite young. While there are often helpful people there, she sometimes feels bad for the interruptions.
-It’s a lifelong program – my client’s ego would love a quick fix. They say that once you go to Al-Anon six times, you tend to keep coming back.
-You’re able to find a sponsor/ mentor for accountability – My client is just at that stage and feels a bit nervous.
What my client has learned by going to Al-Anon
-That it’s as hard to give up criticising people as it is to give up drinking. Until she breaks the ‘whine’ glass ceiling (her terminology) and stops giving away her serenity like a salt shaker when someone drinks, she’ll never be at peace. She needs to be the director of her life instead of the hero, victim or baddie. Attitude is everything.
-That when she’s being an over-thinker/ codependent/ workaholic, she attracts over-drinkers. It’s important for her to express my feelings somewhere contained like Al-Anon, otherwise she loses herself in worry. See this post on the Girdle of Venus in palmistry (a secondary Heart Line/ extra empathy, which my client has)
-That she’s done with judging herself – her body has produced beautiful human beings and gotten her through many decades of living. So it’s officially her greatest ally.
-That she neglects self-care because she comes from generations of trauma, dislocation (migrants), overwork and addiction, where survival has been the only goal. It’s going to take a team to turn that around. Since attending Al-Anon, my client has begun singing, going to the gym, learning to swim and dealt with her asthma – see a related post on the throat chakra.)
-That she feels like a fish out of water and it’s time to move house (something she’s wanted to do for a long time).
Since my client has attended Al-Anon, life has regained its colour. She used to avoid functions with alcohol like the plague, which was pretty limiting in a country like Australia. Now she can go to events where people are drinking and not get upset. Plus, she has (almost) stopped blaming certain people for hurting her due to their addictions in the past.
My client says “It’s obvious that I’m as addicted as an alcoholic, when it comes to wanting to be loved or feeling in control. Owning that has left me feeling so much younger and energised, since I stopped acting like the sky would fall down if I made a mistake in public.
Alcoholism-related issues have cost me thousands of dollars and years of sanity this lifetime. I’ve stayed in abusive relationships, sabotaged countless financial opportunities and avoided true intimacy, in order to avoid losing ‘face’ and the illusion of security. No more. The true me is busting out!!”
While it’s true that Al-Anon is just part of what’s healing my client’s life force, I am so grateful that she’s shared her story with me. Just writing it up made me feel good about what people are capable of when they get together with a positive intention.
Alcoholism is a family disease and it takes a spiritual family to heal it. If you grew up in a home where it was not safe to be yourself, it’s time to be powerful and create a new tribe. 2019 is a Universal 12/3 Year of Inner Child Healing and Creative Breakthroughs. A chance for us to find our happy endings, with or without a Prince Charming or Fairy Godmother. As the writer Christian Morgenstern said, ‘Home is not where you live but where they understand you.’
He was a 28/10/1 Pioneer lifepath – I often find that 1 lifepaths or people with strong 1’s in numerology (I am an 11 lifepath) are prone to addictions. They have come here to disrupt family patterns and heal their Root (1st) chakra.
Thank you to my client who shared her story so openly and to all those who keep Al-Anon going. Also to you, the reader for your time – I hope you’ll find some light from this post today. An AA member wrote this when she saw the draft post, ‘This is a wonderfully down to earth review of Al-Anon. As always, the writing is articulate, courageous and personal. This piece feels really grounded. I expect it will help people very much and you will probably never know who.”
A copy of this blog post has been sent to the Al-Anon Family Groups office in Australia for reference.
Links and References
Al-Anon Family Groups
Al-Anon/ Alateen – Wikipedia entry (Alateen is for younger/ teenage members)
Empaths and Addiction – Dr. Judith Orloff is a 29/11 Spiritual Messenger lifepath Find your lifepath
Social Processes Explaining the Benefits of Al-Anon Participation
Let Go and Let God – Al-Anon Slogan
Al-Anon for the Atheist…doesn’t exist
Why we really do drugs – Jost Sauer has a radical take on addictions that’s different to Al-Anon (he is a 29/11 lifepath too)
Alcoholism – A Metaphysical Guide to Healing Here is an extract from this original post:
As a psychic reader, I always seek the deeper meaning to any issue. Let’s break down alcoholism using Pythagorean numerology.
ALCOHOL = 1+3+3+6+8+6+3 = 30/3 vibration.
HAPPY = 8+1+7+7+7 = 30/3
PASSION = 7+1+1+1+9+6+5 = 30/3
LIVER = 3+9+4+5+9 = 30/3
The words FAMILY and AUSTRALIA (!) also add to 30/3.
ALCOHOLISM = (30)+9 +1+ 4 = 44/8, the same vibration as FOREVER, ETERNITY, HAPPINESS, COMMITMENT, MEDICINE and COUNSELLOR. Until we commit to spiritual happiness, we’ll keep falling for material crappiness (!)
Alcohol abuse is a solar plexus and liver issue – it comes from not following our passion. It tends to run in families and is predominant in Australia – maybe because many convicts were sent here and their only escape from their hellish lives was drinking. Due to its 44 vibration, alcoholism strongly impacts the heart (the 4th chakra) and locks us into karmic patterns (the 8th chakra), but it can be overcome when we find alternative medicine for our hurts. Connecting to our eternal/ Higher Self and learning to seek counsel when needed is the way out of this mentally created maze!
5 Spiritual Causes of a Stiff Neck – Healing the Throat Chakra ‘bottle neck’ has a dual meaning
Thoughts on Asperger’s, Anorexia and Psychic Ability – Part 1 of 2
Losing Track of Father Time – A Spiritual Look at Running Late and Punctuality
Detox Relationships and Angel Meditations