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whatswrongwme
04-10-2005, 05:40 PM
This is the first time I have ever spoken about this to anyone and I am so scared to even write this. I believe my husband is a cocaine addict. I don't understand this. I believe it began after our daughter was born two years ago. He seemed so happy, but I suppose he was not. I believe it has gotten to the point where he does it by himself after I've gone to sleep. He stays up all night. I have become so resentful toward him because all I hear from him is how tired he is and that he needs to sleep. He spends no time with my daughter and I. She was sitting on my bed with me one day and she was picking up the covers saying "Daddy? Daddy?" It broke my heart and I was hysterical. Every time I confront him about his he says I am crazy and it's not the case. He is so selfish. He starts fights with me, yells and screams and is such a miserable person to be around at times that I am happy when he goes out, even though I suspect he is doing cocaine. I have seen it hidden in my house before and all I can think about is what kind of person does this make me?
I have confronted him so many times, been understanding, etc. but he either finds a better hiding space or out and out denies it. I am pregnant again and on bedrest and I am so scared for the future. I want to find some Al-anon meetings, but I am embarassed as I live in a small town and I would have to find an excuse for someone to care for my daughter while I go. I just need someone to talk to. Thank you all for listening

ezmoney
04-10-2005, 06:26 PM
wwwm,
My names Chris, and I'm an alcoholic.(recovered)
First and foremosts........there's NOTHING wrong w/YOU!!!......alcoholics/addicts make those around them nutty&nueotic with their behavior.
2nd, lying, decieving and denial are all OUTSTANDING characteristics of addiction. An alcoholic/addict will go anywhere, do anything, lie to anyone, to get his next drink/fix/use!..........They will ruin lives (theirs/friends/families)
Jobs, relationships, you name it,......until they admit they are powerless over their addiction and their life has become unmanageable. They will try will power, cold turkey, tapering off, self help books, phyciatrists, and all other useless forms of endevor to keep from admiting they have a decease and it's beat them...........From what youv'e written, I can't GAUANTEE your husband's an addict, but it certainly has all the earmarks. I want to find some Al-anon meetings, but I am embarassed as I live in a small town and I would have to find an excuse for someone to care for my daughter while I go.
That doesn't matter for 2 reasons.......#1) No matter how small your town is I can ASSURE you there's plenty of addicts IN IT ALREADY!!!
#2) The key to an addicts recovery is HONESTY!!...........so just be honest.
It's TOTALLY NATURAL for you to feel resentful over this..........He's ruining a family, .....who'd feel happy about it???
Hit the al-anon meetings (better yet, tell him to go to a N.A meeting) you'll feel better.

whatswrongwme
04-10-2005, 06:35 PM
Thank you very much for your reply. I suppose I must stop trying to figure out the why's of it all. I just cannot understand why he would want to take himself out of our lives. I look at my daughter and cannot imagine ever doing anything that could possibly take myself out of her life. Yet what kind of mother am I if I continue to live with this person? I am driving myself crazy because I won't leave her alone with him or allow him to take her anywhere (which isn't a huge problem because he isn't that involved). I hide money from him because I am scared that he would steal. I don't want to be alone and I do love the person he WAS, but he won't entertain the notion of therapy because he doesn't think there is anything wrong with him. I just feel terribly alone and helpless. And yet I am so angry with him for putting us through this.


I am sorry if I sound like a whiny kid, I just feel so alone. I am so alone. All I do is cry and dispair. The pregnancy doesn't help, but I just wish I could have my old life back. I know life isn't easy, I have always been a strong, independant woman. Now I find myself fluttering around him, trying not to make him mad or upset. Trying to keep him at home or be supportive of him when he goes out. I praise endlessly for the smallest things, like helping me to take out the garbage, so I don't seem like a nag. When I am upset and tell him I need his help (usually in the mornings) he acts like I am a terrible person to be around. He says I always yell at him and I am never happy. I feel like I am loosing my mind. He usually falls asleep on the couch and he'll get up when I get up with our daughter, walk right by us into the bedroom and slams the door. He then sleeps until the afternoon. It hurts me to the bone, yet I always question myself, wondering if I am being too hard on him or if I should lighten up. Today I was so upset with his behavior I smoked a cigarette. He caught me and lost his mind. I felt so horrible. Yet I saw him using my screw up as an excuse for him to make me feel low. Again, sorry for the long posts. I just feel at the end of my rope.

ucistu
04-10-2005, 07:17 PM
I have found that anyone who stays up overnight and into the afternoon is for sure using some type of drug. Unless, of course they are working in an E.R. or have some other job, etc. Especially if this is some new recent behavior. Sounds like drug behavior to me. People who are addicted to something will for sure lie and deny at all costs. You have to understand that it's not you at all! He has basically married this drug and what a evil marriage addiction can be. In his mind the only next thing he can think about is getting high. It's a sad situation, for me I was addicted to Vicodin pills and no-one knew. That was until I told my family about my problem 8 days ago and they said, "that explains why you were so moody." At the time I thought I was completely normal and in control, but in reality everyone knew something was up.

Nonetheless, I remember I never got Addicted to anything until after college. Before I also never understood how someone can ruin their life, and do what addicts do. That was until I got addicted to the "feeling", my particular drug of choice gave me. Then I couldn't get off because it felt so good when I took it. My life around crumbling financially and with my health but I didn't care. I only cared about getting high.

Good luck to you and please keep continue to visit and post on the boards.

hannasnana
04-10-2005, 09:40 PM
Hi Whats wrong with me,
I'm sorry your going through such a terrible time especially during pregnancy. You need to get help for yourself. Don't let fear paralyise you. If you keep all these feelings and things bottled up inside your depression is going to get worse. Is there a hotline you can call anon.? Call the Alanon and just talk. I know you will find out you are not alone. GET HELP!!!

whatswrongwme
04-11-2005, 02:05 PM
Thank you for your kind words. I wasn't aware that Alanon had a hotline. I will look for that information. I don't know much about cocaine and the behavior it causes, but this moodiness is terrible! It's manic! One minute he's up and happy, the next he is screaming about the toys on the floor. I cannot predict with any degree of certainty what he will be like. I find one of the most frustrating things is when he blames me for everything. And God forbid if I make a mistake, he jumps on that and doesn't let up. It is so hard to keep quite and not scream: WELL YOU DO COCAINE YOU JERK! But I know that won't help. I am sure everyone has said this before but: I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THIS IS MY LIFE!

I have found that writing him letters when he has upset me helps me a little. It gets that tight ball of anger in my throat and stomach to loosen up a bit. I don't give them to him, he thinks I am a coward if I leave letters so he rips them up. He doesn't understand why I just cannot talk to him.

I am in no way perfect, nor would I want to be and I am sure there are plenty of legitimate things I do that would irritate people, but for God's sake, I just want a break. I want some peace.

sweetlife
04-11-2005, 03:36 PM
Hi whatswrongwme

I am sorry you have to go thru this. What makes you so sure he is doing cocaine? I am just curious. I know my DOC was Percocet (I am 10 weeks clean) but I thought it made me supermom, so I would take it at night..(in the beginning) and be up till 2 or 3am. Pills will keep you up too.
Can you sit him down when he is not up tight, talk to him, tell him what you are going thru, and ask him what's he doing? I wish you luck..It is very difficult with an addict if they are not ready to quit. I wish you luck. Keep us posted & come back here for support. That's why we are all here.

Huggs
DV

hannasnana
04-11-2005, 06:29 PM
Hi WWM, Do you have anyone you can go live with right now. Its clear your husband is not going to do something about his addiction. You haven't expressed that your husband is physically abusing you but you are going through emotional abuse. Do you have a battered womens shelter close. They have lots of information for situations like yours.

Things may not change until you show him your serious and move out. I know its easy for me to say I'm not in your place with your situation. Do you have any close friends that you could enlist for help?

(((((HUGS))))
Nana

whatswrongwme
04-11-2005, 07:23 PM
Thank you for your reply. My husband is verbally and emotionally abusive, but never in the 16 years that we have been married has he been physically abusive. I have not told anyone about his drug use, nor do I want to right now. Yes, I am protecting him from the gossip and I know it is wrong, but I am scared that people would turn against him. Can you say co-dependant :confused: The "friends" that I do have are pretty much all self-absorbed, shallow girls who love to gossip (I known, not very friendly) so I would never tell them what I was going through. A shelter I would never do as I do not want to risk losing my daughter-I am also pregnant and pretty much on bed rest for a few weeks so it is not feasible. It seems in my area if CPS ever gets involved in a case, you are done. Even though I, myself, have nothing to worry about, I don't want to take the risk of being "labeled".

I did see some Al-anon meetings in my area that I am very willing to attend, however, is Al-anon only for families of alcoholics, or any addict. I know NA has a similar group, however there are no meetings in my area. Just wondering.

hannasnana
04-11-2005, 08:10 PM
Hi WWME,
I am not sure about Alanon, alcohol or addicts. I don't think it matters, it produces the same kind of symtoms in families. I feel sorry for you WWME, so much fear and so many secrets. Reminds of me of my childhood with alcholic men in family and physical abuse. We never talked about it and my mom never got help.
I hope you find someone you can trust soon. Your worth it.
((((HUG))))
Nana

LuvMyLilDoggie
04-11-2005, 08:15 PM
Al-Anon is for family and friends of anyone who is addicted to anything.

Have you tried the al-anon website? alanon-alateen.org

As far as living in a small town, you'd be surprised how many of those people have similar problems.

I understand that you want to protect him but sometimes that enables them to keep doing what they're doing. Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing. Let the chips fall where they may. I have a friend who called the police on her husband because he was doing drugs in their house and she couldn't stand it anymore. She didn't want to but she felt that that was the only way he would have a chance to recover. He did some jail time and is now clean. They're back together and both are working programs. I'm not suggesting that you do this. But I am saying that you need to concentrate on yourself and your 2 year old and future baby. Btw, congratulations!

I do hope that you have help as you mentioned you're on bedrest.

Please keep in touch and go to those al-anon meetings. The people there are fantastic! And you don't have to worry about being judged. No one will tell you what to do.

There are shelters around who will help women in your situation and allow you to keep your kids with you. You have to search for them though as they take in domestic abuse cases. Their addresses are not in the phone book and the name isn't on the door. I volunteer to do al-anon meetings at one near my home. The last al-anon meeting we had there, we had six mothers and 27 children. The children have to stay with their mothers 24/7.

I hope you find some strength and hope here and in the al-anon meetings you want to attend.

Hugs, Barb

whatswrongwme
04-11-2005, 09:04 PM
Thank you all for your replies. You will never truely know how I feel just after I started posting here last night. I honestly feel as if I have people to talk with. It makes me feel empowered and that is the start of everything. I remember when I would ever listen to my friends talk about their dramatic lives, I would think: " boy am I glad that is not me". Now I wonder if my over-confidence and smugness, is biting me in the (well you know). I used to me such a strong, confident person. I hope to find that again. I have to.

I find it hard to keep myself from living in the past. Anyone else ever go through this? I gave up so many opportunities to stay with this man. Now, I am not saying that is his fault, it is mine, but it speaks to the power of co-dependency. I talked myself out of going to law school because he could not come with me. I talked myself out of an internship with the FBI because he wouldn't be with me. Again, I am blaming no one but myself for these decisions.

It is just interesting how some women are able to do the things they need to do for THEMSELVES first, and others, like me, think of their men or women first, and themselves last. The only substance I abuse are cigarettes, I don't even drink, however, I have noticed in my silent observations that feelings of dispair and victim like behavior can be addictive as well.

Oh well, I best go. Thank you all again. My heart doesn't feel nearly as heavy when I come to this board.

Sandyspen
04-12-2005, 07:41 AM
Oh my, your post brought tears to my eyes. I saw myself.......40 years ago.

Sometimes I think we see that tiny little "good" in someone and just can't give it up. Probably, that is our addiction.

I was young and naive, no drinkers or drug abusers in my family. So for years and years, I blamed my husband's sad childhood for his erratic behavior and outbursts of temper. "he never hit me," so I thought all the other stuff was just something you lived with.

My hubby was an alcoholic (sometimes meth abuser)and after 40 years and 4 children........he still is.

I left many times, especially when he was on Meth. That is totally intolerable behavior. But somehow, the drinking seemed like not-so-bad after all the violence of meth.

I can't tell you what my children have endured. And yes, I look back and feel guilty to the core for allowing it all!

And you know what the absolute sadest part is, and this sounds down-right mean but it irks me that after all these years, he has very little memory of any of it.

I was in therapy for 3 years and the therapist told me, "The addict was drugged through it all.....you and the children were cold sober."

In his 60's......he works and drinks...that's all. No meth, no insane violence. But........

There is also no personal relationships with me or his children. And, quite frankly, he just doesn't understand it. "He was such a good father!"

He recounts memories that never happened and changes the ones that aren't beneficial to him.

I feel like I'm blubbering here, but want you to think long and hard about your future. And, what it holds for you if he keeps using.

Take care of yourself! He won't do it!
Sandy

jessy28
04-12-2005, 07:47 AM
Sounds to me that he is using. You know you can come here to talk.

sweetlife
04-12-2005, 08:00 AM
Sandy...

Reading your post makes me think of the other side of the fence. Me the addict, never thought of my family & the things I must have put them thru while I was on the pills.

Thank you for the wake up call!
I am 10 weeks clean & your post will stay with me forever!

That was a lightbulb moment for me
DV

whatswrongwme
04-12-2005, 08:40 AM
Sandy,

YOUR post reminded me of me in 40 years! I, too, feel sorry for my husband for his horrible childhood. I, too, come from a family of no known abusers, just a big supportive family. A big supportive family that would be horrified if they knew what was going on!

I have gone to therapy on and off throughout the last half of my marriage, to figure out what was wrong with me. Why did I keep saying the wrong thing? Why can't I learn when to shut up so I won't make him mad? Why can't I just ignore the things he says to me and let everything go? Maybe if I just make dinner the right way and clean up really good after I make it, he will be happy. When I read your post, it scared the h**l out of me!

Do you stay with your husband because you feel sorry for him? Do you stay because of your children? Or do you stay because you don't want to be alone?

I was thinking today even before I read your posts how I simply do not understand how my husband can have no empathy for me and what he is putting us through. How, even during his sober moments, can he not feel even mildly badly for what he is doing to us? How can he still yell at me, or badger me about things, when he knows what he chooses to do? I don't think it is lack of memory about his behavoir, just lack of caring perhaps.

I was young (21)-I am 35 now- when I got married. I think I did it because I thought it would be "cool" and I went right from my parents house to our house. But back then things were different. He worked really hard, was proud of himself and what we had and we laughed all the time. I really want that person back.

I think one of the saddest things in the world is to be in a relationship with someone who can step over your body when you are lying on the floor sobbing uncontrollably without a second thought.

Sandyspen
04-12-2005, 08:59 AM
Maybe you didn't suspect, but if all this was happening.....

<<<<I have gone to therapy on and off throughout my marriage, even before I suspect he ever entertained the notion of drugs, to figure out what was wrong with me. Why did I keep saying the wrong thing? Why can't I learn when to shut up so I won't make him mad? Why can't I just ignore the things he says to me and let everything go? Maybe if I just make dinner the right way and clean up really good after I make it, he will be happy. >>>

I can tell you.......he was using!!!!!!

That's what they do to you, that's how they make you feel. Totally helpless and out of control. I always felt like a train barrelling down a track with no end, knowing that a collision was surely ahead but no way to stop it.

Like you, I would never tell my family. They would be apalled! Then isolation begins. You feel that you have no one to turn to.

In the beginning I had 4 kids, I was young, my self-esteem had been whittled away until I thought I couldn't do it on my own.

At 16 years of marriage, he went through re-hab. Oh, my good ness we had 6 months of pure bliss. Rebuilding relationships and growing closer everyday. He was so kind and considerate and empathetic and humble. I was astounded at how kind he was.

After 6 months, he began using again and for years I hung on to the hope that he would see us slipping away and want that "recovery time" back. It never happened.

At 25 years, I left and lived on my own for 3 years. A really good time for me. I was in therapy, growing emotionally, learning about all I'd done to my children. Making amends for some of that.

Then he called one day........homeless, jobless, all of his belongings in a cardboard box, sitting at a corner grocery.

Even after all the therapy, I couldn't say NO. Ridiculous, I know.

Sometimes I feel like I had 5 kids instead of 4.

The only way I know to describe it, really, is bad choices on my part. I wish I could be more insiteful.

Sandy

sweetlife
04-12-2005, 09:07 AM
Your husband knows what he is putting you thru, I am sure he does feel bad. But right now his drugs is what controls him. He thinks about it all the time, Believe me!
It consumes his every waking moment. It does not matter who or what he hurts all that is important is this drug. Until he is ready to quit, that's what is important to him.

You need to do what is right for your daughter & child on the way. You said that you have a big supportive family. Is there one person in your family that you can confide in. You need someone for you. Being a mom myself, I remember when I had a little one & one on the way, this right now is a heavy load for you to bear alone.

Is your marriage worth fighting for? If so sit him down and let him know either he gets help now, or you are going to leave him. or if you don't think it's worth it, I would think about other things. Maybe this will be the wake up call he needs.

What about you? Do you stay with him because you feel sorry for him? Children? afraid of being alone? or do you truly Love him? I wish I had magic words for you, but I don't. But just know that I am here for you.

DV

LuvMyLilDoggie
04-12-2005, 12:22 PM
We need to remember that addiction is a disease. It knows no boundaries. The addict usually starts drinking or using to have a good time. When things start going wrong, they feel horrible. They drink or use to feel good again. It's a vicious cycle. They drink or use more and more to get that "good" feeling. Pretty soon, they've spent the majority of their lives chasing that "good" (and by good I mean normal) feeling.

My sponsor once told me that it may help me when things are rough to imagine a neon sign on my husband's forehead that's flashing "SICK" in big bold letters. It sounds silly but it did help.

As far as families go, I had an EXTREMELY supportive mother. I kept my secret from her until I couldn't keep it anymore. I told her about my husband's drinking and to my amazement, SHE KNEW! In talking with her, I know that she realized he had a problem long before I did. And she never saw him drink!

Many times, family take the attitude that it's not their buisness to say anything. That's how my mom was. She was afraid that if she said something, I wouldn't come around anymore. She was afraid I would take his side and she would lose me.

If you think you're keeping the secret from your family, you're not. Someone knows already. They may not know the extent of it but they do know.

Barb

Sandyspen
04-12-2005, 05:18 PM
Oh Barb, that is so true.

I didn't think any of my family knew. But once when I was separated from hubby, my brother said he'd thought about it for years. And actually thought of checking for some kind of intervention for me. To make me leave. It was funny, but felt good too. All the time I had thought I was alone, I really wasn't. They knew.

I love your sponsors idea. I'm definitely gonna try that. Anything that works!

Sandy

whatswrongwme
04-12-2005, 05:32 PM
Thank you Bosmom as well for your insight. I try to remember that he is sick. I think my family suspects something is wrong because he never comes around much. But I still feel like protecting him from the bad thoughts that they would think about him.

I have never been overly-religious, but do you think it is true that God never gives us more than he thinks we could handle?

I got a call from my dr. today who said my pap came back as abnormal with mild dysplasia. He said that we will have to wait until 6 weeks after I have the baby to check out again. Hope I am not making anyone feel "icky". I freaked out and immediately thought "cancer" and how am I going to leave my children to their father if I go. I calmed down and did some research and to my surprise, it chilled me out a bit. I just thought I can't take anymore. I really wanted to smoke a cigarette, but I didn't. I didn't smoke, in truth, because I read that smoking can make it worse. But after I did my research and became informed I have to say that I did feel a little better.

It's funny because I am such a hypochondriac and I always imagine things like this happening to me. But unlike my imaginary illnesses, I was a lot calmer when I found out about this one. In the grand scheme of things, it could be a lot worse!

LuvMyLilDoggie
04-12-2005, 10:16 PM
But I still feel like protecting him from the bad thoughts that they would think about him.
No one has ever been hurt by bad thoughts as long as they don't turn into words or actions. Do you think his family would do that to him?

I think you already know that by protecting your husband, you're enabling him to continue to do what he's been doing without paying the consiquences (did I spell that right?). As long as you sugar coat things and smooth it all over, you're making it easy for him to continue to do what he's doing. Usually, the only way an addict has a chance at becoming clean and sober is to face the consiquenses (there's that word again) of their actions. Sometimes they have to be forced into facing them. I hope it doesn't get that far for you. I hope your husband realizes soon what a great wife and family he has.

I really truely believe that God only gives us what we can handle. I believe God tests us too. And He knows we can handle a lot more than we think we can.

I'm so sorry you have to go through that scare in addition to all the other things. This should be one of the happiest times of your life and now you have to worry about this. It's good that your research has aleviated some of your fears. You know you can come here and voice your concerns and fears. We're no strangers to that kind of stuff. We don't know each other here but we care all the same.

When is your little blessing due?

Take care of yourself and your children. And great job not picking up a cigarette! Whatever the reason, you didn't do it. And that's what counts.

Love, Barb

whatswrongwme
04-14-2005, 08:25 AM
Thank you Barb,

If everything goes according to plan, I am due in December. I cannot believe that I am pregnant. I have to admit I have mixed feelings about it because of my current situation. I mean what right do I have to bring another child into this situation? I try to keep my daughter blissfully unaware of what's going on (I wish I were), but kids are smart. So I try to make our house as "normal" and calm for her as possible. I have bitten my tounge, drawing blood, so many times I am surprised I can still talk!

I wonder, can you live with an addict and still go about your own business and life? Is it possible to not let their behavior ruin your life if you still continue to live together? I just don't think I am strong enough (physically and emotionally) right now to throw him out. I cannot prove that he is currently using because everytime I find a little piece of evidence he says it is old. I don't know this is so confusing!

LuvMyLilDoggie
04-14-2005, 10:55 AM
I know quite a few people who are in the same situation as you. You can live a good life whether he is still using or drinking or not. It sounds impossible and it isn't always easy. But it is can happen. Many of my friends in Al-Anon are doing that now. One lady said the other day that her husband walked in with a beer and instead of letting that bother her, she asked her son if he would like to help her make brownies. Keeping the homelife as normal as possible. It sounds like you're already doing that.

Do you believe in a higher power? The reason I ask is because I believe everything happens for a reason. That baby you're carrying-it's no accident that you're pregnant now. That baby is there for a reason. What the reason is remains to be seen. What you're going through is happening for a reason. You have a choice in this one but the outcome still remains to be seen. Your choice is how you react to this situation. Ask yourself these questions: Am I going to let this beat me down? Or am I going to take what I learn from this and let it make me stronger? You don't have to leave your husband if you don't want to. It's clear that you still love him. You have more strength than you think you do. It takes a LOT of strength to stay.


I know it's confusing and what I'm about to tell you may add to that. I hope not but if you have question, please ask. Stop looking for the evidence. And if you should find it while you're cleaning or something, leave it there. If you confront him with the evidence and there's an argument, he can use that as an excuse to use. You make yourself the scapegoat for him. Trust me, if he is using again, the guilt he puts on himself will be far worse than anything you could give him. Don't add to it. But at the same time, try not to cover up for him. If he messes up, let him pay the consequences. This is SO HARD to do at first but it does get easier. We want to ease the pain. But we can't. Remember this: The suffering you are trying to ease may be the very thing needed to bring the alcoholic to the realization of the seriousness of the situation-literally a blessing in disguise.

Have you been to an Al-Anon meeting? If you haven't, please find one and try it. It's been a lifesaver for me-literally.

Love, Barb

whatswrongwme
04-14-2005, 12:07 PM
Oh Barb,

Thank you so much for your response! I am close with my sister-in-law (his sister) who knows the situation and I said to her "God wouldn't put me in this situation if no good would come of this." I have always believed in God, but not a stead-fast church-goer, however, I have always believed that the Universe gives you back what you give it. I have always tried to be strong. I owe it to myself and my children. I have always been conscience of that sort of martyr-like behavior that would make me feel worse. It is easy to fall into that victim trap.

I will stop immediately digging into his stuff and through the house. Nothing good comes of it anyway. My stomach drops to my knees whenever I find something and he always denies it. I have found an Al-anon meeting on Friday night and I am hoping that I can find someone to watch my daughter so I can go. I posted a question about this earlier, but I was wondering about this meeting. There are two meetings. The first is a newcomer's meeting and the second, the lady from Al-anon said was a "regular" meeting.

As I am going to be really anxious in the first place to be there, I was wondering if the newcomer's meeting may be too much for me. I think I just want to observe my first time in there. However, I probably won't be able to go every week so I want to be able to get the most out of each meeting I am able to go to. Do you know the differences between the two as far as content goes? Thank you again for your kindness.

LuvMyLilDoggie
04-14-2005, 10:21 PM
No problem. :)

Actually, a newcomers meeting is just where you need to be. A newcomers meeting usually focuses on the first three steps. Being a newcomer, you might feel a bit uncomfortable at a regular meeting but that's not to say that you shouldn't go to one. There's no need to be nervous. You don't have to talk if you don't want to. Sometimes what is needed at first is to listen and observe.

Regular meetings could be Step meetings meaning they go through all the 12 steps. Or they can be discussion meetings. These are meetings where a topic is chosen (for instance enabling, detachment, taking care of ourselves) and discussed. It's natural to be nervous about meeting with strangers. And I completely understand not wanting to speak. I was like that too when I first came in. Now they can't shut me up! :) I even read the Al-Anon preamble in front of a huge croud at the last Illinois state convention of AA. And I've spoken at open AA meetings where there was an Al-Anon speaker. I don't tell you that to brag. I tell you that to let you know how Al-Anon has helped me. I used to be so timid and shy. I was afraid to do anything or say anything because I always felt I wasn't good enough. Now I know that I'm good enough for any task that's given me. I still get really nervous. It's that old fear of making a mistake that makes me afraid. But I get over it.

The newcomers meeting will be great for you. I don't know exactly how that meeting you're thinking of going to is run. The beginners meeting I go to every Tuesday focuses on the first three steps. 1. We admit we are powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanagable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. After the meeting, some of us usually stick around to get to know the newcomers a little better. Sometimes, it's easier for newcomers to talk to just one or two people rather than the whole group. You will have the option of passing when they call on you to speak so don't worry about that. Like I said, you may gain more from listening at first.

I'll tell you that every meeting I've been to, I walk out of feeling better than I did when I walked in. I still get that feeling after all these years.

Walk in with an open mind and clean ears and you'll get what you need. :)

Love, Barb