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Old 02-18-2019, 03:35 PM   #1
tecomsin
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Hi Everyone

I thought about trying out al anon as a way to heal. My father is and was an alcholic bipolar so he is my qualifier for that 12 step program. I tried a few meetings but at the last one I got disillusioned that I would fit into that group.

One of the old timers started disparaging one of her relatives who she said was mentally ill. Then she added that 'of course, mentally ill people don't relate to others the same way the rest of us do'.

The words still echo in my mind... the rest of us. Us vs. them.

I wondered how many others sitting at the table also had a mental illness. I realized it was not the place for me. They discourage what they call 'crosstalk' so there is no way to bring something like that up. Besides who would come out of the closet with their mental illness in such an environment.

Has anyone with bipolar had a good experience with al anon?
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:51 PM   #2
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Hi Everyone

I thought about trying out al anon as a way to heal. My father is and was an alcholic bipolar so he is my qualifier for that 12 step program. I tried a few meetings but at the last one I got disillusioned that I would fit into that group.

One of the old timers started disparaging one of her relatives who she said was mentally ill. Then she added that 'of course, mentally ill people don't relate to others the same way the rest of us do'.

The words still echo in my mind... the rest of us. Us vs. them.

I wondered how many others sitting at the table also had a mental illness. I realized it was not the place for me. They discourage what they call 'crosstalk' so there is no way to bring something like that up. Besides who would come out of the closet with their mental illness in such an environment.

Has anyone with bipolar had a good experience with al anon?
I am in AA... and i cant stand when that subject comes up and the old timers get going.... there is NOTNING anywhere in any literature that talks about mental illness in a bad way or discourages use of medication. But some of these people get up on their high horses and announce that doctor's are evil and it all comes down to willingness. BULL *****. In fact very often in literature its mentioned that we are not doctors and you should trust in your doctors for your healthcare, mental and physical and work on the not drinking with people from AA. I'm guessing the same would apply for al-anon. Its so discriminatory to people. I have no issue going up to whoever after a meeting and letting them know how I feel about it. F**K THEM.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:03 PM   #3
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I am in AA... and i cant stand when that subject comes up and the old timers get going.... there is NOTNING anywhere in any literature that talks about mental illness in a bad way or discourages use of medication. But some of these people get up on their high horses and announce that doctor's are evil and it all comes down to willingness. BULL *****. In fact very often in literature its mentioned that we are not doctors and you should trust in your doctors for your healthcare, mental and physical and work on the not drinking with people from AA. I'm guessing the same would apply for al-anon. Its so discriminatory to people. I have no issue going up to whoever after a meeting and letting them know how I feel about it. F**K THEM.

And this is exactly why I don't go to AA anymore. It is supposed to be the only requirement is the desire to stop drinking.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:15 PM   #4
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tecomsin, there are all types wherever you go. It is a shame that no one spoke up (or felt they could because of a silly cross talk rule), because I am sure you were not the only person bothered by the ignorant statement.

I went to AA almost every day for almost five years. Despite that effort, it was not for me so I eventually quit. But it is a great place for many, including many with major mental health issues. I, personally, knew five AA members with bipolar type 1 in the meetings I attended. There were likely others, and some with other bipolar types, and many with major anxiety, unipolar depression, and other challenges.

I encountered one woman who said I should quit meds. I blew her off and deliberately avoided her from that point on. It's not always worth it trying to make people understand. Some people won't regardless of how much they are educated.

Some of what is read in AA and Al-Anon you may disagree with. I did. In fact, some of it pissed me off. A lot is based on mind frames of the 1950s. Plenty of people even still have such mind frames. Some is still quite good and applicable, but a lot is in dire need of moving into the 21st century. To some, AA and other 12 step programs are like a religion in and of themselves.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:57 PM   #5
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@sarahsweets Good for you for standing up for yourself. I am not up to confronting people when I go to meetings like that. I am looking for acceptance.

@Guiness187055 Sorry that biases about mental illness also pushed you out of an anonymous fellowship.

@BirdDancer Thanks for your insights and remarks. I've never been to an AA meeting but I think al anon recruits a different kind of person and my impression is that they are quite judgmental. I felt that this woman had made similar remarks many times in this famly group. It was how she used the exclusive executive "we" vs. the "they" being the mentally ill ones.

I was already sitting out the closing with the Lord's Prayer at the end since it is a Christian prayer from the New Testament and I am not a Christian. I just left the last meeting feeling so alone, isolated and judged.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:03 PM   #6
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@sarahsweets Good for you for standing up for yourself. I am not up to confronting people when I go to meetings like that. I am looking for acceptance.

@Guiness187055 Sorry that biases about mental illness also pushed you out of an anonymous fellowship.

@BirdDancer
I was already sitting out the closing with the Lord's Prayer at the end since it is a Christian prayer from the New Testament and I am not a Christian. I just left the last meeting feeling so alone, isolated and judged.
I'm sorry they keep the Lord's prayer in AA. It, the word "God", and even "Higher Power" should be eliminated from these meetings, in my opinion. If there were more non religious/spiritual groups like AA/NA/AL-ANON, that would be fine having a Christian meeting, but there aren't. I just hate when AA members try to make excuses for this. It's offensive to me, and nothing they can concoct to excuse would convince me. I'm also not at all thrilled about some of the steps. Some clearly associate the negative aspects of addiction to "sin", no matter what. And a step that follows clearly deals with asking for a kind of forgiveness. In fact, there is a history of looking at some mental and neurological illnesses as "sins". It's stigmatic and sad that that persists to this day. Making excuses for clear stigmatism doesn't fly in my book. People who don't believe that that look the other way and make excuses are doing no good. It's analogous with many other severe issues.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:26 PM   #7
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The Lord's Prayer is from Mathew in the New Testament, as well as Luke. It is the words that Jesus instructed his disciples to say and I found listening to them all reciting the words while holding hands in a circle as I sat out, really isolating. It was getting worse each time instead of better. I had spoken up during a sharing and said I didn't participate in the LP because i was not a Christian and I was sitting down because I did not know what else to do.

It doesn't help that my family are all Holocaust survivors. I didn't mention that part. I was starting to think how many of my family were killed for being Jews who were different in their religious practise. I thought of my dead relatives while they said their prayer.

@BirdDancer, you have a lot of insight into how the anonymous fellowships deal with mental illness. I have started going to an Emotions Anonymous meeting and it has a different feeling to it.
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:46 PM   #8
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tecomsin, I'm glad you found a group that is more comfortable for you. I'm sorry that you felt so isolated and uncomfortable in the other meetings.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:35 AM   #9
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Thanks @BirdDancer, the anonymous fellowships all claim to be non-denominational, but I think this is more an ideal than what actually happens in practise. I was blinded sided by the remarks on mentally ill people too. Imagine if something like that were said about gay people or black people or overweight people. It was clear to me that group was about defining a circle of 'us' that was healthy vs. 'them', the mentally ill who are not. This woman also talked about how she had invited over 20 people to a party and her mentally ill daughter was there a long with her mentally ill spouse, and how they were an embarrassment because they started eating all the food she had prepared before most of the guests arrived. She had to tell them to stop, which they did. Later they left without eating a bite more or saying anything. How weird is that, she said. Then she added the line 'of course mentally ill people don't relate to others the same way the rest of us do'.

I was so glad I hadn't revealed anything directly about my mental illness to that al anon family group.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:12 AM   #10
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I'm so sorry you're going through all of this, tecomsin I agree that that comment was pretty rude and inconsiderate. If you don't like that group, definitely leave it as soon as we can. We go to these groups to feel better, not worse! I'm glad you've found another group. I hope you're liking it. Hopefully you'll be able to get the help you need and deserve. You deserve to be happy and to feel good just like everyone else. We're here for you if you need to talk. We won't judge you here. I'm so sorry, I know it's hard. Please don't give up. I hope things will get better soon for you. Is there anything we can do to help you? Please let us know. Remember that we're here for you if you need it. Feel free to PM me anytime. Let me know if I can do something to help you. Wish you good luck! Let us know how it goes. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this
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