This week’s podcast is short and sweet because, quite frankly, we’re tired!
Hope you’ll take a listen and, please, find us a producer. We need some technological help!
Thanks, as always, for listening, for writing and for sharing!
Next: Progress 6a
Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.
Your podcasts and messages are having a profound affect on me and I thank you. I am an alcoholic with 110 days of sobriety. I am originally from the Midwest and now live in Massachusetts where my husband is from. I was wondering Dayna did you go to Al-Anon? If so would you recommend the program? My husband feels my alcoholism is my problem and he doesn’t need any education in the disease and how it is a “family disease” of sorts. Any advice?
Dayna Del Val
Hello Kruzcote–first of all, congratulations on being sober for now 111 days! I hope you are incredibly proud of yourself–that’s a major achievement!
Second of all, thank you for taking this journey with us. I am humbled that you are finding value in it and appreciate that you took this opportunity to write to us.
I did not go to Al-Anon, and I can’t exactly tell you why. Years ago, when I was a poor, single mom, I went to a single moms and kids retreat. While I was poor like all the other moms, that quality felt like the end of our commonalities. My son’s dad was not in prison, was not an addict, had not abandoned us (we never married by my choice), was not abusive, etc. My son was not on medication, was not struggling emotionally, was not already moving into the kinds of behaviors that would likely lead to problems in school, etc. I found that I had virtually nothing in common with any of these women beyond being a statistically poor mother. I think I assumed that I would find a similar experience at Al-Anon–but it’s important to note the operative word “assumed.”
Because Dr Marry went through this experience only once (at least to date) I felt like I would likely be walking in to a room filled with spouses whose significant other had been in treatment/rehab/fallen off the wagon over and over again, and I would be, once again, the one who statistically aligned with these people on the surface, but actually, when we dug down just below the surface, had nothing else to connect us.
At the mother/child retreat, I had to turn in on myself, because every conversation was about how terrible other aspects of these women’s lives were, and that was not my story. But I couldn’t very well talk about how well things were going in my life in light of their trauma, so I said nothing.
I decided, without ever giving any group a chance, that I would likely be in the same position again. And I opted out of even trying.
I will say, after having been on this blogging journey for six weeks now, I think I made a mistake. I think I could have used some guidance, some people who absolutely related to my feelings and experiences and others who just understood how complex the emotions of this journey are for those of us who stay with a partner who has addiction issues, regardless of where they are on their personal path.
This is a family disease. Period. I don’t believe it can be addressed solely by the individual who suffers from the addiction. Every person in the home/sphere of that addict has their own version of the story to address, manage, face and overcome. I hope that your husband has someone in his life who can be a sounding board for him as he grapples with your addiction and sobriety, too.
As a side note on this already way too long response, one of the things that has been very helpful for me is that Dr Marry has learned how to much better articulate and confront his emotions because of what he is learning in his AA groups. That has given me a safe place to have real conversations about many of my questions, my fears and my challenges. His ability to stay in tough conversations has definitely helped me navigate this, too, and that’s been good for both of us.
I wish you luck on your journey–you have, I think, done the hardest part. Now it’s about maintaining your determination to stay sober. I hope you have a fabulous network surrounding you to continue on that path!
Dayna Del Val
I’m just checking in to see how you are doing? I hope your sobriety journey has continued, but if it hasn’t, I am sending all good thoughts that you can get back on the wagon again and get going. You can do it!
I’m doing very well. 127 days and counting. I regularly attend 2 meetings weekly which we are now doing via zoom. It’s not quite like being in person but the familiar faces are comforting. Again your videos have been great. I’ve watched a few several times. Thank You both for your service.
Dayna Del Val
This response absolutely delights us both! Congratulations on your continued sobriety and keep on keeping on!
Dayna and Dr Marry
Dayna and I both thought we should reply to your comment.
Firstly, congratulations on your huge achievement of being sober for 111 days! You should be very proud of this, and I hope it is a feeling that you will never take for granted.
I couldn’t tell from your response if you are attending AA meetings or not. Some people do, some people don’t. I can only tell you how beneficial I have actually found them.
I can only assume there are many meetings available in your local area. Each one will be slightly different. There are some for people who want to embrace their higher power, some who want to concentrate more on the stories from the AA Big Book, and there are even some that are agnostic in structure. Shop around. Not only will you find a meeting structure you like, but you will also find a group of people who will be supportive, unjudgmental and each armed with a great insight that will be beneficial to your continued journey.
I believe Dayna has already explained why she did not feel the need to go to an Al-Anon meeting. She is very supportive of how I treat this disease. The help and insight I get from AA meetings has allowed Dayna and me to have meaningful and non-confrontational conversations about my journey, actually our journey.
This is a disease that does affect whole families, but if you can get support and constructive suggestions from an AA group, I believe this will help you in other aspects of your life, to help you and your family move forward every day.
I wish you the very best of luck, and I wish you every success as your sobriety number continues to increase.