Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself.

W. C. Doane

Monday, March 5, 2012


(I apologize in advance for how long this post is)

A friend of mine has been facing many hurdles with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. As I've been working towards helping her seek peace with those issues, many of my own memories have been flooding back. She recently asked me to find her some AA meetings in the area, and asked that I go with her. This eventually lead me to look up Al-Anon meetings for myself.

 Al-anon or Alateen* is a group that runs off Alchoholics anonymous, for families, friends, neighbours co-workers etc. of alcoholics. Anyone that feels they have been affected by someone's addictions. Nar-anon* works the same way but for families and children of drug addicts. Though as i child i did witness the use of opiets, it's not somethingI feel was prevalent or really affected my life.

So i went to the Al-Anon website and found this set of questions, and i could hardly believe how many of them fit me. It began with "The following questions may help you determine if Al-Anon is for you." To be honest the number of questions that related to me was shocking. I just wanted to take a moment to share them with you folks. 

Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation? 
Always. It drives me crazy but i just need the people in my life to constantly show interest in me, to show me that i'm important in their lives and that i matter.

Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments
It's not so much that I fail to recognize them but that I never feel like i've done enough or what i've done is good enough.

Do you fear criticism?
Not that i fear it but i do think there's a certain tone people should take when criticizing. Though I'm still a bit sensitive to it, I used to be much worse. I prefer someone tell me the truth and it hurt a bit than lie to me to spare my feelings.

Do you overextend yourself?
HA! Who knew this was a symptom of the child of an addict? Let's see as of right now i'm in the Vagina Monologues, Run a center on campus for Mature and Part Time students,  I'm a support worker, i'm organizing several events on campus, and i'll be starting training with Planned Parenthood, Sexual Assault Support Center of Ottawa and that's just the beginning of my commitments, because i still want to add more!!

Have you had problems with your own compulsive behaviour?
I dont  think so...unless procrastination counts as a compulsion. I also avoid things that stress me out.

Do you have a need for perfection?
In little ways, i get frustrated quickly when things aren't going as smoothly as i want them to. Or if i dont feel like i'll get the results out of something that I want to do, i'll avoid it. For example, i'll avoid studying for an exam because i'm so afraid i won't be able to retain the information.

Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?
Yes. Even when things are going well, I anticipate the worst.

Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
I do feel like i can get more accomplished under pressure. I wouldn't go as far as saying I feel more alive in crisis....just more alive when i have a lot on my plate.

Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the problem drinker in your life?
I would say I do. I feel like it's my job to stop someone from drinking, I feel like if a friend of mine drank because i wasn't there to hang out with her, it is my fault. I should have been there.

Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself?
What makes me happiest in life is making others happy. Nothing makes me feel better than knowing i've helped someone. When it comes to myself, I show little empathy. People keep telling me how strange they find it, the amount of energy I'll put into bettering others but how little I put into myself.

Do you isolate yourself from other people?
I think, often i do. To a lot of people it seems like i'm very social, that i'm surrounded by people. But the truth of the matter is, they know very little about me. I distance myself from people in hopes that they'll make the effort to become closer to me. I also distance myself from people so that i can reject them before they reject me.

Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people?
I'll go with no on this question. In fact i'm the exact opposite i defy authority. Alright there's one no so far...

Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you?
People take advantage of me all the time.  People know that i will very literally give you the shirt off my back if i think it'll help you, and I think sometimes others think it's ok to push that kindness to it's limit.

Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?
I don't really date, it takes alot for men to get close to me, because I don't trust them. I'm afraid of being too dependent on someone else. I know when I love someone whether intimately or in a friendly capacity, I do rely on them as a support system. I think i do so quite heavily without realizing it. So my biggest fear is loving someone too much. It's a terrifying concept for me, because...again they might leave, and then i'd have lost my heart to someone who walked away.

Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker?
hmm... I dont think so. Hey look another no!

Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to be compulsive and/or abusive?
No but i do tend to attract wounded souls. Or people that need me, people that potentially abuse themselves. Reason being, i know i can help them, these are one of the few people I put pretty much all of myself into.

Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone?
I'd have to ask my friends that. I dont think i'm clingy...but who knows.... I think i'm just someone who craves a lot of love and affection, because i'm always so afraid it'll slip. Maybe sometimes i'm a little too much?

Do you often mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others?
All. The. Time. I always second guess myself, particularly when I feel like i can trust someone. What if I'm wrong? What if they're lying? What if they just feel what way today but tomorrow they wont? 

Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions?
I know how I feel. I'm a generally emotional person. I hate letting on exactly how I feel. Though, as a support worker i very much give people the space to do so themselves, I can't seem to feel safe enough to express my emotions to others without later feeling ashamed, or feeling like they might be judging me or get annoyed at how emotional I am.

Do you think someone’s drinking may have affected you?
Looking at these questions, and my answers, I guess so...

If you or someone you know is looking for AA/NA or Al-Anon/ Nar-anon meetings in your area, please feel free to check out these websites: