No, not Roi and I.
A few nights ago I finally got together with a friend from college. The two of us had been going at phone tag and friend-date postponements/cancellations for months.
This woman (and I'll call her K) and I had met through mutual friends and hit it off instantly. We've had little opportunity to spend time one one one, so though we've hung out a few times we've never gotten to know each other on a more personal level. Yet we knew we needed to.
Turns out she's living with a recovering alcoholic after being in a relationship with an active alcoholic (and possibly sex addict) for the 12 years previous. Waddya know? It's like we codies sniff each other out. Sort of like gaydar but for codies.
And as we said our goodbyes (or tried to) on a street corner just down from the cafe we had stayed at until closing, we suddenly found ourselves discovering this previously unknown commonality. She being with an alcoholic who has been sober and highly active in recovery was not nearly as beside herself as I was. I don't have friends I can talk to about this. I have recovery friends and they are unbelievably awesome, but I don't have friends who are in recovery. I feel the need to qualify that with two or more paragraphs, but you know what I mean.
Anyway, K doesn't do Al-Anon. She tried but said she found herself really resentful that it was implied that she was doing something wrong by merely being in relationship with an alcoholic.
I get that. I get that too well. When I'm at a meeting my intellect gets in the way. Because here is what I see at every meeting.
People doing well. And those well-doers have either broken ties with their addict, or their addict is in active recovery and sober.
People with circles under their eyes and tissues pressed to their noses as they sniffle and sob. Those crying messes are still in close contact with active addicts.
And for the latter, it doesn't seem to matter how many years they've been in program. Active addiction doesn't seem to ever stop hurting. And so they bleed openly, and I watch them as they open their eyes and ears wide trying to see and hear what they can change to make the hurt stop. And I watch as they nod vigorously and I can't help but see that they are trying to believe something that just doesn't make any damn sense at all.
As I walked away into the light drizzle of the night, I thought about K's words. How she just couldn't buy the program-speak. Not for Al-Anon anyway. She gets that she's codependent, and so do I. But we both smell something a little off, how it seems like the party-line of Al-Anon is about accepting unacceptable behavior. And I don't feel any wiser. I don't feel any closer to answers.