Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Is it the end?


“All good things must come to an end.”

Or, so the saying goes. 

I guess in my case it’s more, “All good things may come to an end.”

Don’t worry.  You’re not getting rid of me so easily.  I’m not talking about my blog.  I’m talking about my S-Anon meetings.  The meetings are on a pause for the summer due to low attendance and I miss them terribly.  For me, it’s not only a safe place to share my experiences but one that reminds how things used to be in my world.  They serve as a reminder how important it is for Devin and I to stay in recovery.

I was the trusted servant for our small group for close to two years.  I was also the treasurer, the contact person for newcomers and the WSO, performed local outreach, and a meeting facilitator.  It was a lot for one person but I wanted our meetings to thrive so when no one volunteered, I took on the responsibilities.

Last fall I got help from another member to be the meeting facilitator and that allowed me to get a break every other week. But, even with that help, I was burnt out.  Two years was just too long to do it all, no matter how I loved the meetings.  I knew I needed to step down as a trusted servant when I started to resent not getting additional help for the other positions I held.  It revealed I was in the wrong place mentally.

In May I stepped down from being a trusted servant leaving all those positions vacant.  We sent out an email and text to the members asking for volunteers.  It wasn’t fair that the other woman take on everything I was leaving behind.  Sadly, only one person stepped up to help lead meetings and she wasn’t able to do any in July.  

Six weeks after I stepped down, I was asked by the two volunteers what I thought about stopping the meetings until school was back in session.  As difficult as it was for me to say, (control freak that I can be at times), I said it was up to them since it was their time they were donating to the group.  

I wanted to persuade them to keep the group running.  We never know when a newcomer may come along.  I wanted to tell them to send out texts to those we haven’t seen letting them know we were thinking about them.  I wanted to ask what kind of outreach they were doing to maintain attendance.  But, I didn’t do any of that.  Those were things I chose to do and I shouldn’t expect them to do the same.

As my favorite saying goes, “A high expectation is a premeditated resentment.”  I needed to lower my expectations and let the meeting go.  If it’s meant to start up again in the fall then it will.  If not, I am happy with the work I put in and those who have helped me on my journey.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t still miss them.  I’ll just have to find another anon meeting to attend.


Have you ever had something you loved end abruptly?

47 comments:

  1. I'm sorry, Elsie. It's hard to let it go, or even just let it sit there. And difficult to realize you were the one most passionate and no one can take your place.
    Knowing the challenge of keeping something like that going, I want you to know I appreciate your enthusiasm for the IWSG and the times you've co-hosted.
    If the group doesn't reform, I hope you find another.

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    1. *smiles* I really, really appreciate your kind words, Alex. I love the IWSG and want to see that thrive too. It's a great way to encourage other writers and receive uplifting words from those who have been there, done that. I so grateful I found it and you created it.

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    2. I can't say it better than Alex did right there.

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  2. sometimes we have to let go for sure...i tend to be one that will fill the gaps until all of a sudden i am the one doing most of the work...and then resentment can def creep in...sat that support wont be there...but you have to guard your heart.....

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    1. I think that's what happened with the group. People figured someone would take on the responsibility if they didn't. I didn't feel right telling the people who did give up their time to keep it running if they felt attendance was too low. I had to let it be up to them, not me. It would have been selfish otherwise.

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  3. Acting as a one-woman army can be draining. Maybe by the fall, someone will be wiling to stand up and fill in the gap.

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    1. It was very draining. As tempted as I am to take over in the fall, I'm not going to. I did it for a long time and I don't want to get burnt out again or feel resentment.

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  4. Yes. Don't laugh, but it's been 20 years since 'The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.' was canceled after one season and I'm STILL not over it.

    Sorry your group is temporarily disbanding. Summer is hard with travel and outdoor activities. It may pick up again in the fall. Or you could try running an online group and if the local women need or want to meet in person, then hold the meeting?

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    1. I'm not laughing at all, I can relate! They have cancelled shows over the years after a season or two and I still want to know how it would've ended. Reaper is one…it ended on a cliff hanger! Then, they cancelled it. What the heck?

      Thankfully, S-anon has phone meetings and online meetings. I've attended a few but it's not the same as an in person meeting. A member and I still meet every couple of weeks for breakfast and that helps us both.

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    2. Is anyone who watched that show over it?

      I don't like to brag, but a buddy of ours was actually in Brisco County Jr when he was a little kid. He got to break a vase over Bruce Campbell's head. He still has the vase, and I guess Bruce Campbell is just as awesome as you'd think he is.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2kdsGnJcD8&t=39m01s

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  5. Letting go of something can be hard, especially when it's something that's been helping us or something that we need. I hope the meetings can resume sooner rather than later.

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    1. It really was/is hard to let it go. I have to keep the faith that it will start up again. But, I know myself well enough to know, I'll find some kind of support somewhere because I know I need it to keep my own sobriety in check. I don't want to starting being hyper vigilant again!!

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  6. I don't think a group that important should go away permanently. Have you thought of doing, like every other month, or once every quarter (how frequently did you all meet before)? Maybe a slower frequency will also encourage more volunteers.

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    1. We toyed with doing one per month or one every week but then decided it'd be too confusing for members who weren't there all the time and just popped over on their lunch break. We used to meet twice a week then cut it down to once a week. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  7. One of the most important AA meetings in my early sobriety went suddenly. Some members there who were those mostly in service there disagreed with something that happened in another group. They argued that it did affect other groups the group they were unhappy with played the autonomy card. It descended to a horrible state where members from either group weren't welcome at each others meetings. I hated the bad feeling - I wasn't that long sober - so I went elsewhere my feeling being it would eventually sort itself out... it didn't the group folded completely which I do now miss as it was vital in my early days for me that one. It was the first AA meeting I walked into under my own steam after I'd left rehab.

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    1. That's so sad. The first AA meeting I attended was a fairly large group. I was interested in learning about emotional sobriety and was told I could find it in AA. Anyway, the meeting started out great but rapidly went downhill. One member was speaking and when she did there were audible sighs and visible eye rolling. People got up to use the rest room or get coffee. I thought it was so freakin' rude to do that to a fellow.

      My first anon meeting was so small it was just myself and one other lady. I was shocked but she said it was a difficult meeting to get going because of the co-dependency issues we all have. I stayed with it for two months and it grew but was too negative and bashed the spouses. Not conducive for recovery.

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  8. Yes, the women's drumming and goddess chanting circle which I've facilitated for 13 years came to a rather abrupt end when My Rare One and I separated. Without a house to hold it in any longer, I would have to rent space again (which I did for the first 3-4 years of the circle) and schlep everything back and forth to it for the evening. I just wasn't up to the effort of doing that again so I made the choice to end the circle. Difficult decision and I miss everyone who attended, but life moves on and it was time to let it go.

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    1. Ugh, that saddens me deeply Debra. It sounds like you and I went through the same thing. It really is difficult to watch something we love so dearly crumble apart. I hope someone will have the initiative to start your drumming and goddess chanting circle again.

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  9. Can I ask something? Is the meeting important because it helps, or because you enjoy meeting there? If the need is alleviated, perhaps it is time to move on to the next thing. But, you would know better than I.

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    1. The meetings definitely help. I get support on the days I need it and give support when I can. We share our experience, strength and hope there. I remember my first meeting (see above) when the lady told me she and her hubby stopped attending because they were in such a great place. Then, a year or two later, he slipped in his recovery and it sent her spiraling downward. That's why I keep going.

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  10. Oh Elsie, I'm sorry. It's awful when anything you love comes to an end - but especially when it's something that gives you so much help, support, and love. AND something you've given yourself to. I really hope the meetings start back up, and if they don't, I hope you find another group. Every ending does lead to a beginning - even if it doesn't feel that way..

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    1. Thanks, Liz. You're so kind. I really hope the meetings start up again but you're right. When one door closes, a window opens up.

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  11. I think your favorite saying just became my favorite new saying. :)

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  12. I admire your ability to just let go. I know that it is hard. So many times I have been inclined to think, "Well, I gave my heart and soul to this for two years. If I let it go, what will happen to it? It could die." And you are aware of that and you still did what you needed to do for you. And it might die. It might thrive. It might carry on in a stumbling fashion. Chances are good that it may be a good long while before anyone steps up who runs the group with the care and attention that you gave it. And maybe no one ever will. The fact that you can know all of this and let it go shows that you are growing. And that is a great thing.

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    1. Thanks, Robyn. You're right, it may be a while before anyone is able to make the group thrive again. I just know it can't be me right now. Maybe a bit further on down the road when I see others picking up the ball but doing it all alone was just too much with my health being like it is. My hope is that they people who weren't able to volunteer during the summer will volunteer again in the fall.

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  13. With me and my ocd I can sorta start to do everything to, I mean then you know it will be done right, right? lol but yeah resentment creeps in and that is never a win. So I tend to stray from such things and just do work for me, screw everybody else haha I know, so mean.

    But all things come to an end, doesn't mean it can't restart or find another one along the way. The cat hopes you do, then you'll have someone else to whine to and spare us all hahaha hey, the cat saw you like him on Keith's blog, so you are busted.

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    1. Pfft, it doesn't mean I won't whine and complain here, cat. I love to torment all of you with my rants and boo hoo stories. It makes me feel better. Yep, I think the reason I did it for so long was that I was afraid to lose that control over the group. Like if I didn't do it, who would? Or would they know how. I had to remind myself I was a newbie once upon a time too.

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  14. I know how important this is to you and I'm sorry to see it end for now. But sometimes when God closes a window, He opens a door. You may find another anon group during the interim that is better run, with more people working as a group to get things done.

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    1. Being around others who walked in the same shoes did/does me a lot of good with my recovery. I agree that if it is meant to be, God will take care of it, I don't have to fret over it. Everything happens for a reason and I'm not meant to know what that reason is. I may stumble into a different group where my recovery will thrive.

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  15. I was upset when my dealer went to jail. The abrupt end to a steady flow of good weed was devastating! (leave it to me for such a comment) lol

    Don't think of it as something you love coming to an end, think of it as a new beginning!

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    1. Back when I did coke, my dealer went to jail too. I wasn't upset though. He was a jerk. Thinking of it as a new beginning is the best way to look at it.

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  16. I have seen some things end after I left positions of control. Though it saddened me as if all my work and dedication had been for nothing, I moved on to other things. Some times you just have to let it go.

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    1. That's exactly how I felt the day they told me it was going to end during the summer. Like all that hard work I put in was for nothing but then I thought hard about it. I realized we each touched each other's lives in some meaningful way. We've left an imprint on each other. That's priceless.

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  17. Unfortunately, that's how things go, and I could go on, but I'm not going to.
    I'll say this, though, it's likely that some of the other members resent you for quitting all the tasks you shouldn't have been doing alone; it's like when people feel entitled to things that are being given to them without them doing anything to earn those things.
    There have been studies.

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    1. It's possible people in the group resent me stepping down but if they do, they haven't said anything. The people who stepped up to volunteer expressed how much they appreciated the work I'd done. I explained to those who talked to me that I was beginning to resent the work I'd done and that was why I stepped down and they understood. I agree that in today's society, there is a huge mentality of entitlement. It seems that my sons' generation is the worst. What does that say about the people my age who raised them?

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  18. It seems like you were the beacon for the meetings and so many people love to go to these things but most do not want the responsibility or to give time. I believe that you will find this will either continue on or you will find another.Maybe, if i dare to say, you may find that you will resume it but delegates o you don't have all the work on your shoulders. When one delegates another person will be quicker to take on a task if they realize it must be that way. I have had things come to an end and I felt lost at first but later, I found something else and realized it was even better. When looking back, without the emotion attached to it ending, I could see that it wasn't the healthiest in the long run and it helped send me toward a better direction. At this time, who knows but it will become more clear as times passes

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    1. You can dare say. :) You're right about delegating. As a manager, I found a task got done faster if I delegated responsibilities. But, with an anon group, we can't delegate. The traditions state that there are no leaders, just trusted servants. We are told to give to others what has been so freely given to us - meaning sponsorship and volunteering. But, we can't say, hey chick, you need to do this. People have to volunteer for positions. Maybe it will pick up after the summer. If not, I'm grateful I met the people I did and made friends too.

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  19. Too bad it had to stopped but you are right, you can't bear the whole responsibilities on your shoulder ~ Everyone has to step up, even for a bit of time ~ As in any group running on volunteers, things come and go quickly ~ Perhaps if you can find another group to team up (I don't know if this is feasible), then the burden of running things can be shared ~

    Thanks for sharing your personal insights Elsie ~ Have a lovely week ~

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    1. It's very feasible for me to find another group. It won't be an S-Anon group but another anon group where I may find people who have been through the same thing as me. You never know! Enjoy your week, Grace!!

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  20. Hi Elsie,

    Sometimes something coming to an abrupt end opens up other positive possibilities. I understand how much your meetings mean to you. Hopefully, because it's a vital resource in your life, it will return as planned. I also know that one can get cocooned into a comfort zone. I experienced a cocooning of sorts when I was a mental health counsellor. I needed a balance because I became an emotional sponge.

    All the best and good luck.

    Gary :)

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    1. Hi Gary!

      You bring up a very valid point about becoming an emotional sponge. When I first became a sponsor, I had a difficult time separating myself from other's stories. I took them on as my own along with their worries and fears. I had to learn how to detach myself from them so I wouldn't take on their emotions.

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  21. I like your favorite saying, never heard that before. I've had a lot of things (and people) I care deeply about suddenly disappear. I guess we all have. Most recently, my two wonderful writing partners suddenly decided our group was done. I was devastated. A few months later, I'm finding my way on my own, realized it's probably for the best. What we have to go through in the meantime is not short of a heartache. But we do learn to take better care of ourselves. Right, Elsie? Right, self? !! Smiles.

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  22. First of all, is that snow in your background?

    Anyway, I'm sorry. That has got to be frustrating. Especially when it is something so beneficial.

    And yes. I have had something I love end abruptly. And it almost killed me.

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  23. Dear Elsie Im really sorry for you.
    I hate when some things finish but I had learn maybe the things doesn't finish only CHANGE.
    Sometimes is a group that isbnot more or s person you are close and when something happens really you noticed he or she doesn't. Changes that sometimes we dont understand but Im sure God has something for you dear Elsie:)
    Hugss
    ♡♥

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  24. "Those were things I chose to do and I shouldn’t expect them to do the same.... How much that statement applies to me too I can't even begin to share. It hard to let go. It's hard to lose control. Control I have come to learn is but an illusion ;) I hope you're doing fine.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.