I recently was asked to lead at an online meeting. This is what I said about loss and grief. Then, I asked some of you to share your responses, and you did!
Spencer on Loss and Grief
Thank you, Jo. thank you for inviting me. I have some gratitude that today is a holiday in the USA so that, I'm not at work, which I normally would be at two o'clock in the afternoon, which is what it is for me here in Michigan. and that I'm able to share something with you. When Jo asked me to speak, I thought, what am I gonna talk about?
And then of course I let it go. And this morning when I had this panic at noon, my time that I thought, oh, no, the meeting is starting and I'm not there. I realized I hadn't thought about a topic. So I said, what's going on in my life right now. And one of the things that is going on in my life right now, and has been part of my life for a while now is, loss and grief. So I thought I'd share some experience, strength and hope, my experience, strength and hope, on that topic.
And I'm gonna be reading, from this Al-Anon book a little bit, it's called Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses, and it is a book about loss and grief and, how, we can move through them, move into them, with , the tools of Al-Anon recovery. And I will note that this book has very recently been made available as an ebook also. So if that is your preferred mode of reading, go buy it at Amazon or apple or nook or wherever else eBooks are sold.,
So I wanna start with a reading. and this is a reading that I was at a point in my life where I didn't know that I was grieving. And I, for some reason I picked up this book and different parts of this book have spoken to me at different times in my life. But when I opened the book .
There's a section titled the recurring nature of grief. It's right at the beginning of the book, page 14, it says it is often these little changes that catch us by surprise. They seem to come out of nowhere. The day in and day out, disappointments of living with an alcoholic can become commonplace until one day we wake up feeling the effect of all those small losses.
Why, we wonder, do we suddenly feel sad about our situation, especially when we may have spent months or even years living this way. Many of us have lived with the notion that grief is something we feel when we have lost something tangible when someone has died or gone away. In Al-Anon. We learn that though the alcoholic may still be living, he or she isn't able to be fully present emotionally, spiritually, or even physically.
Recognizing that we are not living the lives we had planned or hoped for, with the person we love is a loss that occurs gradually. Each day, we lose a little bit more until what remains is merely a shadow of the person or life we thought we knew. Living with ongoing grief of this kind can be particularly trying.
I'm gonna come back to that reading where I wanted to start actually was this recognition that I had, when I read that passage, that I was grieving the loss of, of something that had been part of my life that had been really important in my life for a long time. and I had recently returned from a conference, for this particular hobby that I was involved in.
And while I was at that conference, I just wasn't getting the enjoyment out of it that, that I used to get, and I didn't understand why not. And I was feeling very restless, irritable, and discontent during the conference. And I came home and I picked up this book a few days later and I read that and recognized that I was no longer as deeply involved in this and that I'd been gradually withdrawing from it for quite a while. And it took this conference where there were, several hundred people,