I appreciate all the feedback I have gotten on these blog post. Please share, please discuss! This is a dialog that needs to continue.
I am currently in recovery, recovery from years of trauma and abuse. I am not a victim but a daily survivor. What I have been through cannot be cured with a few sessions on a sofa in a shrinks office. It is a journey, one day at a time journey. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I feel healthy and fine, sometime I miss events because I am at home trying to manage my emotions.
I have participated in therapy and even recently graduated with a B.S. In Human Services, I continue to be in awe of what a human being can endure and still recover, thrive and give back.
During years of therapy I developed tools to aid in maintaining my sanity and trying to establish healthy relationships. Every time I felt like I have it all wrapped up I realize that there are still pieces missing.
While studying within the mental health field I learned a lot about twelve step programs and AA groups. I tipped toed around this part of my coursework and avoided engaging in anything to do with substance abuse unless I had too.
Why? Because I am terrified of addicts! My life from an early age has been destroyed by addicts and alcoholics. I find it hard to understand addiction as a disease and go out of my way to avoid it.
Recently this year I turned a corner, even thought I have managed to escape substance abuse problems and don’t have much direct contact with any addicts or alcoholics. I realized that I was still affected by the abuse and chaos I had to live through while these people where still in my life.
Two days after my 6th birthday I got the gift of a mentally unstable addict and alcoholic 18 year old stepfather. My mother blamed his behavior on drugs and alcohol, our life was a hot mess, never ending drama and chaos. Mum taught me that if the drinking and drugging stopped, everything would be fine. She spent the majority of my childhood bouncing between desperately trying to control him, pouring out alcohol she found, flushing his stash, staying on top of what he was doing and who he was with. Screaming at him and punishing him nonstop. Or she was too overwhelmed and depressed to get out of bed. Either way she wasn’t avalible to care and nurture her two young daughters and we had the pleasure of being pulled along.
This issue came up again in my child marriage, if he didn’t drink or do drugs things would be fine and it was my job to control him and keep him in check. I would find his stash, flush it and lecture him on it just like my mother had. I wasn’t concerned with caring for myself or making sure my needs were met. My whole life was about keeping him from harming himself. This behavior of mine had gone on in varous relationships until I married Nick in 2007.
Nick doesn’t drink or do drugs, he is kind and not abusive. He is not perfect, but no one is. Most importantly he generally manages himself just fine and let’s me manage myself.
After being married to nick for almost ten years and for the most part peacefully raising the kids I realized that I have focused so much on not doing certain things, that I have ignored some bad habits of my own and I need to address them.
I have been a mother for almost 17 years now and spent most of that time just trying to keep my kids away from addicts, trying to create the best environment for them to thrive in and meeting their needs as much as I am able, in doing this I have neglected myself way to much.
So I started Al-anon, many of the concepts I had already been applying to my life I just didn’t have them neatly labeled. I think this will be a good journey and in the last month I have already seen a benifit in my household. The biggest take away; I still struggle with self esteem, I still don’t feel like I am worth love and care. This is not behavior I want to model for my kids.
In closing I will share two things that happened recently; my mother was in the hospital for a few days, upon returning home she was all in a flurry over what her ex-husband was doing, trying to control him. I suggested she not worry about what he is doing and what she can not control and instead focus on healing her sick body. I’m pretty sure I was blown off.
Secondly, I informed my mother that I would not discuss my blog post with her. End of story. However she did talk about it with my oldest daughter who informed me that my mother was concerned that I labeled my abusive first husband as a drunk. Really?? This shit still pops up!
I’ll leave you with this;
” I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it.