Thursday, July 26, 2007

Adult Child of an Alcoholic

I experienced a real epiphany this past week. For the past year, I’ve been working very hard at my sobriety, spending a lot of time in meetings, doing service work, reading, writing, and trying to turn my will over to God. But this past weekend I realized that alcohol was but one of my problems, and that being the adult child of an alcoholic also accounted for many of the issues I still face.

It all started with a disagreement between me and the woman I love. She sort of took my emotions on a rollercoaster ride, probably not intentionally but because her emotions were on the same rollercoaster. After the ride let out, she told me she needed space, and that she wasn’t going to communicate with me for a while. I guess I felt after taking me for the ride, it was her responsibility to be there for me, when really her only responsibility is taking care of herself and her sobriety.

I talked about this during a meeting (while carefully protecting her anonymity), and was basically told that she deserves space if she needs it, and that I need to respect it. But I was also told that during this period, our friendship was in hiatus, and I needed to look after my own needs, take my own space, and evaluate if I want her in my life. Many people commented that our relationship does not seem healthy, and I needed to get away.

The suggestion was made that I should attend an ACOA meeting. Now I know both my parents drink sometimes, and that they also do some drugs, but I don’t consider either one to be alcoholics. I do consider my father’s side of the family to all be alcoholics or addicts, but I guess I never saw him that way. Still, I was always told to take suggestions, so I decided to hit the meeting.

The meeting begins with the reading of common characteristics among ACOAs, and the Problem. The crazy thing is that everything mentioned described me to a tee. It was crazy! I mean, here I’m thinking this meeting wouldn’t apply to me, and yet within 5 minutes I know I’m right where I need to be, and that in that program lies the answer to many of the problems that AA has not solved for me.

I’ve been to an ACOA meeting every day since, and learned so much about myself and the issues that still plague me. I know that this is exactly where I need to be, and what I need to pursue, in order to beat back the demons that still haunt me. And I’m sure that if I put as much effort into the ACOA program as I’ve always put into the AA program, better days are ahead of me.

Regarding the woman, I’m realizing that I’m willing to accept her not feeling the same way about me, and sometimes treating me poorly, and this has everything to do with my being an ACOA. So does my inability to express my own needs, and my guilty feelings when I do declare my needs. Plus, my absolute terror at the prospect of abandonment, and the crazy things I do when I feel abandonment coming, trace back to my ACOA. As do so many other things that make this a potentially unhealthy relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that these issues all come from me, and even when I perceive her to be treating me poorly, I am at fault, because I allow it to happen, and because I cling onto the relationship for dear life. But I do love her, and think that she’s the most amazing person, and that I’m blessed to have met her. I hope that one day we can enter into a healthy relationship. But this only can happen when I get healthy.

For now, I’m going to give her all the space she needs, hope to receive all the space I need, and work on myself. As part of that, I’m going to write posts on every one of the points brought up in the characteristics and the problem, and blog about what they mean to me. Also, I’ll keep reading, hitting meetings, and learning about what it means to be an ACOA. And maybe this will help me to be the type of person who could be a positive influence in this woman’s life, and more importantly, to be of service to my God, myself, and all the people who have helped me become a better and healthier person.

Posted by Scottage at 1:48 AM / | |