The battle for an Alcoholic is not with alcohol, it’s with pain. A deeply repressed pain, yet serves as the primary influencer when it comes to decision making for an Alcoholic. This suffering leaves you in despair for the antidote that too isn’t apparent.
I don’t think I will ever be able to decipher the origin of my pain, but as far back as I can remember, it was always with me. The illness constantly echoing to me that the world wasn’t safe, and no one will ever understand me. Thoughts that would lead the most social individuals into isolation. The varied attempts I took to silence this insidious dark companion were extreme.
Many people follow the trauma model in hopes of uncovering the roots of addiction, but I’ve always felt it wasn’t all-encompassing, and that it took much more than a reckoning with traumatic past to heal. Millions of people every year are subjected to trauma at a young age, and still somehow manage to go on to thrive and live in a well-adjusted manner.
While I wasn’t subjected to sexual or physical abuse growing up, I most certainly grew up in a household where shame and manipulative war tactics were heavily applied. This liberal application came on the hand of an emotionally unavailable and damaged mother. Her highly masked narcissism probably started off as a coping mechanism to help survive her very own upbringing, unfortunately, she remained deeply entrenched in this self-absorption, even to this day.
On a heredity standpoint Alcoholism also trickles down my family tree through my mother’s side, this too can’t be held responsible as the sole perpetrator of my Alcoholism either, sadly.
While I would love to place the blame for my suffering on my emotionally stunted parents, the whole balance of responsibility can’t be heaved on their shoulders either, for that would serve too easily as an avoidance tactic I would surely nurture. This revolving door of maladjustment and sickness is something most families tend to skip over, for when they even get the slightest glance at this awful truth, the odds of repair seem almost insurmountable and repression is then unconsciously activated again. The frailty of the human condition is understated.
The perpetual cycle of ineffective pain management strategies leaves a genetic imprint that goes unnoticed. Until one of the family members is gifted with the appropriate proportion of societal support, internal courage and unrelenting desire for change.
I would love to take the credit for my success in arresting this family disease, but hindsight has made it abundantly clear that I couldn’t have made much progress without the guidance of many mentors and an ethereal power.
At a meeting today, I was gifted with a beautiful analogy of how this ethereal source of connection works in AA and life. A fellow member described that meetings for him were like plugging into a computer mainframe, a collective source, and power far greatly than anything he could ever individually summon. This source holds all the code he would ever need to help him take the next right steps in his healing journey, if only he was willing to plug in.
As a sucker for analogy, and a partially aware techie, my heart was touched his share and subtle nudge toward the solution.
Can you relate?