Addictions are the bandage covering the wound of not feeling worthy. I just discovered in 2010, that my primary addiction was to my family of origin—the family I grew up in. I have a picture of myself at age 5 which is about when I started thinking that I was terribly unfit to be in this family. There was always fighting, drama and violence. We had our loving times, too. I believe that my parents did the best they could. When describing those years, I love what ACA says about The Problem: “This is a description, not an indictment.”
How I Knew
“We don’t receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” Marcel Proust
Three things happened that helped me to see my alcoholism. The first was that my father (who was a periodic alcoholic) had long periods of being dry. Yet when he returned to drinking, he was always in worse shape.
One night, he had a really bad night from drinking and I stayed up to try to help him. I now know that he was having the DTs. The next day, I knew that I never wanted to go through what he had.
The second thing happened when Jonathan Winters was on Johnny Carson’s show. Jonathan had quit drinking. Johnny insisted that Jonathan could have a little wine on Thanksgiving. Jonathan said, “No. You don’t understand. I’d have a little wine and then a little scotch, and suddenly it’s Tuesday.”
The third experience was one fall day, my husband and I had taken our daughter to a park. The two of them were having a great time on the swings. I was miserable–it was too hot for me–I was tired–We had been there too long–I was thirsty. Suddenly, I looked at them and realized that they had something that I didn’t have. I didn’t know what it was–but I wanted it.
Finally, on thanksgiving Day, 1976, I broke down and told my family that I believed I was an alcoholic. My mother cried and said,”O, honey, I’ve been afraid of that.” I went to AA the next day.
How did you know?
What I Believe
You tend to think that your beliefs are rigid or unchanging. When what your belief is, is only a thought that you keep thinking. It's more like a habit of thought…
A Victory Celebration
All my writing and my life is dedicated to my wonderful parents, Roy and Grace De Long of Chester, W. Va. and Zephyrhills, Florida. We found our ways through the tragedies of addiction and mental illness. Hurray for us!
I am on the Alltop Recovery Page—-One of only 16 chosen sites.
ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) Changed My Life
The ACA Red Book gave me the blueprint to heal the negative emotional patterns I had learned in childhood. It was more important to me than any book I had ever read about recovery. I came to see that growing up in a home dominated by alcoholism overshadowed every other experience I had as a child.
So my primary addiction healing had to be changing those ways I had learned to cope in a family torn apart by a substance one family member chose to use to control his feelings of helplessness. Alcohol was in charge and we all learned ways to bend to its control.
The conflict between the two sides of self is one of strategy and not of intent. Both the adult and the child long for the love and respect necessary to sustain the human spirit but disagree on how to attain their desire; the child by hopefully waiting in isolation and the adult by rushing into frustrated action. In ACA we learn both strategies lead only to despair.
Ending our inner conflict depends on both the adult and the child recognizing the need for unity in recovery. By acknowledging their need for each other, the adult and the child create the sense of wholeness needed to fully respond to the world.
Mutual acceptance allows the child to see that the ability in trust is damaged but not broken and can be restored by gently and slowly emerging from the protective prison of isolation. The adult becomes aware of the spirit of joy that inhabits every child and recognizes the need for openness and spontaneity in feeling completely alive.
Why I love Helping Others
The main reason that I love helping others is because we are each born with a core of goodness from birth. I also believe that this core contains our creativity which is the source of our joy. I also believe that helping anyone find this creativity is the answer to awakening others to the beauty of himself/herself. Finally, I believe maturity is returning to the joyful, playful child that God created.