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Adult Children of Alcoholics - Page 4
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  1. #61

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    I agree 100% with inner child work for me it was an essential part of what I needed to put the puzzle back together. It seems impossible for ACOA'S to not have suffered some form of abuse,emotional ,physical,sexual. Abandonment,divorce some cases death.

    For me knowing the math helped, understanding the why, it took some time I'm in my 50's and can honestly say I forgive my mother now fully ,happened this year actually,my father well that still has a little work left but its not consuming. Often times Ive found it to be my inner child who holds the key to my next step of growth.

  2. #62
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    You worded it much better than I could have, Jim. We suppressed the child, once we are able to let the child out and explore, we learn all kinds of new things. Thank you!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  3. #63

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    I had a conversation one time with a fellow addict, he said my parents never drank, what is sometimes missed is a generation
    may not drink but however was impacted by an alcoholic and the imprint is passed down and not recognized for what it is.

    Unfortunately knowing this individual more than I would like, I said you have low self esteem and not an understanding of self worth,you just married a woman who will never let you measure up because you could never meet the expectations of your father and you drown in self pity because that's how your mother responded to you and unfortunately you don't understand how toxic you have been and are to your own adult children and the imprint you have had on their lives.

    The blank look on his face turned to shock and then he said how did you know all that....lived it

    Too me all addiction issues are a disease,where there is an addict, close by there will be a co-dependent or at one time there was. No one provides more drama for a co-dependent then an addict and an addict needs an enabler.

    Was working an event with my wife one time and this beautiful girl maybe 23 came up to the booth. I looked into her eyes and mine filled with tears she weighed maybe 85 lbs, full blown anorexic ....that disease is mind boggling. I can understand all the
    other addictions but that has to be one of the worst.

    So what do we do, we fight, we win,we live life as it was meant to be.

  4. #64
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    My little girl (3 years old) has learned how to maneuver herself on a computer. She only has access to educational sites, and most of the time I am sitting right next to her. Last night, she wanted to get on the computer and watch "Baa Baa Black Sheep," so I gave her a few minutes to play. I went to the bedroom to put away clothes and came back out to check on her every so often. After a while, I said, "Ok, it's time to get our jammies on and brush our teeth." She said to me, "I just want to watch one more, Mommy, and then I'm done." I said, "Ok, just one more..." and waited. She watched one more, then she "clicked the red X" (closed the window), turned down the volume, and got off the computer.

    Seems like such a menial thing to get excited about, but it really hit me. I gave her a little lee-way, and she kept her word. My childhood, and her daddy's, was full of broken promises, and while I noticed it in him more than myself, I have to admit that I was carrying on the tradition at least some of the time. He and I talked about it when she was not quite a year old... I told him she doesn't understand now, but one day she's going to know that we told her we'd do "this" and we didn't follow through. I don't want to disappoint her, and I don't want her to be that way, either. We both made a conscious effort not to say we'd do something if we weren't 100% positive we were going to follow through (not just the intention).

    I know it wasn't really "that big of a deal," but it just really made my night to see her do what she said she'd do, and yes, I thanked her for it. It kind of felt like we were breaking the cycle.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  5. #65
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    That's awesome Erin!

  6. #66

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    Hey Erin, myself and my daughters mother ex wife now, we also recognized the parts of our upbringing that we did not want to pass on (I )more than their mother, (she had a lot of denial issues) still does lol but the point is you can change the patterns... we did, my 3 daughters show no sign of addiction they neither smoke or drink and stay drama free, all have professional careers and generally are living a quality life.

    At different times Ive shared my history with them and they said dad we never knew that. I said you were not supposed to,
    acknowledging past... issues.... and working from there, that's all we did along with commitment and consistency.

  7. #67
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    Thanks, Jim!! Really inspiring to hear you were able to break the patterns with your own daughters. I keep a journal for my daughter. I put funny things she did or said, milestones, and important events in it. I also share things with her that I want her to know, but not necessarily until she's closer to being an adult. For example, how things were when I was a child growing up in an alcoholic home, and why I try so hard to correct it for her. And my battle with weight issues, and her daddy's battle with bipolar disorder, so if she ends up dealing with anything similar in the future (hopefully NOT), she will know she's not just "weird" and hopefully have some tools to help her along. Plus, not a lot was written down from my family's past, and now that I'm older, I kind of wish it had been.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by carol View Post
    So I alternated for a while between feeling the anger of that time in the past, realizing it was really rage, but underneath the rage was tremendous sadness, and living in today where I'm a 60-year old grownup. I thought of a sermon I heard based on the sports analogy of the highlights they show of the game. Point was you can think of the lowlights of your life or focus on the highlights instead, and we all have both. There were definitely highlights in my childhood as well. I just had never felt the enormous sadness and loneliness my brother must have felt as the older kids left one by one leaving him to suffer the lowlights, so to speak, all alone. All us kids are high achievers, all of us have varying degrees of baggage. After my divorce almost 25 years ago I did a lot of work to face my issues and grow, found out about the whole concept of ACAs, which it turned out one of my sisters was practically an expert on, and it helped a lot. I continued to use those tools. Unfortunately one of the coping mechanisms I used was drinking which of course got progressively worse, and now I've created another generation of ACAs, more's the pity. At least they have seen me stop and grow.

    At some point in the last year or two, after putting down a good foundation of sobriety, I forgave my mom. She has mellowed a lot. At this point if you met her you'd say, oh she's just old, older people get like that. But it's hard to have that perspective because of past hurts. I told my husband yesterday that the way I'm getting along fine is to act like I'm a 10 year old child before I started rebelling and do whatever she tells me to do. That was before I remembered that my 10 year old child was not so innocent.

    So blah, blah, blah, how do I hold this? The only problem with the highlights approach is if you take it to the limit it invalidates the lowlights. Yet letting the lowlights be the story is being trapped in the anger and disappointment of the past. While feeling that rage and then sadness, I asked myself if I still forgive my mom. The answer came back yes. And I think that forgiveness helps free me.

    I've also learned, and am still learning a lot, about boundaries. From what I've learned and experienced, ACAs are boundaryless. Setting boundaries is critically important to me and a key element in preventing relapse for me. A couple of visits ago, my mom was really mean and said some things I won't repeat that in anyone's book are unacceptable. I did the usual yelling and screaming, but then I also put my foot down and told her that if she continued I would book a flight and go home. It wasn't an idle threat. My hubby is the most kind-hearted person you'll ever meet, and he was truly shocked by what she said, and supported me. It didn't come to that, but I think it was a turning point.

    I don't want to just peanut-butter over this memory but I also won't let the past hold power over me. It feels like there's still a lesson here to learn, I just don't know what it is yet.
    Back from another weeklong visit to mom's. They are getting easier as she is mellowing and I am calmer and better about boundaries before the shit hits the fan. Back home, I had a dream about something she had done in the past, woke up feeling bad. I remembered posting here that I had forgiven her and went and found this. I think one of the lessons is that forgiveness isn't an event but a process. And by forgiving my mom, I am learning to forgive myself, which is freeing.

  9. 06-20-2014

  10. #69

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    I said no yesterday to a volunteer activity. Mind you I'm organizing a different activity on Saturday that's taken off like wildfire and have a board meeting on Sunday. Still, it's something I usually would have said yes to.

    Last month I ended up way overcommitted, plus I had out of town family health issues to deal with, and I started feeling overwhelmed. I fulfilled my major commitments, delegated a little, got help with the family and travelled to help myself. Family is all better, some remaining issues but more help came and I'm optimistic. After a week of recovering myself enough to think, I decided this was my month to say no. This is not something I've ever done. The aforementioned Saturday and Sunday events were things I had previously committed to. I have my head enough above water I'm looking forward to them.

    Saying no is important to me for a couple of reasons. First, boundary setting. For the first time reader of this thread, ACAs have issues with setting and holding to boundaries. Learning how to set boundaries and take care of myself is something I've done pretty well with, but still can be hard. The second is that for a while in July I was so overwhelmed I thought about the possibility of a relapse. I didn't think about drinking, that's not what I mean. I'm aware that relapse is possible, the odds are toward relapsing, but on a day to day basis I can't imagine going down that path ever again. But that feeling of overwhelm carried with it the feeling of risk - oh, if I let myself be like this all the time I could see the possibility of relapsing to make the overwhelm go away. Much, much better to recognize it and recognize that I need to practice boundary setting again!

    So even though I do feel a bit guilty about saying no, I'm holding to my "this is my month to say no".

  11. #70
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    Good for you, Carol!! It's uncomfortable, especially at first, for someone that never says no to decline anything. I know that. For me, I know I need to back off a little when I start agreeing to do things, and then resenting the person I'm doing them for. Then it's not coming from a place of love, it's from a place of duty or obligation. I wouldn't want anyone to do something for me if they were going to resent doing it, so it's kind of an unselfish-selfish act.

    I'm happy for you setting the "just say no" month goal and sticking to it!!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  12. #71

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    My father was a gentleman drunk. Although I have no horrifying tales, I have learned through therapy that the resulting emotional neglect had been running my life.

  13. #72
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    *Apologies for the swears, but it's how I feel*
    (This is from a blog I posted on a health & fitness site. Most of you have probably already heard some of this before.)

    I haven’t been logging my food because I am ashamed and SO TIRED of the same little merry-go-round I’ve been putting myself on. I will eat well all day, especially while at work, and then completely blow it at night. Even if I’m not hungry at all, in fact I can be extremely full, I will still reach for something to snack on.

    I’ve been really angry lately. I’m a very sensitive and emotional person, sometimes it takes me a long time to identify what it is that’s REALLY bothering me. For almost a month now, I’ve been just… pissed. I’m a very optimistic and happy-go-lucky person by nature. I don’t like carrying this negative energy around, but I’ve been having a hard time shaking it. I think I’ve finally pinpointed what I’m really mad at: My mom. My deceased mother, who passed away over three years ago.

    Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Let me explain. I’ve gotta back up a little (a lot) for it to make sense.

    My dad died when I was 9 years old – Jan. 8, 1991. And on Jan. 9, I discovered my mom’s first fifth of Southern Comfort in our deep freeze. And damn near every single night after that, for the next 20 years, there was a fifth of whiskey in that freezer.

    I will just go ahead and note here that there’s a whole lot of other issues that completely tie into my mom’s alcoholism, and the death of my father, that helped to build my unhealthy relationship with food. But that’s not the point of this particular post.

    My mom drank for 20 years straight. She was diagnosed on Mother’s Day of 2000 with diabetes. She got her eyes checked and her sight was blurry. They took her blood sugar level and it was OVER 800 (normal is like 85). She was told she should have been in a coma. Years later, she was hospitalized for a heart attack, diagnosed with congestive heart failure, underwent quadruple bypass surgery, and had two toes amputated. She had to stop driving because A – she wrecked her car so many times, and B – her glaucoma had all but blinded her by that time. Eventually she did get her glaucoma taken care of, and in spite of the drinking, it was amazing to see the sparkle in her eyes again (literally). NONE of this stopped her from drinking herself to death. She would put it down for a week or so after hospital stays, then promptly pick it up again.

    Fast-forward to Mother’s Day of 2010. I found out I was going to be a mother. I have PCOS and was told I couldn’t have kids, which was OK with me because I had always told myself I didn’t WANT kids… but if I ever had them, the kid comes first, because of how pushed to the side I felt throughout my own childhood.

    My little girl came into the world on Dec. 17, 2010. My mom came to visit about a week after I had my daughter. She held her, gave us a new dolly and outfit for my little girl, and checked out the room we had decorated for her. (I still have the doll and outfit, they will be in the hope chest for my girl when she’s older.) I remember it as clear as if it were yesterday, her sitting in the glider rocker, looking around the room, then looking at me and says, “You have a very nice little family, Erin. You should be proud.” I can almost still hear her saying it. It is probably the most meaningful thing she has ever said to me in my life.

    I was driving and missed a phone call from my mom at 1 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2011. I got another phone call from my mom’s house at around 6 p.m. that same night. This time it was my little brother, who had just walked in from work to find food cooking on the stove, and Mom face down and blue in her room. He’d called 911 but was pretty sure she was already gone.
    I had a not-quite-three-week-old little girl to take care of, so I put on my big girl panties and dealt with the loss of my mother – I feel, quite well. I’d already lost a parent once, at a young age, and I remember grieving in an unhealthy way – thus began my overeating, locking myself in the bathroom and hyperventilating, cutting myself, and other stupid shit. So comparatively, breaking down and crying now and then was nothing.

    Today...
    • I am house-hunting (which should be a happy occasion). Every time we find one we like, someone else already got it. Or it’s too far away. Or it’s in a location we don’t like.

    • I have a very beautiful, bright, enthusiastic-about-life three-year-old girl that has quite literally been my angel and my saving grace from day one. I don’t know how I would have reacted without knowing I needed to be strong for her. (My sister and brothers all got drunk the night Mom died – carrying on the tradition! I was breastfeeding or I probably would have partaken.) She is close to starting preschool, except there are roadblocks for it right now. My boyfriend’s family keeps her for us while we work – very thankful for them – but it’s not the ideal situation. My own siblings are unavailable for assorted reasons. I can’t really afford daycare right now. All of my friendships seem too superficial to ask for their help. I have one friend that has made an effort to maintain contact with me aside from Facebook.

    • My job denied me my first request for a raise in 15 years.

    Granted, there are a million things that could be worse about my life right now. (In fact, reading that, I nearly called myself a whiny little bitch.) It’s just seemed like the walls are closing in. “Normal Erin” takes it all in stride, shakes it off, learns a lesson from everything, seeks the signs in life. “Disgruntled Erin” has been more angsty than a 13-year-old listening to My Chemical Romance (are they even still around?). Everything irritates me, which in turn, gives me a good reason to stuff my face and sit on the couch feeling sorry for myself. And then I have the excuse to beat myself up about how I look and feel! Why have I been so irritable?

    Because… GOD DAMN IT, MOM, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN HERE WHEN I NEEDED YOU! Not when I was a kid. Not when I really WAS an angsty teenager. Not when I was pregnant. Not when I had a newborn baby to care for. And not now, when I feel completely alone and lost, and I need my mom! I haven’t been able to share any of my frustrations, joys, fears, Proud Mommy Moments… never really had a mother-daughter relationship much at all with my mom.

    I don’t know how to ask for help, writing this post out is INCREDIBLY uncomfortable. I don’t admit weakness or failure readily – it reminds me that I’m no better than anyone else. If I had friends that really wanted a close relationship with me, I wouldn’t know how to accept it, anyway! I keep everyone at an arm’s length, with the exception of that little girl that I pour my heart and soul into. Even as much as I love my boyfriend of 7 years, I’m afraid to trust him completely. Seven years is too long to know someone and not trust them.

    Not her fault that she’s dead, I know that. But I have felt so, so alone, and I just realized that I’ve felt alone for a long time. And I’m so mad at her for KNOWING what was killing her, and yet continuing to do it!

    And then, I look at myself. The way I punish myself - destroy myself - with my eating, and then the resultant way I think of myself… it’s my poison. I know it’s not good for me, I know it eventually would bring me down the same path as the one I resent that my mom took. But I still do it.

    Do I think overeating is on the same level as alcoholism or drug addiction? No, but am I any better if I keep doing something I know is ruining my health, and robbing my daughter of her mother?

    I don’t think I finished grieving my mom’s death. I think I put it on hold because my daughter needed me every moment of every day. Now that she’s becoming more independent, I guess it’s time to get back to fixing what’s broken.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  14. #73

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    Oh, Erin, my heart goes out to you!

    Thank you for sharing - I know it must have been hard to out all that out there but I agree with you that letting it out can help the healing process.

    You've had to do it all yourself, and you have done a great job! I am so glad you have that moment with your mom that she said she was proud of you. That may be the only time she said it but you should know she must have thought it many times!

    More in a minute. . .

  15. #74

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    Continuing. . .

    It sucks that your job won't give you a raise! They probably added on that there are many who would be grateful to have a job so too bad, so sad.

    You've got to trust your gut. There are reasons you don't trust your boyfriend, even after 7 years, and there are reasons you stay together anyway. Let it be. It's ok to just let it be.

    Moving into problem solving mode. . .

    Would having a house help with the preschool dilemma? I'm just guessing that proximity may be an issue. I seem to remember you're way out in the country. Will having a house increase or decrease your financial concerns? I know sometimes rent is actually more than buying, there's the tax deduction and all that. It sounds like this is a dream for you and something you want.

    And out of problem solving mode. . .

    I only know you through this forum, so you will discount what I'm about to say and tell me that if I knew you in real life I wouldn't see you this way, but here's how I see you. You are a caring, compassionate woman who has had to be strong to survive yet who still has the ability to care. You have a hard time giving because you've had to do it all with no help, but you are able to give to your daughter and to us here. You are giving your daughter that all-important foundation of love which will last her a lifetime. And we are grateful for your help and support here.

    It's ok to be angry!!!!! It's ok to feel! It's ok to let that sad little girl out to play. It's ok to cry. I wish I could give you a great big hug right now.

    Thank you for trusting us with your heartfelt post.

    I wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all better! I don't have a magic wand but I am sending good wishes and blessings your way!

    Carol

  16. #75
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    Today is 4 years since Mom died. Thursday will be 24 years since Dad died. Today, I have my moments of reminiscing and I wish they were here to enjoy my daughter with me, but really... I feel very peaceful inside. I have been doing my own soul-searching, "Higher Power" searching, looking for what works for me... I know who I am and what I believe and what life is all about to me. I have referred to some of the people on this site that have been sober for a long time as "evolved," and in a way I feel like I've reached another level of evolution.

    I just looked back at what I posted five months ago, and I remember it, but it seems like so long ago. Almost a different person. One of the biggest lessons I've learned so far is your own personal happiness does not rely on anyone but you. It doesn't matter if another person is doing, saying, or acting a way that bothers you. Your happiness lies 100% in how YOU react to it. My mom wasn't around last August, but I still blamed her for me being unhappy. It wasn't a bad thing, it just was - I had to experience it to get past it. But if you still keep something or someone - in my case a family member - at the forefront of your mind, even if you want to be separated from them, they will still rule your emotions. You can't change another person, you can only change yourself. My surroundings didn't change - I still work at the same place, still haven't received a raise, live with the same family in the same area (although we did buy a house!), hang out with the same friends. Life isn't perfect... but life IS perfect. I don't think it would have mattered if I'd moved to Hawaii and had a million dollars to blow if my mind was still caught up in my anger. And in a way, that kind of ties in with surrender and acceptance. "OK - this happened. This person IS this way. There is nothing I can do about it. What am I going to do with ME from here?"

    Carol, thank you for your reply to me! Your response was absolutely correct. It's ok to let it all be, and it's ok to feel it all. You can't defeat the dragon if you keep running away from it. If you stop fearing it, it gets smaller and smaller and eventually disappears.

    Will all those feelings come back again one day? I don't know. They could. But I've never felt the calm inside of me that I feel now, ever before. I feel like I've moved ahead a level, but only just now have begun my journey. I guess that makes sense, if you put down the ball and chain, it's a whole lot easier to walk.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  17. #76
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    Erin,
    So proud of you for your attitude and maturity.. I'm on the otherside of that coin.. I'm the drunk that seems to have stopped drinking before my short comings influenced my children in a negative way.. Or, by just dumb luck, was able to hide it from them and not make them endure it as you did..Your strength and ability to forgive, I shall always respect..
    You friend

    Chad
    Last edited by Chad; 05-22-2015 at 01:37 PM.
    “Well, if it can be thought, it can be done, a problem can be overcome”

  18. #77
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    A couple days ago was the 5-year anniversary of Mom's passing, and today is 25 years since Dad's passing. I did have a day just before Christmas where I felt a little melancholy, but it quickly went away when I saw the joy and excitement on my little girl's face because SANTA IS COMING!! I've said since the very beginning that she's been my angel, and it's still true.

    I had quite a few people come up to me on Monday and say they were sorry, or that they were thinking of me, or that their heart hurts for me on this day. I always appreciate when people think of me, but this year was so different! I almost felt like I should feel guilty for as serene and happy as I felt! I have completely forgiven my mom, and not only that, I THANK HER for how my life was. If I hadn't gone through that, I wouldn't be where I am now. Do I still wish I could hear her voice, have her physically here and know her granddaughter? Of course - in a way. My mom, the mom I remember from my childhood, died a long time before she left the earth. The mom I had for the last 20 years of her life did not know joy. She was suffering. She didn't even want to be here. Now she is free, wherever she is... which I don't think is ever very far... and she's with the man she missed for so long. How could I NOT be happy for her? It wouldn't truly be love for her if I wished her to still be here physically. It would be selfishness. My little girl DOES know who her Mimi is, even if she can't meet her in person. We carry on little traditions that I remember from my own childhood. I provide for her everything I was lacking as a little girl. That I am able to do that for her... I will be forever grateful!

    So, for me, this week in January will from now on be a celebration of my parents' lives and their reunion. I know if I could see Mom's face right now, she would be grinning from ear to ear to hear that.

    This journey never ceases to amaze me. I look at the post I left a year ago on this thread, and I thought I had it all figured out. Now I realize that I will never have it all figured out, but I will keep discovering along the way, and I'm excited to keep moving forward!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  19. #78

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    Erin, I'm so pleased with your growth! I love the idea of celebrating your parents' lives and treasuring the good parts.

    My mom is still alive. She hasn't drunk in many years now, but although she has thankfully mellowed, the old patterns of behavior are still pretty ingrained. Like you, I have forgiven her. That was hard but freeing. It's still hard when I visit sometimes to not fall back into dysfunction, but I'm better at setting boundaries and taking care of myself, which makes me better able to take care of her.

    I can just imagine your daughter's smile! I'm so glad you're happy.

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