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What To Say, Where To Start

Old 07-06-2008, 10:58 AM
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What To Say, Where To Start

Okay, so I had been posting mostly in the "friends and family" section, due to my breakup with my ABF.

In dealing with the grief, I called a depression hotline, and got a therapist that happened to be trained in addiction. I told him I'm an ACOA, and based on the bits I told him about me, my situation with exBF, and how I was constantly saying "I might sound stupid", "This is dumb", "I'm not supposed to feel, ", he read me like a book. Not in a bad way, but in a very validating way.

I've been avoiding dealing with the ACOA stuff, but I think it's high time now. Just this phone session this weekend has shown me how much of my personality, and character has been formed/deformed by my childhood, and adult abuses from my "parents". (who are no longer in my life, by my choice).

So, I don't know where to start. What do I start sharing about? Do I just share stuff as it comes to mind? Can I comment on other's stuff?f

You know even as I type this, I feel silly for being so vulnerable, but I keep reminindg myself, that I'm allowed to feel how I feel.

Oh, also, I noticed there's a section for "meeting". Are they online meetings in chat, or how does that all work? I'd like to chat, and make some friends here.
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:29 PM
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It was a huge eye-opener to come here for the first time and find an entire community of people who had been "programmed" by alcoholism in the family, just like I was. I was so grateful, but also confused......just like you, needtolearn, I wondered where to start.

There is no "right" thing to do here. There are lots of good people who, like the hotline person, would recognize your words right away as those of a person whose life had been affected by alcohol or addiction. We have all gone through hell, and the beautiful thing is that many of us are standing on the other side of the storm now, living proof that we CAN take this on, and get better.

Maybe, if you feel you need a place to start, tell us about yourself? What has brought you here, looking for support? What has your life's road been like? What kind of changes would you like to make in yourself, so you can have a better life?

Hugs and welcome
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:54 PM
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Just like GiveLove, the first time I saw the 13 common characteristics of ACoAs (which are stickied at the top of this forum), I had a flash of insight. By then I'd been in and out of therapy, oh, probably 7 - 8 years total, but I had been working on each issue as a separate and independent issue. It wasn't until I saw that list that a blinding light of insight went off in my head. I printed out the list, took it to my therapist with 11 of the 13 circled and said "Pick one, let's get started". All those years in therapy and I still hadn't managed to put it all together. That was 2 years ago, and I am absolutely amazed at how much further I've gotten since then than in all the other years combined.

So. Where to start? Well, I started with therapy and no direction other than to "not be how I am". You have a direction and a good grasp on what's going on. So you're ahead of my curve, at least as far as that goes.

As far as this community, well, there isn't really a 'start'. I started posting here when I was on the verge of going no contact with my parents. I needed people who understood why I would even consider it to bounce ideas off of, and was nudged (firmly but gently) by a friend of mine who had gone no contact with her A brother. While our paths weren't the same, and I am still in contact with my parents, there are now boundaries set and maintained in my relationship with them - oddly enough, none of them have to do with alcohol, they all have to do with behaviors which occur whether they're drinking or not.

Then I would bring up various issues that I was dealing with. Or I would just read. Or I would respond to others with things I'd learned, not only to help them, but to keep my new set of emotional tools at the ready. Sometimes people would bring things up that I didn't know what to do with in my own life, and those I would take to my therapist.

Right now, I'm still working on how to parent my inner child. Having never been a parent and having never had good parenting skills modeled for me, I have no idea how to go about being loving and accepting and supportive to myself. I am learning this now.

I see being an ACoA as having a bucket full of rusty nails that are no longer functional. Which nail should you throw away first? It really doesn't matter, as long as you're working towards throwing them away one at a time. And the closer you get to the bottom of the bucket, the more oddly shaped the nails become, until you marvel that it ever was a nail to begin with.

So I say start at the top of the bucket. What's causing you the most irritation/annoyance/unhappiness at the moment? Post it in a thread and folks will chime in.

I will warn you that this forum get somewhat slow traffic, so you if don't get a response right away, check back in a day or two. Sometimes it takes a while for us to formulate a reasonable response. For me, I like to think about my response before saying it, so I may take a day or two after reading before I'll reply.

But trust that it is highly unlikely that you can say anything at all that any of us will find "silly". When I first started counseling, I literally could not tell people "no". If they wanted me to do something with them, and I didn't want to, I'd say "yes" anyway. Sounds silly to non-ACoAs, but to us ACoAs who were never allowed to set boundaries and "no" was not an option, we understand. We've been there. We're all still there to some degree or other.
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Old 07-06-2008, 05:24 PM
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Thanks for the post.

I'll reply by saying briefly, because I'll do a full post later about the "parents", that I'm a 36 yr old single. I thought for the longest that addiction had been part of the family for 25 years, but hanging out here, learning, and putting "2 plus 2" together, I see that the addictions were more like 30 years at least. The funny thing is that the first tramatic incident that I remebered in my childhood life happened when I was 6!

It's like a lightbulb went off! I literally thought to myself, "Wow, they've actually been addicts for 30 years. How old was I 30 years ago? Sheesh, I was SIX!!!!".

Ding dong, bells ringing in my head!

Since I'm on it, I'll kill two birds, and share what happened. When I was SIX YEARS OLD FOLKS, my parents decided to leave me alone for hours with my baby brothers, NO BABYSITTERS, while they went to the nightclub on base (as my father was in the Air Force at the time).

My brothers were all of maybe 9-10 months old and the other one barely 2 years old. There was no furniture in the house either, because we had just moved in. They laid a blanket on the floor, told me to stay with my brothers, and left. I just kept wondering when they would come back. Time went on and on. My baby brother was crying and messed his diaper. My middle brother threw up. I distinctly remember wanting to change the pamper, but I didn't see any pampers. I remember thinking I should do something about the "sick", but I just sat there with those crying, sick babies not knowing what to do, and wondering where the heck were my parents.

Shortly after this incident, I remember I was shipped off to my grandmother's, where I lived for almost 2 years. I never knew why till later. (!)

But can you, the reader, see SOOOOOO MANY ACOA character patterns that I was being set up for?

Anyway, I see a lot of people talking about "no contact". I'll really be needing support in that area, as my parents are on permanent "no contact". I simply choose not to have them in my lives anymore. They checked out of my life a long time ago anyway; I felt the need to make it official for myself, due to their continued utter lack of respect, and regard for me.

I look forward to sharing in the "love", and support, thanks for reading :ghug
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:39 PM
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Hey there NeedTo, and welcome to this little corner of recovery

Looks like you gotta great start already.

Originally Posted by needtolearn View Post
...But can you, the reader, see SOOOOOO MANY ACOA character patterns that I was being set up for?....
Oh boy I sure can!!! I was abandoned by my parents too, and not always at home. My _earliest_ memories are of being abandoned. After awhile I caught on, and realized that keeping my mouth shut and _not_ telling who I was or what my phone number was guaranteed a lot of candy, attention and the ocassional trip to an amusement park. As I got older that turned into running away from home, first time was at age 12.

Do you think I might have trouble forming lasting relationships? * lol *

Originally Posted by needtolearn View Post
...Anyway, I see a lot of people talking about "no contact". I'll really be needing support in that area, as my parents are on permanent "no contact". I simply choose not to have them in my lives anymore. They checked out of my life a long time ago anyway; I felt the need to make it official for myself, due to their continued utter lack of respect, and regard for me....
I did that too. Not very well at first, but after many failures I finally made it stick. One of the best things I ever did for myself, and my marriage.

Originally Posted by needtolearn View Post
...I look forward to sharing in the "love", and support, thanks for reading
We got lots and lots of that. Have a

Mike
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:55 PM
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Thanks guys!
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