Struggling with family stuff

Old 08-26-2013, 05:40 PM
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Struggling with family stuff

This is a rant... apologies for length but need advice badly. I am struggling with life at the moment generally, I am considering going back to my doctor's to discuss how I feel as I'm getting very depressed (especially as my therapist is away for a month). I'm in AA as I self-medicated with alcohol for years, but I feel at times as if the program does not help my ACOA issues (though staying sober does, definitely).

The reason I'm struggling I had a relative kill himself last month, he was an alcoholic. He had something happen to him as a child, and had long-term mental health issues along with the drinking. I was close to his mother and aunt, and I went to see them for the funeral and spend time. I found it all very triggering as it was like looking in a mirror as I stopped drinking after I'd self-medicated over childhood stuff, and I had to stop as I was worried I may eventually kill myself, so I had to stop. It was difficult seeing all their grief, and dealing with my feelings.

There is also something gone on with my dead father and something that happened from the past. My father's family that I went to see recently are not telling me and my siblings the truth about some issues from the past, they've alluded to events but then kept quiet. Some of the background is that my father was badly beaten as a child, he was a chronic alcoholic, and his behaviour caused shockwaves all around the family. He tried to kill himself, and his sisters either married alcoholics, or caused havoc themselves, it goes on, and on, and from generation to generation. There is a half sibling (my father's child) that is trying to contact us to find out "the truth" from the past (that none of my other siblings know either) but none of the relatives from my dad side have told us why certain things happened (I know it partly involves another suicide).

My eldest sister contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask how the funeral service with the relative had been, and to say the half-sibling we've never met has been in touch. My sister then suggested we should all sit down (as in me and the rest of the siblings) to decide on how to speak to our half-sibling. She has also suggested that we should all speak about our childhood experiences and how this has affected us (this is after a lifetime of her saying, "life goes on" and making it clear she had the worst childhood out of us all). I think this move from my older sister partly came about as younger brother is refusing to talk to her as she was critical to others. But I do appreciate my elder sister finally asking what it was like for me as a child with our parents, I was able to be open with her about some things. My eldest sister also wanted to contact family members to find out about what did or didn't happen in the past but that cannot happen now due to the recent bereavement.

I don't know what to do about this anymore but it's all getting to me. I have 2 very close friends, I said to one of them that I think I need to go to CODA or ACOA meetings. She told me that as my father died when I was 9 I wasn't brought up in an alcoholic household and that I should ignore my family and not talk about my childhood etc as it's dragging me down (my father's death did traumatise me as the circumstances were not great, my mother was generally not well and me and my siblings brought ourselves up due to neglect). The friend also said to me not to go to ACOA as she thinks I should stop focusing on alcohol (I think she's missing the point). She's also said that everybody has bad childhoods etc but I tried to explain that part of my upbringing means that I struggle feeling normal compared to others. My friend seems to think if I read The Secret and think positively everything will be okay. I think she just doesn't get it and perhaps I should not share ACOA stuff with her. I have shared this with another friend, she "gets" it but she's drugging and drinking herself at the moment. She understands why I need to know about the past but has said to me she thinks ACOA meetings would help me.

I don't know what to do. I haven't completed the steps in AA yet so initially I was going to hold-off but I am finding it hard to function due to family stuff at the moment. I can't work out if sitting in an ACOA meeting would help or not, or if I should just take the friend's advice to ignore it all. Can anyone empathise? Realistically, I don't think ignoring this stuff is going to help me, but I can't work out what to do with it all. I'm also beating myself up for feeling like this (as I'm thinking I should just be strong and not be depressed). I just feel like that if I do some ACOA work someone will say to me, "I get it, you're not crazy, and it will be okay". My "normal" friends don't seem to understand it when I'm finding it such hard going as I give up even describing my family as it sounds so nuts. I just yearn for a quiet life, I was building one but recently it's too much
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:34 PM
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I'm so sorry for all the stress you are going through, and for the friend who is the opposite of supportive. Of course you should go to ACOA or any other meetings that help you feel better!

Someone who wants you to just forget and move on is advising you from a selfish place. Your honesty and genuineness make her uncomfortable, perhaps because of issues she has not looked at from her own past. You are disturbing her denial, me thinks.

I hope you will find support and new friends at the other meetings, and I hope you will find some peace and comfort here on SR too.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by regeneration View Post
I don't know what to do about this anymore but it's all getting to me. I have 2 very close friends, I said to one of them that I think I need to go to CODA or ACOA meetings. She told me that as my father died when I was 9 I wasn't brought up in an alcoholic household and that I should ignore my family and not talk about my childhood etc as it's dragging me down
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! This "get over it and move on" stuff is typical Those People (pointing out window) talk.

I don't go to AA, but they don't deal with ACOA issues very well, because they generally consider it "avoiding responsibility" and "blaming someone else for your problems," which is hogwash. So what happens? My ACOA meeting gets overrun by AA guys who are finally overwhelmed with their ACOA issues, AA refuses to deal with them, and they swamp the ACOA meeting to where it's basically an AA meeting. But I digress.

Definitely go to ACOA and look for a sponsor. The yellow workbook is great -- very intense, not something to do on your own, but well worth it.

Good luck!

T
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:16 PM
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My older sister says the same thing, but she has never gotten to the point of actually talking about it, and still blames me and my sibs for my dad beating us. And then tells us to get over it. Well we have but it still comes up from time to time. You can't just ignore how you were raised and what hell you lived through. That's la la land thinking.

Have you read through our stickies above? If you have you will see in no time quick, that you are not alone and not crazy and that yes, we all do get it.

Do what you need to do for yourself, don't ask your friends who don't understand our lives.
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:35 PM
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I wanted to say a big thanks for everything you've said, it cheered me up immensely when I read them, all the comments on here made perfect sense to me, but because I doubt myself so much I tend to think I'm "wrong".

ACOAHappyNow, I think you are correct in saying I'm disturbing my friend's denial, I'd forgotten she was married to an alcoholic for nearly 20 years and had children, maybe that's also why she gets uncomfortable when I mention the effect my upbringing has had on me.

Tromboneliness, your comments made me smile. I was once told to get off the pity pot in AA when I was new as I shared I couldn't handle all my feelings about childhood issues now I was sober. Luckily, there was a guy there who was kind and told people to feel compassion, he was always a big help to me. I will definitely go to ACOA for the work I need to do.

Kialua, my brother thinks my elder sister will do the same as yours e.g. not much. I will read the stickies above, as I can't ignore my upbringing and need to talk about it with people who get it.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:22 AM
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Smile

Just checking in to see how you are feeling, Regeneration. We care about you!
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:56 AM
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Aw thank you I just read your thread, I replied as it had real resonance. You are going through so much and thinking of you.

I am okay, and going to an ACOA group on Sunday (I don't understand why there is one English speaking group in the whole of London, I think we're in denial). I am very glad of this forum as it's nice to share stuff and not feel as if you're speaking a foreign language. People get it.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:43 AM
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I am so glad you are going to a meeting on Sunday, and I agree that there should be twenty times that many meetings! Sometimes al-anon is okay in a pinch but I really feel ACOA meets our needs more fully.

Thank you for checking back in! I'm glad you are okay!
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:20 PM
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Glad you found a meeting. I hope it works out for you, it might take a while to feel comfortable but glad you are giving it a try.
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