Blogs


Notices

struggling

Old 10-01-2014, 01:00 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,335
struggling

So, I am still picking away at the book and I still feel like there is a big disconnect. It keeps emphasing you MUST go to meetings, you MUST get a sponsor, etc. I wont be doing that. Its just not an option. Am I doomed?

Then there is "our parents did this or that. Or told us this or that". What if I said my parents didnt do much of anything. That I was left to figure out everything my self. The dont talk, dont trust, dont feel. I learned that based on the rejection I got from the wider world. When my parents divorced I had classmates who wouldnt talk to me anymore because it was like I had a disease. The best way I could describe my life was I was profoundly neglected. Even the basics were hit or miss. Money for food?? Maybe. Clean clothes? If I washed them. And the thing is I didnt grow up in some southern backwater. Instead I grew up in an all white, Italian/Polish, Catholic working class neighborhood and I was white, German/Irish, Presbyterian, and poor. So, I was neglected at home and bullyed at school. Can reading the book and taking the steps help me?
happybeingme is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to happybeingme For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014), OGK (10-02-2014)
Old 10-01-2014, 01:23 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
Search4Serenity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 56
That's hard happybeingme. When I first started my journey, I was having relationship problems--which I still have, unfortunately--and I sought help from a therapist. It was truly serendipitous in that she recognized me as having been physically and verbally abused, and within the first 15 minutes of my first session had already identified that I had an alcoholic parent. She suggested some books--and while there were no ACoA meetings locally, I did go to an Al-Anon meeting. I liked it, but it was hard for me to go back. I'm still struggling with that--I know I probably should be going, but I feel so isolated in those settings that it freaks me out to the point where I find a million reasons not to go.

I did a lot of stuff on here of course and learned a lot. I've also done a lot of reading. While I'm no sort of "finished product," and my issues are still quite formidable, I feel like I know where to go for support and how to locate some reading that reminds me of the characteristics that I need to stay aware of.

There was another post today that I just loved--and you probably saw it--about being grateful to be an ACoA--and the things that really struck me were all of the ingenuity we--as children in dysfunctional households had to display to simply survive in those environments. Even when we have the wrong tools for the job at hand--we have a way of adapting them to accomplish what we need to accomplish. It's my hope that even when the "right tools" aren't available or are only available in limited ways--that we'll find a way to make it work. I don't believe that anyone who's lived through what we've lived through is truly doomed. Just my two cents.
Search4Serenity is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Search4Serenity For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014)
Old 10-01-2014, 01:42 PM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,335
Thanks. I have exactly one ACoA and one Al-Anon meeting available. Each meets once a week.. I still live in the general area I grew up in. Sounds dumb given the struggles I had as.kid but there is also a lot of great points living around here. My concern is the possibility of running into a former classmate if I took a chance and went to the meeting. It terrifies me.

I have read tons as well. Used a lot of online resources as well. I sometimes think what I really want help with is recognizing and changing my conarcissistic behaviors. Plus there I have a whole host of insecurities and such from growing up the way I did. Gender specific stuff mostly. I am a woman and yet wasnt taught female things so there is this part of me that feels like a big faker. You know, like I worry people see me as somehow less than feminine or something. When I put on makeup I still feel like that 12 year old who snuck her moms makeup and was experimenting.
happybeingme is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to happybeingme For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014), Search4Serenity (10-01-2014)
Old 10-01-2014, 01:49 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
Search4Serenity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 56
I would also be really uncomfortable with the whole running into former classmates idea. Yikes! I don't know if you've ever thought about it or if it's something that's available to you, but individual therapy might be useful--especially with the concerns you have with gender. I haven't been to therapy in a while, because I moved and would have to find a new therapist--but I got a lot of value out of that--since everything was tailored to my specific needs at the specific time--and it was a super-bonus that she was well-versed in issues of alcoholism and family dysfunction.

Big hugs to you though--I'll be thinking of you
Search4Serenity is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Search4Serenity For This Useful Post:
happybeingme (10-01-2014), Hollyanne (10-05-2014), Mags1 (10-05-2014)
Old 10-01-2014, 01:52 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,335
Thanks so much for letting me vent and sharing. Its been a big help.
happybeingme is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to happybeingme For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014), Mags1 (10-05-2014), Search4Serenity (10-01-2014)
Old 10-01-2014, 01:58 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,335
I should probably clarify and say I dont struggle with my gender identity in the traditional sense. I am a woman and like being one. Its the fro-fro and stuff of being a woman I have a hard time with.
happybeingme is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to happybeingme For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014), Mags1 (10-05-2014), NWGRITS (10-03-2014)
Old 10-01-2014, 04:40 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
Search4Serenity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 56
That was how I understood it--I just was thinking having someone impartial to talk to about it might help--if it bothers you, that is. There's more than one way to be a woman--maybe you're just not the fro-fro variety
Search4Serenity is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Search4Serenity For This Useful Post:
happybeingme (10-01-2014), Hollyanne (10-05-2014)
Old 10-01-2014, 05:16 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,335
I dont think it is the lack of girliness so much as it is a part of my overall feeling of not being good enough. That in many ways I am still acting and failing miserably and everyone can see it.
happybeingme is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to happybeingme For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014), Search4Serenity (10-02-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 04:34 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK
Posts: 213
Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
So, I am still picking away at the book and I still feel like there is a big disconnect. It keeps emphasing you MUST go to meetings, you MUST get a sponsor, etc. I wont be doing that. Its just not an option. Am I doomed?

Then there is "our parents did this or that. Or told us this or that". What if I said my parents didnt do much of anything. That I was left to figure out everything my self. The dont talk, dont trust, dont feel. I learned that based on the rejection I got from the wider world. When my parents divorced I had classmates who wouldnt talk to me anymore because it was like I had a disease. The best way I could describe my life was I was profoundly neglected. Even the basics were hit or miss. Money for food?? Maybe. Clean clothes? If I washed them. And the thing is I didnt grow up in some southern backwater. Instead I grew up in an all white, Italian/Polish, Catholic working class neighborhood and I was white, German/Irish, Presbyterian, and poor. So, I was neglected at home and bullyed at school. Can reading the book and taking the steps help me?
Happy... You know my history with ACA better than almost anyone. You were there when I started!! So when I say this - there are only 20 meetings in my entire country and the local meeting I started meets every two weeks - you'll appreciate that I can identify with there being 'limited' local meetings as well as anyone.

The book also says: Healing begins when we RISK moving out of isolation. There is always risk; from my perspective I balanced the risk of seeing someone I know, with the risk of living an unfulfilled life. An unfulfilled life was an infinitely greater risk than bumping into someone I know.

I completely get what you say about 'my parents didn't do much of anything'... My Dad was mostly absent, my Mum was mostly drunk, when my Dad was not absent he was drunk. It was heavier on the neglect than the abuse (if you like), but neglect is abuse.

Ignoring someone is IMHO one of the worst things to do to another human being - when my parents did it, it was neglect & abuse. Their contact also included neglect and abuse, but not 100% of the time. It included abandonment even when they were present. This is still abuse! The effects are the same, subtle or overt abuse is still abuse. Soul scars instead of physical scars. Scars are still scars.

From the book and in the spirit of 'similarities not differences': I identify with the fear, the shame, the sense of being less than. I identify with the 14 traits (and their opposite), the co dependence, the internalized modes of thinking and acting... etc etc

I've found attending meetings to be extremely beneficial. I can't express the benefit I've got from them well enough in words - perhaps I can ask you to trust me on that point?.

I'm not saying you should/or shouldn't go btw, but as a suggestion try dropping the word 'never' from the statement. Try, I might go, but I'm not ready, or I'm not going tonight, but I may consider it sometime in the future. Or I'm not ruling anything out. Just a suggestion.

Also as a suggestion would you consider this? What if there are no people you know AND you find them really beneficial. What if you love it and find it brings you freedom from the past and brings you serenity. What happens if you find more recovery than you ever dreamed possible?

As for "am I doomed"... I'm pretty sure you're not. As you well know and have seen written, its not the only way to recover. It's just one way that works well for some. I can only tell you it is working for me, it really is.
makomago is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to makomago For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 04:36 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK
Posts: 213
Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
Then there is "our parents did this or that. Or told us this or that". What if I said my parents didnt do much of anything. That I was left to figure out everything my self.
... Hap, can I also ask a question: Why do people brought up in foundling homes identify with the traits?

They can be (not always) the very epitome of neglect i.e. left almost entirely to their own devices.
makomago is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to makomago For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 05:01 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,335
Mako- Thanks for reaching out. You are probably right about everything. Right now all of my old feelings are front and center. My son gets his follow up with the surgeon today and I have seen his latest xrays. I know he is going to need more surgery and I am already burnt out. I need to get away from this stuff. Just for a few hours. But, I cant trust him not to do something stupid. He already has a few times when I have been home and he has hurt himself. Ticks me off but he hates being helpless and feeling like a burden. I have got to get this stuff straightened out. Emotionally I have had enough and I am still facing weeks of recovery for him.
happybeingme is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to happybeingme For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 05:31 AM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK
Posts: 213
Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
Mako- Thanks for reaching out. You are probably right about everything. Right now all of my old feelings are front and center. My son gets his follow up with the surgeon today and I have seen his latest xrays. I know he is going to need more surgery and I am already burnt out. I need to get away from this stuff. Just for a few hours. But, I cant trust him not to do something stupid. He already has a few times when I have been home and he has hurt himself. Ticks me off but he hates being helpless and feeling like a burden. I have got to get this stuff straightened out. Emotionally I have had enough and I am still facing weeks of recovery for him.
"get away, just for a few hours"... probably the best excuse for a meeting I ever heard, perhaps easier there than at home (I'm joking, ok?).

There is a part in the ACA 'Solution' read at meetings. I remind myself of this often when like you I've had enough (emotionally), but have to get this straightened out.... The bit I refer to is very simple and is found in many places it is......

One word......

SLOWLY

Be good to yourself, my friend.
makomago is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to makomago For This Useful Post:
happybeingme (10-02-2014), Hollyanne (10-05-2014), OGK (10-02-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 05:39 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,335
You are truly a good friend and mentor. Slowly is key. And one thing at a time. Its funny but I find when I am stressed I tend to look for even more things to stress about. Why do I sabotage myself like that? Its like I have no control over not driving myself to collapse sometimes. Maybe its because I dont feel like my problems are bad enough. Jeez does that even make sense?
happybeingme is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to happybeingme For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 08:10 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
 
Search4Serenity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 56
Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
I dont think it is the lack of girliness so much as it is a part of my overall feeling of not being good enough. That in many ways I am still acting and failing miserably and everyone can see it.
happy, I totally get what you're saying. Of course, I have no answers--but that's one of my biggest struggles--being "good enough." Intellectually I know that the things I tell myself in my head and that I (mis)interpret coming from others are not based on rational reality--and I'm not in fact fundamentally deficient--however I still feel it. Even when I'm not necessary thinking it--it's lurking way underneath.

I always imagine myself as being stupid for some reason. Never ever smart enough--always telling myself I "should've known" better. That's my big one I guess.

However, I get a little down on myself physically as well--I've been known to think that I should look just as I did when I was 23. I am, however, *so far* from 23 When I was that age, I felt and dressed glamorous and sexy and I was known to use my sexuality and looks to get validation--in many ways. So now that I'm aging--I feel like I'm competing with that self--which is not even me anymore. Kind of demented, right? lol So while our struggles there are different, I feel like they're kind of similar.

I could go on and on about why I'm not good enough--but I won't--because it's BS. That's my intellectual side talking--hoping the emotional side will listen

More hugs for you, happy!
Search4Serenity is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Search4Serenity For This Useful Post:
happybeingme (10-02-2014), Hollyanne (10-05-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 02:31 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
Kialua's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,438
Blog Entries: 25
Take what you can for now and leave what doesn't apply to you for now. It's amazing how these things can be seen in a different light at different times. It does help to work through the steps if and when you can at your own speed. If your parents didn't do the exact thing that is being outlined substitute what they did do, in your case neglect(?). Slowly is good advice
Kialua is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Kialua For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014), OGK (10-02-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 02:55 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
OGK
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 71
"So, I am still picking away at the book and I still feel like there is a big disconnect. It keeps emphasing you MUST go to meetings, you MUST get a sponsor, etc. I wont be doing that. Its just not an option. Am I doomed?"

I just wrote one of pat tended drawn out posts and gone...I've had terrible IT issues with the site, reset my p/w like 10x. Shows how much I miss it here. Anyway, I identify with your entire post but I will start with the quoted and paraphrase as I'm headed to soccer, football and first, homework.

I found the same problems with AA. Even after 1 year of weekly meetings, some purests still tell me I'm "suspect" because I have chosen not to work with a sponsor and have not "formally" stepped. Old new me says fuqem and New old me says that I will do this on my terms and make it my recovery. Some may say its EGO driven but I have learned enough about me and this process to know that it will only work on my terms and with me at the wheel. Once I stopped fighting the YOU MUSTS and focused on the "what I wants", I was able to see through the cloud I created, not saying you are, and could pick out some amazing pearls that fit ME.
Oh, and you are not doomed...ohcountryfair...you are blessed with a drive to question your journey which I think leads to a very personal understanding. A wise "young" deck prognosticator once told me this and I'd like to share it. Be patient with yourself, you are doing great.
Great post hap, thanks.
OGK is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to OGK For This Useful Post:
happybeingme (10-02-2014), Hollyanne (10-05-2014)
Old 10-02-2014, 08:33 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
DesertEyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Starting over all over again
Posts: 4,427
Blog Entries: 1
Hi there happy

Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
... It keeps emphasing you MUST go to meetings, you MUST get a sponsor, etc....
A little bit of history. There are _three_ different "branches" of ACoA, based on where they come from. The folks who wrote the "Red Book" come from the AA program, and so the whole Red Book has a very strong "AA flavor".

An entirely different "flavor" is found in meetings that started from Al-Anon. These folks never bothered with a book because Al-Anon already has plenty of books.

A third flavor is meetings who don't want _anything_ to do with Mom _or_ Dad, and therefore studiously avoid use of any material from al-anon _or_ AA. They never got around to writing their own book.

Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
... Its just not an option. Am I doomed?...
Nope. ACoA-itis, if I can invent a word, is a form of emotional injury. Not much different from PTSD or perhaps Stockholm syndrome. Which means that _any_ form of therapy will be useful. 12 step meetings are just _one_ form, technically refered to as "Peer Therapy".

A lot of people get well without _any_ 12 step program at all. Other peeps, like me, do meetings for a few years, then therapy for a few years, then take a sabattical, then meetings, etc.

Most people who work on their issues, with _any_ type of help, get well and then _never_ come back to meetings, or therapy, or whatever. Which is why it is so rare to find anybody in an ACoA meet who has more than half a dozen years of continuous attendance. People get well and move on.

Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
... What if I said my parents didnt do much of anything. ...
The whole "center" of ACoA recovery is _not_ what was done to us. If you browse around this forum you will see that everybody has really different histories of what was done _to_ them. Children can survive the most hideous experience, horrible car accidents, war, terrible disabilities, _if_ they have enough love.

What causes the damage is what was _not_ done for us. It is the _absence_ of love that causes the dysfunction, and the deep-seated emotional damage. That is why we all have such different histories, but almost the same identical feelings.

Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
... Can reading the book and taking the steps help me?...
Absolutely yes.... but not _all_ of the book. Like others have said, you need to take the time to pick what works for you and ignore the rest.

Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
... I sometimes think what I really want help with is recognizing and changing my conarcissistic behaviors. ...
To me that sounds like a good fit for ACoA work in general. You might also find something useful in the al-anon and nar-anon forums "next door".

Friends and Family of Alcoholics - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
Friends and Family of Substance Abusers - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
... so there is this part of me that feels like a big faker. You know, like I worry people see me as somehow less than...
Feeling like a "fake" is a very common "symptom" of ACoA. Regardless of what is being faked. Look through the "laundry lists" in any ACoA book and you will see several "Feel like a fake" items.

Originally Posted by happybeingme View Post
...Why do I sabotage myself like that? .... Maybe its because I dont feel like my problems are bad enough ...
Self sabotage is another common ACoA symptom. So common that there are _entire_ books on just that one item.

And yes, your problems _are_ bad enough. People with a normal life do _not_ wake up one morning and say "I have such a wonderful life!!! I think I'm going to spend months reading tons of books and browsing the web and go to al-anon and acoa meetings just for fun"

Just from the few things you have shared here on SR it is clear to me that you belong with us, and that you have wisdom and experience that we can all benefit from.

You are _most_ welcome in ACoA

Mike
Moderator, SR
DesertEyes is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to DesertEyes For This Useful Post:
happybeingme (10-03-2014), Hollyanne (10-05-2014), NWGRITS (10-03-2014), OGK (10-02-2014)
Old 10-03-2014, 02:18 AM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,335
With all of you reaching out to me the way you have I know this can work. Thank you for being here for me.
happybeingme is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to happybeingme For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014), NWGRITS (10-03-2014)
Old 10-03-2014, 05:37 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
Search4Serenity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 56
Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post

Just from the few things you have shared here on SR it is clear to me that you belong with us, and that you have wisdom and experience that we can all benefit from.

You are _most_ welcome in ACoA

Ditto

Last edited by DesertEyes; 10-03-2014 at 09:00 PM. Reason: Fixed broken quote
Search4Serenity is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Search4Serenity For This Useful Post:
happybeingme (10-03-2014), NWGRITS (10-03-2014)
Old 10-03-2014, 09:37 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Bunnies!
 
NWGRITS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,907
I don't meet the stereotypical ACOA in the sense that most people think we were near homeless, eating out of trash cans and dirt poor. Some were close, like yourself. I was raised in an upper-middle class family where image was everything. I've been to Disney World more times than I can count. But yet I am just as screwed up as the next ACOA to post in this thread. I wasn't ignored, but I was told I couldn't do anything right, I was a waste of life, a mistake, nothing but a financial drain. Sometimes I wished they would just ignore me. I don't identify with everything in the books, but I find what I relate to and go from there. My Step 4 inventory in Al-Anon really showed the diversity of people affected by this disease. Some pages I'm due for a major overhaul, others I get a gold star. I think we need to apply "Take what you like and leave the rest" to ACA, too.
NWGRITS is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to NWGRITS For This Useful Post:
Hollyanne (10-05-2014), Search4Serenity (10-04-2014)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:16 PM.