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Oh, The Humanity

Old 06-21-2009, 07:42 PM
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Ago
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Oh, The Humanity

I thought I would tell you a little about my past, who I am, and where I came from other then the circumstances that brought me here.

I thought I would try to show that alcoholics can be human too, with the same hopes, dreams, pain as anyone else on the planet.

on August 23 1992 I walked into my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and raised my hand and said, "My name is Andrew, and I am an alcoholic"

I was 27

I did the math, and since then I have probably identified myself as an alcoholic over ten thousand times. It was pounded into me that I identify as an alcoholic in order to recover. It is now part of my identity. I am proud to be a sober alcoholic. It is part of who I am. A large part.

I cried when I found out I was a sick person, not a bad person, I had hated, feared, and loathed myself and the only way to not feel that way was to keep drinking, which caused me to feel that way more, causing a vicious cycle. I didn't drink to get drunk, I drank to feel normal, I had been a full blown practicing alcoholic from about the age of twelve or thirteen, and by the time I tried to get control of it I realized I had lost control years before.

I spent the next ten years trying to quit and not being able to. That's my late teens and nearly all of my twenties trying to stop doing the only thing that ever made me comfortable, the only thing that made me not feel terrified all of the time.

There is a quote about "the warped lives of blameless children" in regards to one of the effects of alcoholism, my parents are alcoholics, or at the very least, drank alcoholically, that's what that looked like for me.


My mother left my father, I stayed with my father, he was gone every night until the bar closed. I still have vivid memories of sitting in the truck until two AM on school nights outside the bar, counting buses, Police cars and cabs to pass the time.

I remember driving through downtown San Francisco during lunch time with my father, he was a commercial fisherman, and clothes and a vehicle weren't high on his list of things, we were in a 1949 Dodge pickup full of dead fish wearing old and tattered clothes. I lived on a boat. It was embarrassing to say the least. I remember seeing a woman hurrying somewhere, she had on a gray skirt-business suit thing, gray nylons and white running shoes. She was so beautiful she made me cry. I could smell her perfume from the truck.

I knew if I could grow up and meet someone like her, I would be OK. I would be better then OK, she was the answer to what I had been looking for. I knew this at ten years old.

I was terrified from as long as I can remember. I remember sitting in a therapists office, and she was asking to go back when I felt "safe", as in when did the schism occur, when did I begin to feel the world as an unsafe place.

My answer was never. I wet the bed and had nightmares until I was ten years old, then I discovered alcohol and started drinking. I was in fifth grade. I immediately felt better. For the first time in my life I wasn't terrified, for the first time in my life I stopped wetting the bed.

By the time I was in High School I woke up, got stoned every morning, got drunk every day at lunch, then again every day after school, I was a straight A student in a gifted program, I took trigonometry at age twelve, I had a promising future, I went from a student who made straight A's at twelve to a student lost to alcohol by the time I was 14. I was still making straight A's, I was just nearly black-out drunk every day in school. When I was 16 a kid in my program got a full scholarship to Berkeley, graduated with a Doctorate at age twenty.

I ran away from home, ran into him at age twenty, he was PHD, I was a busboy.

He was two years "behind me" in the program although we were the same age.

In my twenties I was your worst nightmare, well maybe not you, but your mother's, that's for sure. My very first Girlfriend I ever had in my life cheated on me the first week she moved in and from then on it was "Game on".

I was the Dog who had been bitten and was determined to bite back.

Since I had already decided that women were 'the answer" at age ten though I kept looking for "the one".

Through my twenties my life was a big party and all I did was drink and sleep around.

What happened:

at age 25 I met the "girl of my dreams"

I feel completely, helplessly, irrevocably head over heels in love.

This was "her" the woman I had waited my whole life for.

there was only one problem.

I couldn't stop drinking, and when I drank, I slept with other people.

I couldn't stop.

I would wake up horrified, loathing myself with every fiber of my being swearing off drinking forever, only to be drunk again that very same night.

This went on for two years.

Obviously the relationship was a rocky one, and finally due to a " set of unfortunate circumstances" where I had woke up in Florida as Hurricane Andrew was hitting the coast, in response to her "punishment" regarding this "total and complete set of circumstances that wasn't my fault", in a fit of drunken rage I "slept with someone at her" and told her about it for "behavior modification purposes".

Did NOT go as planned.

My thinking wasn't the clearest at that time.

She threw me out, I went on a week long bender, crying and puking uncontrollably for seven days (puking from heartbreak, not alcohol poisoning) finally waking up one morning (Aug23,92) and said to myself, "I can't do this any more"

it was different somehow, there was a shift.

She had been "stalking me" during my week, so "accidentally" bumped into me at the store that day at noon. I told her of my decision to quit drinking and actually go check out this thing some friends of mine were beginning to "wash up" in called AA. We made a decision to see a couples counselor that afternoon, and I went to a friends house and knocked on his door, he answered it, and I said, Bobby, I have two questions, one, will you take me to one of those 'meeting' things"

he said "of course"

I said "great, can I live here?"

I went to my first meeting that night and for the first time in my life felt at home, I felt I was in a room of people that understood me, that I had been extremely sick, but they had a solution for me and I never had to drink again.

I can't begin to convey the sense of relief that coursed through me.

I remember talking to this guy, and saying, "I lost my girlfriend.

Guy was obviously a F'ing moron because he just smiled at me and nodded, determined to get through to this thick lunk I said,

"I lost my job"

He smiled wider

I started yelling at him, I've lost my home, I'm homeless, I've lost everything to drinking don't you understand, a career, the girl of my dreams, EVERYTHING!!!!"

The more I yelled, the more he smiled.

You seem the thing he knew, that I didn't, was the more I had lost to alcohol, the better my chances of getting and staying sober were, that if I had "the gift of desperation" I might get and stay sober.

He was my sponsor for my first run through the steps.

Anyway, if you read this far, I'd like to thank you

I just wanted to say that alcoholics were people too, that we suffer and have suffered every bit as much as you. That, like you, we have feelings and emotions, and like you, we didn't choose this, that, like you, we were put in a situation that we were powerless over, that like you, there comes a day of choice, to admit powerlessness and begin the journey of recovery, or to continue to do further "research" until we either die or get into enough pain to become teachable.

On behalf of Alcoholics everywhere, for all those that haven't made amends, I am sorry

for all those that continue to harm you, for all those that can't get sober, I am sorry.

It's been 17 years now nearly I guess, I have "slipped" twice in that time, once when the relationship with 'the girl of my dreams" went in the crapper after some years of sobriety and once a few years ago now around my "family of origin" issues and untreated codependency.

Truly, my life has been harmed as much by alcoholics and alcoholism as anyone here, and I in my day have done my fair share of harming, drunk and sober, I just wanted to say I understand your pain, for everyone here:

I love you, keep coming back
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:49 PM
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Love you too!!
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:58 PM
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thank you for sharing your story Ago.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:48 PM
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You have a perspective and passion that I appreciate every day, Ago.

We don't always have to agree to grow from the support of the other.

I often learn more from those I disgree with.

Thank you for bringing all that you are to SR!!

In friendship,
Alice
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:03 PM
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Thanks for saying that....I really appreciate it.

Right now I am constantly pulling myself up from all the crap my exah does to hurt me...still...even after the divorce he still hurts.
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:54 PM
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Thanks for the warning that I might need kleenex......*picking myself off the floor sobbing*

Rough day for me and God sent you with this. All I can say is thanks for being the messenger.
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Old 06-21-2009, 10:14 PM
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Thanks Ago, wish I could have hit the thank you twice.

I have a question. My husband also grew up with 2 alcoholics. On top of this his father was losing his mind. There was no question he was abandoned,emotional abuse and physically abused. He says there is not a holiday that he can remember that the dinner table was not flipped over by his father. There is no question I "feel" for my husband's social upbringing and I have a righteous anger for him as his parents never made amends. And he has never forgiven them because they were "good people." He lives in the contradiction without a balance: blaming them for his drinking at the present yet not recognizing the the "good people" of crazy became his norm.

I know you have worked the 12 step program for alcohol and co-dependance. BUt for you was the crossover of the 12 program enough to deal with being a victim of childhood abandonment and abuse? I see you had therapy but there is nothing about your age or what you got out of that experience at the time. So I am just wondering at what point there may have been a healing from being an abandoned and abused child by those who were meant to be the people who should have given you and been a safe place in this world? Also, at what point may you have forgiven them? How and what was the process or was it an enlightenment during a specific step?

love tammy

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
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Old 06-21-2009, 10:21 PM
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Thank you Ago. I also learn a lot from you and I think it would be easier if AHs were just the bad traits, the deceit, the abuse - it would be easier to let them go. Sigh.

You have a unique perspective around this forum, thank you for taking the time to write your story. I am very glad you have so many years of true sobriety under your belt. You have truly come a long way, and keep striding forward...

Have a good night!
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:09 PM
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Thanks for this post, Ago. I've recently come to terms with my own alcoholism, and I can look around my meetings and see that alcoholics aren't inherently awful people, although they can sure act that way sometimes when the disease isn't being treated. I too really enjoy your posts and the perspective that you bring.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:42 AM
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Thank you. I really just wanna give you a big hug...so I will!:ghug3:ghug3:ghug3
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Old 06-22-2009, 04:00 AM
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Thanks Andrew.

Thanks and God bless us all,
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Old 06-22-2009, 04:51 AM
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Thank you, Ago, this is exactly what I need to read today.

I'm doing a personal/relationship inventory on paper and today's job was to write a letter, at the end saying "I forgive you for..." to my X.

It is much easier to forgive when one sees the humanity, as you put it, of the other.

I want to let go of the pain, I want to forgive, I want to recover my loving side and stop feeling so much SHAME.

Thank you for letting us see you.
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Old 06-22-2009, 04:56 AM
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Thank you for sharing Andrew
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:06 AM
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Your post made me weep at 7am over my first cup of coffee.

You were my first real love except that you came from Texas - so the pick up truck didn't smell of fish, otherwise the details were pretty much the same.

My perspective is that the "we" who you wrote that beautiful letter to, who you make amends to because their own As can't, well we don't hate any of you. (At least I don't)

To me the reason we are so sad, angry, confused is because we had a glimpse of the person you have become in our own As and we didn't hate that person, we loved them - truly, madly, deeply .... emphasis on the "madly" part.

I'm so happy for you and the people in your life that you work the steps and they work for you ....

I believe it works if you work it .... for us too.

Edited to add: I worked in the publishing industry years and you are a very good writer. I think there is a good book in you somewhere if you feel like giving it a whirl.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:38 AM
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Recovery, for me, was a lot like a pendulum. I went from denial and minimizing, to anger and rage. It's been almost four years now and the swings are far less drastic. Most of the time I can accept what is without getting really angry about it. I have learned to forgive others and myself for being imperfect human beings.

In the beginning, my pendulum was swinging wildly. I was very angry at my XAH for a long time. Heck, I was even angry at alcohol for a long time.

Ago, I hope you understand that sometimes people post on this board when their pendulum is at the apex of anger toward the alcoholic in their life. Sometimes the words that are typed are directed at 'all alcoholics.' I hope you don't take it personally.

Thank you for this post. I believe it helps to nudge the pendulum back toward the balanced center.

L
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:03 AM
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Thanks, Ago. I appreciate you sharing that with us.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:25 AM
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Thanks, Ago.

You've reminded me not to hate the person, but to hate the disease. I really needed that today.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:55 AM
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BUt for you was the crossover of the 12 program enough to deal with being a victim of childhood abandonment and abuse?
It can be provided you have a sponsor or work with someone with direct experience with whatever it is you are "walking through", such as forgiving parents that abandoned or abused their children.


I see you had therapy but there is nothing about your age or what you got out of that experience at the time. So I am just wondering at what point there may have been a healing from being an abandoned and abused child by those who were meant to be the people who should have given you and been a safe place in this world?
I have done three stints in therapy I think, all were amazing, each had benefit but the most "lasting effects" were felt when doing therapy after doing the steps and in conjunction with reworking them, the steps removed denial it sometimes takes years of therapy to "get to", so the therapist and I could go straight to "solution" rather then the therapist spending months and months trying to break through my denial about certain behaviors.

Also, at what point may you have forgiven them? How and what was the process or was it an enlightenment during a specific step?
Forgiveness for me was a LONG process that occurred as a direct result of doing step nine ("incorrectly" i might add)

Forgiveness for me is not an event, it's a process with a lot of realizations and epiphanies, such as patience is not me waiting for something to change but learning to accept what "is", forgiveness for me may not mean the same thing as it does to you. Forgiveness for me is just "letting go" of the past and not carrying it around, sometimes it means understanding the behavior, it means different things at different times, but the end result is "letting go of the resentment associated with "the harm" that was caused to me.

It takes many forms, sometimes it's realizing the harm was inadvertent, sometimes it means recognizing the behavior in myself as well, like, many forms of the forgiveness are christian in nature, and some for me are more eastern religion style, like "what would Jesus do" accompanied with "What would Gandhi do"

It's accepting the past for what it is and letting go of what it "should have been"

Quite frankly, I also use Gandalf and Dumbledore to "model" behaviors sometimes, Dumbledore for his humorous and forgiving approach to stupidity and rudeness even in "self", and Gandalf for his loving and understanding of human frailty and recognition of the courage it takes to take up arms against "evil" no matter where it's found, but usually internally, if that makes sense.
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:18 AM
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In order to forgive my parents I had to get off my "high horse." I had to give up the idea that I was somehow "better" than them and that they had "wronged" me. (Same with my AH, BTW) We are all human. My parents were raised by people who harmed them. They, in turn, harmed me. I have no doubt that I have also harmed my children in many ways. I am no better than anyone. I simply do the best I can with what I have. And as I learn more, I do better.

L

Last edited by LaTeeDa; 06-22-2009 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:26 AM
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LTD, do you rent your recovery? I would give you my life's savings for an hour of having your perspective (about 40 dollars, LOL)

The pendulum analogy is right on.

Ago's story made me recall one therapy exercise: imagining people who have harmed you as babies or kids... THEN as very, very old ppl with some glimpse of understanding and wisdom on their eyes. It helps to understand any damage done to me was not voluntary but came from another one's deep suffering.

In this way I can find compassion and stop making it personal or about ME.

AHs hurt themselves by hurting us. Similarly I hurt myself if I hurt someone else.. we are all together in this.
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