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Feeling so unsafe and mad

Old 10-02-2010, 09:35 AM
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Feeling so unsafe and mad

Hi everyone. I'm glad you're here.

I'm feeling so frustrated, angry, and hopeless about alcoholism and codependency right now. I wish I could somehow get away from it all.

I'm 11 months into working on my myself and exploring this stuff, and I just wish I felt "farther along". Like better able to detach. I feel progress, but I'm still so upset.

I'm enraged about denial. How could my mother ignore, for 10 years, my father hiding vodka in shampoo bottles in the ceiling? When she'd been in treatment/AA herself?

How could my friend let her husband, who was obviously drunk whenever I saw him, care for and drive her children around? When she had been in Alanon for years?

How could my brother-in-law decide to have a child with someone who was drinking 10 beers a day? And only realize she was an alcoholic after he'd had a year of therapy?

Of course the answer is denial. I know it's a disease. I know it's a family disease, and that spouses get just as sick. I guess I'm just feeling so depressed at how powerful this disease is. And so angry at parents who can't protect their children because they are sick with alcoholism and/or codependency. I was that kid. It was a really awful way to grow up. I hate denial.

The world just feels really unsafe to me right now.
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:48 AM
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You seem to accept that alcoholism is a disease, but you seem to not accept that codependency is as well. Codependents are just as sick. You seem to direct all of your anger to the spouse of the alcoholic. Why aren't you just as angry with the alcoholic? How did your father's drinking affect you? Why is your anger at your mother and not your father? It seems like you're projecting your experience onto this kid, and you think the sober parent has all the power right now, and that may not be true. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think if you can work on your own emotional health, that can only be good for your niece/nephew. All you can really do is detach from the situation, call the police/CPS as needed, and try to take care of yourself.

I do think this thread is a good thing for us codependents to read. Our kids aren't going to thank us for simply not being alcoholics. We can be as clean as can be and still not protect them if our codependency takes over our lives.
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Old 10-02-2010, 02:58 PM
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Hello there 1234, and pleased to "meet" you

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
.... I'm feeling so frustrated, angry, and hopeless about alcoholism and codependency right now. I wish I could somehow get away from it all. ....
I know that feeling. I dunno about you, but I see all the addictions as a horror. They cause such an incredible amount of pain and damage to people.

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
.... I'm 11 months into working on my myself and exploring this stuff, and I just wish I felt "farther along".....
Well yeah. I also wish I could fix my problems _now_. Be the perfect person overnight. Read _one_ book and be done with it. Doesn't work that way, does it?

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
.... I'm enraged about denial. How could my mother ignore....
Actually, anger is much better than denial. If you're feeling anger then you are clearly connecting with your feelings and motivated to keep growing. I know cuz that's the way it was for me. I was in my own denial as an ACoA for a long time. My emotions simply shut down as a child and stayed that way as I grew into adulthood. As I worked on my recovery I started feeling that anger you describe so well. And grief. And shame. and all kinds of other feelings.

Anger was good for me, it gave me the energy and drive to continue working on me.

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
.... I know it's a disease. ....
Well yeah but all that intellectual knowledge never did me any good. I had to learn _emotionally_ what it was all about before I started making progress.

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
.... I guess I'm just feeling so depressed at how powerful this disease is. ....
It may be powerful, but it's still just a disease. Just messed up genes and goofed up chemicals in the brain. It's not some kind of monster out of a Sci Fi movie. It's no different than cancer, heart disease, or any other such condition. Which means that those of us who choose to fight can overcome it. And it doesn't even require any kind of surgery

(ok, bad joke <grin> )

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
.... I was that kid. It was a really awful way to grow up.....
Me too. I use much stronger words than "awful". The good news is that we _do_ grow up, and we grow up stronger in the injured places. We grow up to be far more compassionate, understanding and capable than those who had no challenges at all in their life. We grow up to be parents that take parenting classes _before_ they have kids, we go to premarital counseling _before_ there's problems, we are far more careful about who we marry, make great doctors and shrinks and friends and basically the world is a better place because us ACoA's and alanoids are willing to make ourselves into better people.

You're one of _us_, 1234, and I'm honored that you choose to participate in SR.

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
.... The world just feels really unsafe to me right now.....
well, who's "protecting" you? The ACoA in denial from 11 months ago? Or a much wiser ACoA who is aware of where all the "emotional landmines" are and is learning how to be a better friend to herself? Yes the world has always been unsafe, but I've found a whole new "bodyguard" for that injured child I have within. This new bodyguard has _no_ denial, no problems with assertiveness and no problem saying "no".

From what you've posted here on SR it sounds to me like you're building a whole new life for yourself that is healthy and free. IF you look around SR you'll see thousands and thousands of people who are doing exactly the same thing and doing wonderfully at it. You're in good company.

Mike
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:05 PM
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Crying now. Thank you.
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:27 PM
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Thanks for the reminders, Mike.

We ARE getting better--it doesn't happen all at once for ANYBODY. Including the alcoholics/addicts.
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:48 PM
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Mike, thanks for your post.

Or a much wiser ACoA who is aware of where all the "emotional landmines" are and is learning how to be a better friend to herself?

Emotional landmines... thanks, that really fits.



I am not ACOA but I still lived abandonment in my childhood.
123 Its been 2 years for me since I started "this path" and I also get impatient with myself.

One day at a time.

I recently went to see a tree that is a World heritage site: the Largest tree in the world.
Mexico IN PICTURES: The Ahuehuete Tree | Plant Talk

Its at least 1200 years old. Do you think it ever worried for a leaf not growing "fast enough"? It just is ... and its ok.

May it be our example of endurance.

(I rested for hours on the white bench at the left. Look at the people for a sense of its dimension!)

Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful, peaceful sensation. It was so quiet, birds jumped and hid and the sun shined very brightly. The sky was blue, blue and clear.
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Old 10-02-2010, 06:43 PM
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Sometimes I get so infuriated with situations, and then "my conscience" asks me, "and you are going to do what about it?" If there is action I can take to help, then I take it. If not, I hand it over in prayer. Anger is fine as a stimulant, an entree.....but not as a whole meal.
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:22 PM
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TC999 - Breathtaking. Thanks for the calming perspective.

Mike, I don't know where to start. That was so encouraging and thoughtful. Plus you are one of the posters I always think about when I need hope that alcoholics can fully recover. More than recover.

You got it exactly right when you describe the difference between knowing emotionally and knowing intellectually. When I accept something emotionally, which sometimes happens long after an intellectual acceptance, I get a real emotional tidal wave. I'm learning to trust that I won't be consumed by it, but it's so terrifying. I, too, learned to ignore my feelings as a child. Now that I'm feeling it, it feels just like a Sci-fi monster is running me down!

Since they say you have to accept yourself before you can really accept the faults of others, maybe I shouldn't be surprised that my impatience with my own recovery extends to others.

It's just so hard for me when children are involved. Stirs up all kinds of childhood pain and mama lion feelings in me. So hard for me to let go and let God when there is a child who might be harmed the way I was harmed.

But I know all parents love their children. I'm sure I harm my own; I'm not perfect. I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings with what I said. Especially when I read some of you share, so very bravely, that you just couldn't see the harm happening to your children in the dysfunctional past. That is serious courage, and inspiring. It's a real gift to others to share that.

Wanting, you are right that all of my examples are about codependents. It was easy to see the harm the alcoholics were doing, in my own situations, but now that I've been working hard on my awareness I can start to see the whole picture. Now I see the denial in spouses and in myself. Well, at least I'm starting to see! I'm often in this superscared place where I wonder if I'm lying to myself about all sorts of things. It's pretty irrational. But like I said, I'm scared right now.

But less scared tonight. Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
... you are one of the posters I always think about when I need hope that alcoholics can fully recover. ....
why thank you, that's a wonderful compliment

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
... I, too, learned to ignore my feelings as a child. Now that I'm feeling it, it feels just like a Sci-fi monster is running me down! ....
yup, same here. I never learned that feeling emotions is a perfectly normal part of life. No different than feeling sunshine, or feeling sand under my toes. What happened to me is that as I became more familiar with my feelings they became less intense.... or maybe they never were intense to begin with, just so strange and unexpected that I experienced them as intense.

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
... maybe I shouldn't be surprised that my impatience with my own recovery extends to others. ....
makes sense to me.

Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
... So hard for me to let go and let God when there is a child who might be harmed the way I was harmed. ....
That is also an ACoA "brainwashing". As a child I never learned to see the passage of time or understand the consequences of people's actions. My life was one long continuous nightmare where my parents behavior _never_ changed. So I never learned the concept of _change_ as it happens in life.

Now I can see that _my_ life was not stuck in that childhood. I grew up. I got away from my parents and got my head cleared up. As a result of that harm that was done to me I grew up to be a much stronger, healthier person that any of the "normies" I've met.

Those children that I see being harmed today, are going to grow up too. And when they grow up there will be so many more sources of recovery for them, so many more books, meetings, programs and trained therapists. Today they are being harmed, but at the same time they are being given an opportunity to become something far superior to their parents.

Letting go and letting God does _not_ mean that you do _nothing_. It means that you let God do what is in God's power to do, and you only concern yourself with what is in _your_ power to do.

The reason I found recovery in the first place is _not_ because any adult intervened in my childhood. It's because adults showed me with their own lives that there were people who were healthy, kind and serene. Those are the people I fixated on as a child, the ones I would say to myself "I want to grow up to be like _them_". Those people never once raised a finger to protect me, but they did somethin _far_ more powerful.

They showed me that I could grow up to be the kind of person I could be proud of.

Today, that is what I do with my own life. I share my own experience, strength and hope in meetings, here on SR, and in my daily life. Over the years I have mentored a number of young people, some of them neighbors on my street, some the children of friends or coworkers, and now that I'm an old dude, young kids at work.

My fav example is a 12 yr old girl that lived down the street a _long_ time ago when I lived in L.A. Her family was seriously toxic, and she would spend all day on the streets on her bicycle. One day she got on my lawn and left tire ruts all over it. And again, and again. I could see the anger in her, the rebelliousness.

So I waited for her one day, and when she spun her bicycle over my lawn I jumped out from behind the bushes with my water hose and sprayed her. She cussed at me, and I threw a water pistol at her, dared her to soak me back.

We both ended up soaked.

Didn't stop the damage to my lawn, but I figured it was a small price to pay to "connect" with her. We developed a bit of friendship, and I got to connect with her two brothers and sister as well. And thru them made friends with the parents. As the years went by we'd have chats on the sidewalk. Talk about life, school, and all the things that are of interest to a child, then a pre-teen, then a teen.

Many years later she grew up into a stunning young woman. Very tall, thin, and strikingly beautiful. She married some loser, had a baby, moved away. Couple years later she divorced the loser, came back to live with her parents, and came knocking on my door. Somebody had offered her a modeling job.

I'm a photographer, my wife was an ex-model, so we hooked her up with some people we knew, gave her some advice, taught her some of the tricks of the trade. Ok, my ex-wife taught her the modeling tricks, I taught her some contract-negotiating tricks.

Couple years later her career is going like a rocket, and I actually ended up across the table from her representing one of my clients negotiating a contract. That 12 yr old kid grew up to be one _tough_ negotiator. She didn't need no agent, she'd taken law school classes and I have to admit, she worked me over like the pro she was.

Year after that she came knocking on my door. No longer a 12 year old with a rusty old bike and an attitude. There was aseriously expensive european sports car on the street, and this woman was fully grown. Tells me she's giving up her modeling career, she realizes her son is missing out on having a mother. She's going back to school. Going to college. Plans to eventually get her doctorate in the same field I got my degree in, a long time ago. She's selling the car, moving to a cheap little place next to the University.

She had taken some of my photography lessons, and handed me a framed photo she had taken. An _awesome_, deeply artistic image that I will always cherish. This kid grew up to be every bit as good a photographer as I, and as good a business manager. It's been some years, and by now I'm sure she's much better than I will ever be. She gave me a peck on the top of my head ( cuz i'm a short little guy and she's _way_ tall ) and tells me I'm the father she never had.

That one moment in my life, to me, is worth _all_ the childhood I had to suffer thru. I _never_ would have been able to reach out to her and the rest of her family had I not _been_ a child just like her and her siblings. And she never would have realized her son was missing out on a Mom if she never had the same experience.

_that_ is what is in your power to do for children, 1234. You can be an _example_ of what it means to overcome a toxic childhood. You can be the light on the hill that gives them hope, that inspires them to rescue themselves. Let God give them the strength and show them the way. You show them that it is possible.

Mike
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:37 AM
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Thanks for the great story, Mike.

I didn't have a neglected childhood, so I didn't need to look around for people outside my family to inspire me until I was older. But the time did come, and I found plenty of inspiration around me when I opened my eyes.

I think we should ALL remember the power of inspiration. Sometimes we "carry the message" just in the way we live our lives and treat others.
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:15 AM
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That power of attraction is, I believe, the most potent in the world....

and that's a wonderful thing, isn't it!

Love the story, Mike, thank you so very much!

We can and do make a difference!
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:59 PM
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Hi guys.

Thank you for the example, Mike. It helps to picture it concretely like that. I'm grateful you were able to heal, and now can share your experience with people like your neighbor. And me!

I can remember seeing the "power of example" that you're all talking about when I was a kid. The idea that there was honesty and kindness out there in the world was a light at the end of the tunnel I kept getting sucked back into.

For me, it was books and music. I remember when I read things or heard lyrics that were insightful, I felt the possibilities sort of swell. People really could talk honestly about subtle feelings and interactions, and understand the feelings of others. And negative things like manipulation were described, which gave some clarity to my life. Yea for art!

Still, I can't help but wish someone sober and healthy would have swept me right out of there. And I wish that, emotionally, for my nephew. (Not literally! No kidnapping plans!) When I found out for sure that my nephew was in an alcoholic home, I felt just like someone had died - pure agonizing grief. For me as a child, I'm guessing.

I'll just keep feeling it, until I'm done feeling it.
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