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If your live with an Alcoholic and have children in the home.

Old 02-10-2012, 10:33 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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I keep coming back to this in my mind:
A mere 150 years ago children were property to be seen and not heard, were working in sweatshops thorughout the Western world, beaten by bosses and strangers alike, and with fewer protections against inhuman treatment then even animals. This is the world my (European) forefathers came from...this is the world my parents strove to transend. If I hold them to the standards of modern child services, I could make them out to be pretty darn bad I suppose...but when I hold them to historical standards and remember thier humanity is no less then mine, they look pretty good.
I think LTD's comment explained to me why this line of thinking irks me. Because as codependents, we make an artform out of settling. Telling ourselves it could be worse. Telling ourselves at least we're not blind in a wheel chair in a warzone. Telling ourself at least he isn't beating us. Then telling ourselves he at least he isn't beating the kids. Telling ourselves at least he isn't injuring the kids that much.

As codependents and family of alcoholics, we're not exactly prone to exaggerating the problems. On the contrary, we're prone to downplaying them and settling for much less than we, and the children, deserve. And I think that's part of an enabling behavior, that isn't good for the family or the addict. So I think comparing to an era gone by is the wrong standard: We should be comparing to a normal family situation by today's standards. Anything else is making excuses. Which I was the expert on for 20 years.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:35 AM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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I am having an incredibly hard time right now realizing (as I have realized for some time now) just how much I recreated my childhood for my kids. I was that inconsistent, sometimes on edge, sometimes distracted, sometimes unreasonably angry parent.

I can't blame AH for that and I despise myself for not having kicked AH out sooner.

Hindsight of course is 20:20. I was told I was doing them harm and I did not see it- or didn't want to. I believed that they were immune to it. I believed that they were protected from most of it.

I am grateful for this thread bc it reminds me (particularly during this week with my girls behavior has been very very trying) that I have no right to be frustrated or impatient with their issues bc I am the one responsible for them having the issues they do.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:14 AM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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I have no right to be frustrated or impatient with their issues bc I am the one responsible for them having the issues they do.
Smack. Across the forehead. Two-by-four.
You are so right.
Thank you.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:15 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Thanks Bill for you open, honest sharing in this post.
I wanted to skip it, and I did for several long hours.

I'm the alcoholic mom, as well as the wife who left an alcoholic.
Your share, and the shares of others, while difficult - is an appreciated reminder of how we (myself and kids) are recovering today.

You mentioned DesertEyes. He has been a wonderful motivator in my recovery. He shared, sometime back, about a book that had helped him. I was excited and asked him if he thought my kids would benefit from reading that book. He patiently pointed out that what my kids choose to read is up to them. Making material available is one thing, but pushing it onto them is codependent behavior.

I'm may be mistaken, but I think the book was: It will Never Happen to Me.
I read that book and could identify each character trait in my family of origin (alcohol/drug free) and in my children (alcoholic parents). I wanted my kids to read it too. But I took the advise of DesertEyes and allowed them to discover truths in their own time.

Fastforward a year later.....My son is in community college and needs to write an essay for Psyc 101. The most popular subjects were chosen, but he came across an article based on the info in "It Will Never Happen to Me" and it discussed the dynamic of outcomes when the mother is the alcoholic vs. when the father is the alcoholic. He chose that article to write his essay.

It was eye opening for him to see himself portrayed so clearly in black and white. He was the ideal role model for a middle child male with an alcoholic mother. It was a painful week in our lives as he realized his hatred for his alcoholic step-father was not supposed to be to the singular target. His mother shared in creating the environment that produced his character defects. Yet he loved me.

Being aware, was a painful process.
I think we have worked through acceptance.

He understands that it is now up to him to take actions to prevent repeating the cycle, to protect himself in relationships and so much more.

Bill, may your recovery journey continue to bring you peace and serenity.

Thank you for your share.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:36 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
Smack. Across the forehead. Two-by-four.
You are so right.
Thank you.
I could have rephrased the "I have no right" part... I do and you do have a right to be frustrated (day in and out tantrums do drain a parent!) but what I need to do is be a lot more patient than I sometimes am bc many of the behaviors that frustrate me are directly proportionate to the time I stayed with AH and what that made me like as a mother to my kids...

I didn't want anyone to take from my post that I think we have no right to feel what we feel... Bad phrasing on my part...
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:10 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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I got your point. But I know I tend to -- in those moments of mayhem -- just boil with rage at AXH inside. Because he gets to not see the damage he's caused. Because I get to deal with it all.

So it's a good thing to remember that I hold some responsibility too for their emotional state. And they're innocent bystanders who shouldn't have had to deal with the bad choices of the adults in the first place.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:57 PM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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WTBH and lillamy,

Taking responsibility for the harm I have done my children was heartbreaking. I felt worthless (a bonus from depression) and useless.
Then I remembered that by taking responsibility, it may hurt, but it makes it possible to change it! If it belongs to me, since I know better, I can do better.

I hope this makes sense. I am very excited!

Beth
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:58 PM
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My boyfriend's father had an alcoholic father. But you would never know that unless he told you. He is the most patient man in the world, very tolerant (but not codependent) everything my own father isn't. Not sure how that happened.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:01 PM
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Even though I have NEVER drank in front of my children they could FEEL the undercurrents of my hubby's and mine last fight because of my drinking. Not to mention the hangover to deal with and trying to keep functioning, I know my kids deserve better, just like I did growing up.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
So, I just wanted to throw out there that there are some cases of dysfunction that I think are on par with alcoholic family dynamics.
I absolutely agree with this. I think dysfunction can cover a whole range of behaviors, some extremely harmful, some merely unusual. And that's exactly why I think it's a bit confusing to say that sometimes a "dysfunctional" family is better than a broken one. Because "dysfunction" can mean so many things. And, as Lillamy pointed out, most of us tend toward minimizing rather than exaggerating when it comes to the dysfunction we live in.

So, I guess my point was that of course you would not get a divorce over some harmless amount of dysfunction. But most of us on this board are not talking about "harmless" dysfunction.

L
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:10 PM
  # 51 (permalink)  
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WtBH and lillamy,

My dad took responsibility for the severe beatings he doled out to me as a child and adolescent, he said, I am sorry, I did what I thought was best, I know now that I could and should have done better, I am so glad that in spite of me you have grown up to be a man that I am very proud of. We now have an excellent relationship, our only real obstacle in his enabling and co-dependancy of my mothers alcoholism, but that is his life and I am learning to deatch from that part of it.

My mom on the other hand, still drinking 6 bottles of wine a day at 76, still will not admist to having a drinking problem, and denies our house was ever anything but unicorns and rainbows growing up. Our relationship is distant and strained.

I gues my point is do not be to hard on yourselves, as long as you are honest with your children and admit your mistakes, then I beleive they will forgive you and love you even more.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:18 PM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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All, I also posted a chart called "The Family Trap" as a new thread in the ACOA forum, it basically explains roles and results in dysfunctional homes.

If you want a better copy, I have posted this in my Photobucket Account under Willybluedog in the Sober Recovery Album.

I found that it is eerily accurrate, at least in my family role as "Scapegoat", I hope you will check it out.

Thanks,

Bill
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:38 PM
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Yeah, I'm not beating myself up on a daily basis about this -- I think delving in past mistakes is helpful only if you use it to change your behavior today -- but it's something I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive myself for. Which, you know, is kind of fair given that I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive AXH for what he did either...
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:04 PM
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I am an ACOA as well. My father drank throughout my entire childhood.

My father was the opposite of a mean drunk. He was very mild, loving and affectionate and I absolutely adored him. There was no abuse in my family, but my father's drinking was his priority and evrybody in the family was affected by his drinking (my mother, my brother and I). My mother stayed with him all these years as he continued to drink and occasionally cheat on her.

Guess what? I married an alcoholic too. The exact same type of alcoholic my father was...a mild, sensitive, intelligent alcoholic...one who would never raise his hand. Not only did I marry an alcoholic but we also brought a child into this world. Luckily, my alcoholic husband sobered up 3 years ago and we saw light in the end of the tunnel. At least until a few months ago when I found out that my recovering alcoholic husband has been cheating on me.

I would have never ever even imagined that I would end up with somebody like my father. I did not like how he treated my mother and I never liked growing up in a household where alcohol had higher priority than me and my brother. Yet I married a younger version of my father...

I have now decided to stop the cycle and show my child that this is not what married life and partnership are supposed to be like. She is my number one priority and I vow to be what they call the "transition generation" for her...i.e. the generation that stops the unhealthy patterns so they do not get passed on to the next generation and the next generation and the next generation....

I have a long road ahead of me, but I have to change myself and do the work so that my daughter won't have to go through the same painful experiences.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:08 PM
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Thank you, Bill, for telling the truth!
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:29 PM
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LaTeeDa- I figured that was the message ... I didn't take what you were saying as if you thought dysfunction was no biggie-- I just found your post made me think about the similarities b/w families w active alcoholism vs not and I kind of got rambling! Shocker for me, right?! And I agree 200% that there is no dysfunctional family that stays together that is better than a healthy one apart. However, for the first year I was around here I probably tried to argue otherwise.... I don't really know when I can pinpoint things changing but my whole perspective is different these days and man am I glad for that!
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:20 PM
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I think this would be good in it's own thread...

This should be it's own thread. I'd love to hear from people what they know and have learned about breaking the cycle-- about being the transition...

Originally Posted by hellma View Post
I am an ACOA as well. My father drank throughout my entire childhood.

My father was the opposite of a mean drunk. He was very mild, loving and affectionate and I absolutely adored him. There was no abuse in my family, but my father's drinking was his priority and evrybody in the family was affected by his drinking (my mother, my brother and I). My mother stayed with him all these years as he continued to drink and occasionally cheat on her.

Guess what? I married an alcoholic too. The exact same type of alcoholic my father was...a mild, sensitive, intelligent alcoholic...one who would never raise his hand. Not only did I marry an alcoholic but we also brought a child into this world. Luckily, my alcoholic husband sobered up 3 years ago and we saw light in the end of the tunnel. At least until a few months ago when I found out that my recovering alcoholic husband has been cheating on me.

I would have never ever even imagined that I would end up with somebody like my father. I did not like how he treated my mother and I never liked growing up in a household where alcohol had higher priority than me and my brother. Yet I married a younger version of my father...

I have now decided to stop the cycle and show my child that this is not what married life and partnership are supposed to be like. She is my number one priority and I vow to be what they call the "transition generation" for her...i.e. the generation that stops the unhealthy patterns so they do not get passed on to the next generation and the next generation and the next generation....

I have a long road ahead of me, but I have to change myself and do the work so that my daughter won't have to go through the same painful experiences.
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:08 PM
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If you live with an active alcoholic and think the kids don't know, you are in denial big time. Or else you're lying to yourself because you don't want to do anything about it, or are scared to.

My father was an active alcoholic and I ALWAYS knew something was wrong. I was always afraid of him. He terrorized his wife and kids.

"The Shining" reminded me of my early childhood.




I wouldn't wish that on anybody.
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:11 PM
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Kudzujean,

You nailed it, great job!
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:48 PM
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Thank you for posting this. Unfortunately it is very, very true, the real victims are the children. It's a burden they will carry their whole lives.
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