I am really hurting...

Old 01-04-2010, 09:56 AM
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I am really hurting...

Well, I am up to 8 days sober. Yesterday was my mom's birthday, and I went to her house to make dinner; I also brought her a cake and a gift. As I was driving there, I past an old barn...mostly all that's left there now is the foundation, but it was just an old abandoned structure when I was growing up. I had a sudden flashback of being 12 years old and making plans to take my little brother with me and go to stay in that barn because things were so bad at home with my dad's drinking; I figured we could hide out there until it was "safe" to go back.

Even though I have only a short time of sobriety under my belt, I am already starting to see things differently. I love my parents and for years I defended everything they did, even my dad's alcoholism and my mom's enabling. I "forgot" about memories like the one I had yesterday, somehow convinced myself that those things never happened, but now reality is starting to set in. I am even dreaming of things that I thought I would never think about again.

The flashback wasn't a trigger for me, but I was in a crappy mood when I got to my parents' house, and that upset me because I really wanted to make the day special for my mom. I did my best to put on a happy face, but I think my mom suspected that I wasn't in the greatest of moods. My three year old son was acting up and I just had no patience with him at all and yelled at him numerous times throughout the night, which makes me feel guilty.

I am not someone who blames other people for my problems. I own my problems, they are mine to solve. I had an ex-boyfriend who was really messed up in a lot of ways - drugs, etc. - and everything that was wrong with him, he blamed on the way his mother treated him as a child. I don't want to feel anger towards my father now. He has never apologized for all the things that happened in my childhood, and he is not a very affectionate person, but he has tried to make up for it in the ways that he knows how. He bought me a car, he gave me the down payment for my house, for pete's sake. But I'm starting to feel that some things just can't be denied...I suffer from alcoholism and a variety of mental illnesses now, and can I really, honestly say that that didn't stem from my childhood? I don't think so.

So what can I do? I want to work on ME, not focus on the past, but right now the past is blocking my way.

Last edited by lostmyway; 01-04-2010 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:07 AM
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I am glad I am not the only one. I have been "Waking up" too, although from opiates, and I am only 5 days clean. The saying this to shall pass, keeps playing over and over in my mind. Yesterday the anxiety for me was super high, and I really had to fight to keep things under control, and I did, but it wasnt easy. I too have dealt with the addicted parent and the enabling parent. Then I delt with the addicted husband and the enabling me, then I became the addict. Anyways I am excited to hear the responses here too, because when the past blocks your way, Im not real sure what to do either. Thanks for sharing this with us.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:40 AM
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So what can I do? I want to work on ME, not focus on the past, but right now the past is blocking my way
Hi Lost,

I'm sorry you were hurting yesterday. Great job on the 8 days sober tho! I think you are on the right track in wanting to work on yourself. However, part of "you" is your childhood and your memories, so those things are going to be part of your recovery, too.

As addicts and alcoholics, we are used to instant gratification, and recovery is not always like that. There are times when we have to "stand still", so to speak, and learn about a part of ourselves that we didn't acknowledge during the time we were actively drinking or using. Total recovery, to me, means working it ALL out, and our path may not always be of our choosing, just like you didn't choose to have that memory surface yesterday.

And, yeah, whether we like it or not, our families of origin are part of our recovery too. You will have to learn what is right for you in relation to your folks and the rest of your kin as a sober person. If you are anything like me, your emotions will be all over the place, especially in early sobriety, and that is ok. You are learning who YOU are again, without the drinking, and it's likely that feelings of any sort, towards anyone, will throw you for a while as you learn to live without numbing yourself.

I guess my advice is to be gentle with yourself, take your time in your recovery, and look into AA, counselling, self help books, etc. to help you in your relationship with your folks. If you are female, the book and accompanying work book "A Woman's Way Thru the 12 Steps" was immensely helpful to me.

Thanks for sharing that post.

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Old 01-04-2010, 10:40 AM
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I understand completely what you're going through LMW. I don't blame my parents for all of my problems, but my drinking started at 13 with my dad taking me into bars and drinking with him (these establishments would be closed over this behavior now days).

But to say that our parent's behavior didn't have any effect on us is simply not true. Everything we experienced in our formative years is directly related to who we become as adults -- good or bad. It's not necessarily blame -- just acceptance. But then, we must figure out how to deal with these memories and issues that arise as a result.

This has been my stumbling block in sobriety as well. Dealing directly with certain family members is a trigger for me. And dealing with repressed memories that unexpectedly show up is very difficult for me as well.

Maybe you can find someone to talk to about these things -- a trusted friend, family member or a even a counselor. Also, we'll be here for you.

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Old 01-04-2010, 11:22 AM
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Yeah....dealing with sobriety is also dealing with 'stuff'. As you deal with that stuff though, I beleive you become stronger in your sobriety.

Congratulations on 8 sober days! Take it easy on yourself...and take your time. Sobriety really is a journey.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:19 PM
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Isn't it amazing how when we stop drinking we are able to "see" the things in our lives that need to be addressed...the things that need to be resolved, made sense of, amended and even forgiven. It's hard work, no doubt, but in the end it's a better way to live.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:26 PM
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Yes, the perspective we develop is amazing, isn't it!

I understand that you don't want to blame other people (your parents) for your problems, but, I think you can give yourself permission to feel the feelings and validate them. I have similar issues in my background, and in my recovery, I have definitely shifted my perspective. I have worked hard on forgiving, for my sake, because I was tired of carrying around the burden. But, I don't dismiss what happened when I was growing up. It's part of who I am.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:26 PM
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Having some sober time helps me deal with my retched past. The more time I spend on healing my past issues of hurt...sober...helps me find ways to deal with it. Because I no longer try to numb out the past hurt, now I'm compelled to deal with it or stay stuck. And staying stuck in my past extremely unconformable and miserable making. So now I'm very motivated to find ways in order to live peacefully with my past.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:45 PM
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I hear this a lot. It's helped me. Maybe it will help you:

"My parents did the best they could, or they would have done better."
"I've done the best I can, or I would have done better."
"We're all doing the best we can with the strength we've got."

On the flipside the best thing I've ever done for myself is put the pen to the paper in step 4, then 5-9. What an amazing process. It's the only way I know of to get any permanent relief.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by lostmyway View Post
So what can I do? I want to work on ME, not focus on the past, but right now the past is blocking my way.
Would you say that the world and it's people really dominate you? Even if you don't want them to? There it is, lostmyway. You don't want it to, but that past is blocking you.

StereoSteveo gave the best answer I know. In Step 4 I got to look at all the things that were blocking me. Because I couldn't wish them away, even when I wanted to be rid of them. There they were, hanging me up. That inventory and the rest of the process gave me the opportunity to be free of my past.

Quick story: Last week I had the opportunity to share one of my darkest things with another alcoholic. It was that thing that I've only ever shared with a trusted sponsor. But, it was pertinent to this guy in writing his own inventory. So I shared it with him without the least hint of shame or regret or fear. It's become an asset to me. Beautiful really. A thing that I hid from for years no longer has any power over me. It's freedom.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:13 PM
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I always likened my sobriety to a beach when the tide went out - I saw all the debris I had covered up, inadvertently or not, for all those years.

Just pick up a piece at a time and at your own pace...get some help if you need it, and know you're not alone here


Last edited by Dee74; 01-04-2010 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:25 PM
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I blamed my alcoholic, verbally and sexually abusive father and my cold distant mother for all my problems for 30 yrs. They had done so much for me and I was thankful but... I suffered with depression, anxiety disorders and alcholism and it was all their fault... Well before I could let go of the past I had to deal with it and it took lots of therapy which didn't do a lot of good until I stopped drinking; it was only then that I accepted that yes some pretty lousy stuff happened when I was a kid through no fault of mine; BUT I had screwed up my adult life-- I was responsible. I was then able to forgive myself and my parents, unfortunetly my mom passed just 5 mths after I got sober so I wasn't able to spend time with her, but through the forgiveness my dad (who's been sober 25+ yrs) and I have become the best of friends.
So what I think is you need to face all the bad and you need to forgive yourself then you can truly forgive the others.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:29 PM
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I relate to what you said a lot, lost. I was my little brother's protector too, and was always making plans for us to go somewhere safe.

I try, too, to focus on myself and say that I am responsible for my drinking and the past is the past, etc... but those nasty old dark things will find a way in no matter what I do via dreams or stumbling across a reminder like you did.

There is a difference between blaming someone else for my drinking and examining events that shaped me as a person. I try to just look at the events and how they affected me and not think about the adults invloved, what they were thinking, whether they have remorse, etc. that's none of my business nor do I think it would help me to know.

Hang in there, and I agree with Dee- go at your own pace, it's a process.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:47 PM
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You are all right...recovery is, of course, a process, and anyone here that's getting to know me knows that patience is a virtue I most definitely DON'T possess. But it took years for my alcoholism to develop, and it will most likely take years for me to get better. I have just begun to scratch the surface. There is a long, hard road ahead of me, but I am a strong person and I believe I will make it, and someday, maybe, just maybe, in some way I will even be grateful for the experience.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:12 PM
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We have a lot in common, lmw. There is a way out of this -- right through it, one foot in front of the other.

Peace & Love,
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:24 PM
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I read this earlier and the first thing that came to my mind was an interpretation/explanation of the fourth step that I came across recently.

Traditionally Step 4 reads: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

The interpretation that spoke to me reads: "Took an intelligent look at our behavior, seeing its relationship to family patterns and dysfunctional culture"

I'm working on this, maybe gaining the teeniest bit of ground

(try googling Anodea Judith's 12 Steps if you want to read more, it's copywritten and I don't think I'm allowed to quote it )
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:39 AM
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Maybe I'm ready to begin doing step work? I've connected with a young mom at one of the meetings and I've thought of asking her to be my sponsor, but I'm scared.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:28 AM
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lostmyway hon, do not be afraid any more, you are no longer alone in this, ask her to be your sponsor, if she says no (there is a chance), then ask her if she can help you find a sponsor.

The wreckage and damage of our past today we face, one of my favorite promises in the BB I found to come true was after I had finished steps 4 through 9 and began the maintenance steps 10 thru 12:

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
When I was drinking all I wanted to do was SLAM the door shut on my past, all that manure ate me alive, oblivion was my escape!!

Today I have worked through and owned my past instead of my past owning me! I use my past as a tool today, I use it to help others as well as a learning tool for me.

Keep in mind hon as you take the steps with your sponsor to be BRUTALLY honest with your self, keep an open mind to all things, and remain willing to do what ever it takes!

On the other side of the steps, when one begins to apply them to all areas of thier life, they will suddenly find them selfs walking in the light, one will become free of not only the bondage of their alcoholism/addiction, but more importantly free of the bondage of SELF!

I have found that as long as I maintain myself spiritually fit I face life on lifes terms knowing that a drink nor a drug are in any way a solution for a darn thing, they are a pathway right back to the gates of hell that the steps and my HP brought me out of.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:01 AM
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I think you're really lucky. You're discovering pretty soon why you drank. And trying to bury things is a really good reason.
It will get better. But the only way out is thru.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:09 AM
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I love what Anna said about validating our own feelings. I have had to work through a lot of what has happened in my past and at the same time, and like you, refuse to let it get the best of me. I want to continue to rise above it all and succeed.

I truly feel for you. I hope that you are able to work through your past as it is a part of who you are. As long as we can learn from it, how it's affected us, how we react to things in our daily lives that we can relate to our past, really helps, IMO.

I learned by looking at all of that, that how I work through things and have in the past have been based on a lot of my past experiences. It's a lot of work but a lot of our hardships can make us some of the strongest people we'll ever know.

Keep focusing on you as much as possible. This is your life today, you have choices and the only person you need to make happy everyday is YOU!!!!
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