I attended the 27th annual Barrie Men’s Group Christmas breakfast today with mare. The speaker today was a guy from Parry Sound and he was a one of the first speakers in a while that really made me think. He spoke about how he and his brother were raised in a broken up alcoholic home situation. He was the younger brother in that situation, but what I could relate to was the idea that his mother used him as a sort of surrogate husband. He also spoke about how he ended up going to the fellowship known as Adult Children of Alcoholics. Holy SHIT! I have been thinking the same thing. There is something missing in my life that I think would be very beneficial to my recovery journey. I have already purchased the literature for this program, I have yet to really dig into it. I have been thinking a lot lately about my relationship to my parents and I don’t know what to call my relationship to my mother. But she certainly relied on my far more than was appropriate for a young person. She was always treating me more as an ally that than a child. I have to get into this meat of that program somehow. And I was wondering if I should be waiting until after I have gone through the step work in AA.
Yesterday was very off for me. I think that the first issue was that I let a guy at work get under my skin. I don’t know what it is about the guy; but one issue is his obsessions with small issues. He is like a dog with a bone on some things. He cannot let something go if he “thinks” that he is right. I’ve over heard him say that he has something like 17 outstanding grievances filed with our union. Which probably should tell me all I need to know about the guy. Anyways, he spent the whole day freaking out about some small issue and it really wore me out. Later in the afternoon I got some messages from Mare that made me feel like she really doesn’t get how much I do around the house. She told me that she was planning on working on the huge laundry problem we have at the moment. Well, I have been keeping up with doing laundry! So what the fuck is she talking about? I tried to run out the frustration at the gym, but that didn’t really work this time. Well it felt good, but it also gave me time to get into my own head and get myself worked up about it. So at the house it seems like I cannot keep up with keeping things clean. Mare will tell me how frustrated she is with how messy or cluttered rooms are. But I have sorted, organized and cleaned lots of these areas so many fucking times! It just seems like the give a fuck factor is missing. This really left me feeling drained and miserable. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and pretend that this situation isn’t happening. I have learned that this is not healthy for me, that isolating is not good for me. Isolating is a problem that I developed when I was drinking. It’s insanity, I feel lonely so I am going to make myself even more lonely by hiding from everyone. My misery wants to grow!
I guess the good thing to learn here is that I can recognize this in myself and reach out before it becomes a problem. I really should be calling my sponsor when it comes to things like this.
Mare has been sick for a few weeks now. Normally I would do my best to help out and take care of things and her to the best of my ability. But holy shit, I have become so very annoyed with this situation. She has been keeping up at night with her coughing and with I think I am going to be coming down with the same thing. She gets these awful coughing attacks and I just keep thinking “ENOUGH”! Now I am wondering where this coming from? Why am I so annoyed with this? Weird.
I also have come to a weird realization. I was watching something on TV that got me thinking about my relationship with my father. I have so very many resentments towards him, but one of the biggest might just be that I have become just like him. I used to swear up and down that I would never become like him. I thought that there was no way that I could ever follow in his foot steps, or do any of the same things he did. ………and here I am. I certainly followed down his path for a time. I want to believe that I have stopped and started to forge my own path. God I want to believe that so badly.
We have had a few new comers to our group lately. I want to help these people, it’s part of the program and I enjoy seeing people succeed in making it in recovery. The problem I have is that I have not yet completed my step work so I don’t know how I feel about trying to be someone’s sponsor. I have not been asked yet, except for one time. That was a long time ago. This young guy was at the Saturday morning men’s meeting and I greeted him and he sat near me. I spoke to him a little bit and after the meeting he asked if I would be his sponsor. I told him that I couldn’t because I haven’t completed my step work yet. I gave him my phone number though and told him to call any time he needed to and that we would work on finding him a sponsor. I have never seen that guy again. I hope he is doing OK. Keith later told me that I could have offered to be his temporary sponsor because I have more than enough time in the program.
My brain is such a mystery to me sometimes. I had a pretty decent day yesterday. I have been having a hard time with sleep the last couple of nights, but other than that nothing that throws up any flags for me. I had a really good run on the treadmill at the gym, and was looking forward to hanging out for a bit and while getting cleaned up in the shower I glanced over at the mirror. Well for some reason my mind flipped into a torrent of all kinds of negative self talk. I started to feel terrible about myself. I feel like all the work in the gym and the dieting has been useless, that it’s all pointless. I mean what’s the point in trying to change how I look when no one gives a shit. It’s so hard to shake that feeling. I know that recognizing it is important, but recognizing it and doing something about it is hard.
I managed to get more sleep last night and today I hopefully have a better outlook on things. I don’t know how my day will unfold, but I have asked to have my thoughts, my words and my actions guided my a power greater than myself.
I am feeling very low energy today. I am afraid that I have over trained for this run on Sunday. I have no clue what that would actually feel like, but I woke up today and felt like I could sleep for a few more hours. The funny thing is that I was in bed really early. So I don’t think it was lack of sleep. I need a vacation, and not a vacation where I am running around all the time. I want to spend some time just sitting by the pool. Just relaxing, enjoying a snack and a frosty pop, or a virgin Nojito. Florida can’t come soon enough.
I have been reading a little bit of the ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) program. They have this list of 25 questions that you should go through if you are trying to figure out if you have been suffering from the side effects of being raised in a dysfunctional home, I am going to list them here and explain how I feel about each one. This is going to be a long one, but I hope to get something out of this, so maybe it will be worth it.
Am I an Adult Child?
- Do you recall anyone drinking or taking drugs or being involved in some other behavior that you now believe could be dysfunctional?
- – Yes, my father was always a drinker. I won’t get into the specific details, but it’s safe to say that his alcohol abuse tried to kill him on several occasions.
- Did you avoid bringing friends to your home because of drinking or some other dysfunctional behavior in the home?
- yes, my dad would be erratic and unpredictable at times. He would sometimes come home and pass out on the couch, that was the only time I ever felt safe bringing any friends into the house.
- Did one of your parents make excuses for the other parent’s drinking or other behaviors?
- Mom always hid the fact that this was a problem. She would go so far as to work multiple jobs to make ends meet because Dad would have spent so much money at the bar. I remember her telling us that Dad is just tired after waking up so early for work and that we had to be quiet while he slept.
- Did your parents focus on each other so much that they seemed to ignore you?
- This one is a little harder to examine. I can’t recall any specific examples.
- Did your parents or relatives argue constantly?
- I seem to recall many arguments about money and drinking. Dad was in the military and he was away from home a lot. I remember that these were the only times that there was any harmony in the house hold.
- Do you believe that it is your responsibility to take care of your parents’ feelings or worries? Do other relatives look to you to solve their problems?
- My mother always talked to me about the things that were going on in their relationship. From the time that she wanted to have an intervention, to the time that they were splitting up. I always felt like I had to be more grown up than I was. That I had to help the family get through these tough times.
- Do you fear authority figures and angry people?
- Fuck yes – this has always frustrated me to no end. I get scared pulling up to RIDE programs and I am sober. I get nervous around all police officers and I have absolutely nothing to hide, even a speeding ticket can be a a panic inducing experience. When I encounter angry people I begin to have panic attacks. I shake and lose the ability to speak.
- Do you constantly seek approval or praise but have difficulty accepting a compliment when one comes your way?
- I now realize that I have a habit of craving everyone’s approval. But a compliment makes me feel false. Like I am unworthy of this approval.
- Do you see most forms of criticism as a personal attack?
- I desperately want to say that I am capable of taking a simple criticism. But that would be a lie. I can listen to it and not react right away, but I take it personal. I tell myself that I am fine, but inwardly I am a raging mess. I am pissed that you would dare tell me I did something wrong. I have always hated those people that have that constant need to be “right”, because when they are it means they took time to prove me wrong. That sort of thing always feels like a personal attack.
- Do you over commit yourself and then feel angry when others do not appreciate what you do?
- I can’t ever say no to helping someone. Even if I really don’t want to, I will give someone a hand doing something. I have made up elaborate lies at times to get out of doing something like helping someone move. I do truly enjoy helping people that I am close to, but I have been put in this position by people like casual acquaintances and co-workers.
- Do you think you are responsible for the way another person feels or behaves?
- I have this insane need for everyone around me to be OK. There is a passage in the big book that talks about how we are like a “director” and life is a play. I have to try to control everything going on and what everyone is doing. Life would be so much easier if everyone would just do what I want them to. I have recognized this in myself and for the most part I feel like I have let the control part go. But I still find myself feeling responsible for others feelings.
- Do you have difficulty identifying feelings?
- Oh God yes, so much yes. I have only ever been able to classify feelings into: happy, sad, or angry. Is that enough?
- Do you focus outside yourself for love or security?
- Yes, I again think that I would rather have someone validate me that be OK with myself. My inner monologue is always telling me that I am worthless and that I need people. That I can’t do things on my own. My inner child does not feel secure or loved, that much I know.
- Do you involve yourself in the problems of others?
- Obviously, again, I feel like I focus too much on others and never enough on myself.
- Do you equate sex with intimacy?
- this one is tough to answer, I will think about circling back to this one
- Do you confuse love and pity?
- I think that I have always been infatuated with those that I pity. I started thinking about this a long time ago. I wonder if I was interested in someone that I can pity because I don’t feel worthy to approach someone that I am really interested in. I have a story about this from a long time ago about a girl named Nadia.
- Have you found yourself in a relationship with a compulsive or dangerous person and wonder how you got there?
- Mare used to be a little bit OCD. She would obsessively stack books and cans in her place. She constantly cleaned and tidied her place. I wouldn’t call her dangerous. But again, I am reminded about a few stories from when I was a teenager.
- Do you judge yourself without mercy and guess at what is normal?
- Yes, always. I never do anything to my own satisfaction. I always think that I could have done better. That everyone is better than me, at just about everything.
- Do you behave one way in public and another way at home?
- I don’t think so, but I will need to think about this one a little more.
- Do you think your parents had a problem with drinking or taking drugs?
- Yes absolutely.
- Do you think you were affected by the drinking or other dysfunctional behavior of your parents or family?
- Well fuck, if that’s not at least part of the problem I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.