26. December 2005 · Comments Off on I’m Getting Personal….. · Categories: General

…And I might come back later and yank this post, as not really being related to the overall theme of our blog, but sometimes you just gotta dump what’s in your gut, and hope there’s someone who can hear it and relate to it.

Later this week, for the first time in my life, I’ll be going to an Al-Anon meeting. For some reason, this scares me. It shouldn’t. It’s not like I’m the only person in the world who ever grew up in an alcoholic family. It’s not like I’m the only person in the world who ever needed help to keep from wanting to kick the living shit out of someone because of how they behave when they’re “likkered up.” I’m certainly not the only person in the world who has bad childhood memories (or no memories?) of family holidays because there was so much stress/chaos involved in them. So even though I’ll be walking into a room full of strangers, it’s not like I’m walking into a room full of strangers, ya know?

Heck, I won’t even be going alone – I’ve got a friend who’s offered to go with me so there’ll be someone there I know. And we’re going to a meeting that she particularly likes, where she assures me I’ll be safe.

This is actually huge progress, for me. Two years ago, she offered that if I ever wanted to attend a meeting, she’d go with me. At that time, I couldn’t even consider it, because in my brain going to a meeting meant that I was defective, somehow (hmmm… *they’re* the alcoholics, but I’m defective). Recently, I’ve been able to view Al-Anon as a resource that can help me get to where I want to be, which is detached from the emotional chaos that my family generates. It kills me that I can still be sucked into their chaos when I’m 500+ miles away from them.

So I guess that means I’m growing up (not the part about being sucked into their chaos – the other part). Which is not a bad thing. And it probably means I’m healing, which is definitely a good thing. Now, if there were only some way to make it not hurt, then everything would be all better. Or if I could figure out what hurts, or why it hurts. For lack of a better description, my heart hurts.

Is it because I can’t avoid the fact that we weren’t a “Leave it to Beaver” family? (were there any such?) Or is it because I’m the only one in my family who will say that the family was/is alcoholic?

We’re hillbillies. Drinking is what we do. One time when I was home from college, my brother teasingly said maybe I wasn’t really one of the family, since I wasn’t a drinker (I didn’t like the taste of alcohol back then, so I wouldn’t drink). Christmas gifts to grandparents were huge jugs of whiskey, and christmas visits involved lots of alcohol (mostly for the adults, of course). I spent most of my adolescence refusing to drink with my aunt and my grandma, and then listening to them say I thought I was better than they were, since I wouldn’t drink with them. They just kept ignoring the part where I was 14, or 16, or whatever age I was at the various times. (eta: I’m not talking about wine with dinner, I’m talking about sipping whiskey throughout the entire day)

As far as I know, I’m the first one of us to spend 3+ years in therapy, trying to get past my past. And other than my dad’s little brother, who joined AA 15 or so years ago, I’m the only one I know of who’s choosing to go to an Al-Anon meeting. I thought about an Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting, but after some research, I think Al-Anon might be a better fit for me, right now.

I’m hoping to learn how to detach from the family without divorcing the family. And it would probably do me good to learn that I’m not crazy, and not alone. So it’s probably a good idea for me to go.

My therapist told me one time that it’s the *healthy* members of the family who are in therapy. I’m just not feeling very healthy, right now. I’m pretty much feeling defective.

(/personal stuff)

Update: Looks like I won’t be deleting this post 🙂 I came online this morning, ready to delete it, and there was already one comment posted, so I thought I’d wait until I had time to email the commenter and thank him/her for posting, and the next time I looked, there were 6!
I *do* appreciate y’alls support – last night was a wee bit of a meltdown…they’ve been happening fairly frequently this holiday season as my past battles its way into my consciousness again for more healing.

This al-anon decision has been slowly building since last New Year’s Eve, when I was visiting my dad for the holiday, and had to leave the house at 2am to find a motel, because my nephew and his wife (who lived with my dad) were having a drunken row, and it was impossible for me to sleep. Things came to a head with them this fall, and they’ve since been evicted from my dad’s house last month (they weren’t renting from him, they were squatting from him). But it really drove home to me how much enabling is one of our family traditions (denial’s another big one), and then the whole mess just kept dragging on, and everytime I’d hear more about it, I’d get tied up in knots cause I don’t detach well, and so I knew it was time.

It’s still scary – biggest fear is that I’m just gonna sit there Fri night and bawl my eyes out, much as I was doing last night. But I’m ok with that, as long as I know that no one’s gonna jump on me for it. But since I’m no longer hungry, lonely or tired, it’s not as frightening as it seemed last night.

Thanks, everyone, for your support. It really does help. 🙂

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