Many people grow up feeling alone in their thoughts or feeling like there's a big elephant lurking in their family livingrooms. Watching their parents, siblings suffer from alcoholism and not understanding that it is a disease. Many people that see this growing up feel that they are the reasons why their parents, loved ones drank. This is not the case under any circumstances.
Most people drink to let loose, to escape from insecurities, to escape from reality, the excuses can continue on....I can honestly say I am not perfect in any sense and I feel I have gone around the Earth (seeing family alcholism and repeating the same as my parent, generations...) and also circling around the dark side of the Moon (seeking help for co-dependency because I loved someone so much I was trying to fix them and lost my SELF in the process). I have been on many ups and downs.
I have been sober for over a year, I have been sober from chemical drugs for over 12-13 years, and I have been pot free for over 2 months, becoming a more authentic ME.
With that said, I recently took part in an Al-Anon based 12 day Family Program for Co-Dependency. I am here to share my experience with you, but before I can, you must know how I came to this point and how and what I've done to continue on my journey through this awesome life.
I was born in a mining town, northern Ontario. Like the good old Stompin' Tom song goes, "the girls are out to Bingo and the guys are getting stinko", a motto for most industry workers, as generations pass from one to the next. I'm sure my forefathers were alcoholics, then the parents became alcoholics and the kids become worse with drugs and alcohol. It's a vicious cycle. My parents divorced when I was very young. I saw lots of drinking growing up after that. Most of the time, I was left alone, to fend for myself while my parent was out drinking. Sometimes, they would bring me to a family restaurant while they drank. At the time, being so young, it seemed normal, right? Shirley Temples were awesome. This continued on, over the years, up until about almost 2 years ago with this parent. They have quit now and are rebuilding their love for life and making amends. I'm proud. I can recount the many times that I felt alone, or hiding behind my teddy bears because I couldn't bear the sound of my parent being hung over, hugging the almighty throne. This is probably WHY to this day, I cannot stand people vomiting or the sound of it. I grew up being the nerd, the one people picked on, the loser. I never had many friends but always seemed to find my independence through all the loneliness.
I was 17 when I lost my grandfather, it was shortly before I went to college. He was my rock, I really looked up to him. I was about to enroll in the graphics design program because I really enjoyed art. I went on a downward spiral, using exstacy, pot, shrooms, crystal. This went on for about a year, every weekend, partying in 1999-2000. By 2001, I had quit doing drugs. The thing that led me to quit is hearing about a dear friend almost dying from their experience and I wondered to myself, "what the hell am I doing?"....really, who was I fooling? My parents were worried and I was lying to them, I was getting skinny, I was a mess. This was the first time I hit a low point. I had dropped out of college, my grades were showing how much partying was important, I was financially unstable and I made many mistakes in relationships and bad decisions putting my life in danger. I quit cold turkey. It was hard to distance myself from EVERYONE I knew, even my best friend. This is the only way you can get better, is to distance yourself from the situations that drags you down the spiral. I still smoked pot after that but at least I was off the rest of everything.
I moved a lot, just as much as my age. I'm 31, if you can put that into perspective, that's insane. I ask myself now, "what the hell was I running from?"...the hard answer? myself!
I quit drinking over a year ago because I started realizing that my drinking was not helping my relationship (enabling behavior) at the time and I saw that their drinking was self-abusive, manipulative. I made poor choices within this relationship as well. I felt my life was unmanageable and that I was done with the "shitshow", so to speak.
This is when I decided that change was needed. I started attending Al-Anon meetings to understand myself, and how my drinking was affecting my life, how drinking affected my family growing up, and how to help myself. I will talk about this all in Part 2- Coming Around The Darkside of the Moon.
It's hard to write an "in a nutshell" version when I can write a 5 book novel on my whole entire life thus far.
I never attended AA, but for anyone that is interested in quitting drinking, there's programs worldwide with amazing support if you are up to a challenge to experience a better quality of life. All you need to do is do a google search for your area and you will find the answers you are looking for. Know that you are not alone, many people suffer the same and it's amazing how much we can relate to other's experiences.
I understand now how alcoholism is a disease, caused by an internal factor (depression, lack of self confidence, etc) and the drink/drugs is the external release.
I am a people watcher and it's amazing even after one drink how a person can change. Don't believe me? Stay sober one night while the rest of your friends drink and you will see for yourself that you won't want to be around them, you may even feel slightly annoyed. So, I asked myself..How did I look after a few beers, shots etc? Like a f**n fool. hah. I'll spare you the embarrassing stories, I'm sure we all have our own. I also ask myself WHY I drank? My answer is because I didn't have confidence, or I was depressed and didn't know that I can simply talk to someone or that I can choose to pay my bills instead of drinking a case of beer.
If you quit drinking, you'll notice how many people really support you and those who were just around because you were a drop off place to have a beer. That's ok, keep the support close and the bad ones far away, at least for the meantime.
I quit pot almost 2 months ago and I feel amazing with only cigarettes to quit (which is coming real soon). I'm taking it one day at a time, one moment at a time, really smelling the roses.
My part two, I will talk about co-dependency and how to become a stronger person when you are involved in a relationship with someone under the influence, or family alcoholism. I wished I knew about all the support a long time ago, but it's never too late to get started.
With much love and light,