March 22, 2012 at 12:16 am #90632
AnonymousInactiveMarch 22, 2012 at 12:16 amPost count: 14413
I’m at an intensive course in far from home – 8 days down, 9 to go and it’s going really well. (See yesterday’s post under “High Fives).
Since I go to Theological school we have a chaplain/counsellor with us in our main large group a lot of the time. I don’t think it’s that common, but we are very lucky to have her. She’s wonderful. Since tomorrow I have to meet with the program head to discuss the long overdue papers, I met with her to talk about “stuff” and how to best approach this subject with him. (He really is a great guy and has been more than generous with me. We’ll also talk about things that are going great.)
A few days ago I believe I came up with the reason I’m having such a terrible time getting them done. I can’t possibly make them perfect. So of course, the end result is my extreme procrastination. Since Strattera has been helping so much with other parts of ADHD, I have been wondering why this remains such an issue. And so I wonder if, although perfectionism can be part of ADHD, are there other factors coming into play? Bingo. I have never ever addressed the whole “adult child of an alcoholic” subject. Last night I looked it up. Perfectionism is a biggie, and I definitely had to be perfect in my house all those years ago. It was the best way to avoid explosions. Of the 13 issues listed on the ACOA websites, I can related in a huge way to over half of them.
The chaplain is “suggesting” that I make attending Al-Anon or some other such group part of my plan that I present tomorrow. I find this terrifying. I’ve spent my life hiding this part of my life and it’s even hard to share it here where so much gets shared.
Does anyone have any experience with Al-Anon or similar groups? Is there another way? Like a therapist?REPORT ABUSEMarch 23, 2012 at 12:31 am #113462
AnonymousInactiveMarch 23, 2012 at 12:31 amPost count: 14413
Another day done at school – I am so thrilled with my new attention span!
So I met with the head of my program and am blown away by his supportiveness. I found it a very difficult conversation, being used to keeping things to myself, but he made it as easy as possible to say what I needed to. I went with a suggested plan of due dates and he thinks it’s doable although challenging, and actually gave me another week since he’ll be away anyway. Deadline – June 18th. By that time there will be more assignments due which would total 9, 7 of which are quite large.
He also agrees that because of my perfectionism, people pleasing, and also fear of conflict (conflict happens in ministry all the time), Al-Anon would be an extremely good plan.
So when I get home …
Obviously not every post generates comments, but I’d sure appreciate some feedback. I hate talking to myself.REPORT ABUSEMarch 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm #113463
Patte RosebankParticipantMarch 23, 2012 at 8:08 pmPost count: 1517
Perfectionism can also be part of the Impostor Syndrome, in which you feel that you are so inept and unworthy that any successes or achievements are just flukes, and that, at any moment, people will discover you’re a fraud.
My mom and I both have this. I’m more aware of it, so I can control it better than she can.
Next Wednesday, it’s her turn to organize the bi-weekly potluck at the club, and Dad says she’s doing her usual over-preparing and OCD hyperfocussing. She’s preparing 3 times too much food (buns, salads, desserts), just as she does even for family dinners involving just the 4 of us. She’s driving herself nuts, and she’s driving him nuts. Any suggestion of helping her, or of stepping back and looking at how much more she’s doing than is necessary (or will even be consumed), sends her off on a tantrum.
No alcoholics in our past, but, boy, have there been people with mental issues!REPORT ABUSEMarch 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm #113464
AnonymousInactiveMarch 23, 2012 at 11:19 pmPost count: 14413
Oh we have a whole cupboardful of mental issues on both my mom and dad’s side!!! There’s hoarding in a BIG way – aside from the ADD clutter, I’ve avoided that one. There’s the kleptomaniac and some OCD. And severe depression – my brother, dad, grandfather and who knows before that. ADHD/ADD pops up all through my dad’s side of the family. And Aspbergers which as I understand it, is a neurological disorder more than mental illness.
When I get home, I’ll look into the Adult Children of Alcholics groups. I just hope they are a bunch of blamers – I have no interest in blaming a parent who was doing his best.REPORT ABUSEMarch 24, 2012 at 1:14 am #113465
darjimmyMemberMarch 24, 2012 at 1:14 amPost count: 1
Al-Anon is a good and safe place to go. You don’t have to talk at all. You can just listen and see if it’s something you can relate to.It’s a 12-step support group for friends, family, co-workers, etc. of alcoholics. ACoA groups can be good, too. Try a few different meetings if there are many in your area.REPORT ABUSEMarch 24, 2012 at 2:45 am #113466
AnonymousInactiveMarch 24, 2012 at 2:45 amPost count: 14413
I’ll wade in…..beware I have strong opinions on the subject, I’ve witnessed the insidious damage done by alcohol addiction… but……here goes.
I have considerable experience with alcoholics and alcohol addiction, although there was none in my family, and it goes like this (always)….. alcoholism threatens not only to devastate the immediate alcoholic, and the alcoholics family but…..the destructive alcoholic patterns of addiction, or addictive behavior developed by the family members, if left unchecked have a great chance of being passed on and on and on, devastating relationship after relationship long past the demise of the initial addict…. unless the behavior and the associated patterns are broken and treated.
I went to school for Addictions Counseling at one point in my adult life…….and although advise is not my strong suit…..I urge you strongly to join up with an Al-Anon group PLUS… seek counseling for the associated behavioral traits acquired from the years spent in an alcoholic environment. They are insidious….. if you are in doubt….by all means ask a senior clergy member.
Hiding alcoholism as you mentioned is….yes….part of the addiction process….and keeping the secret within the family (away from the world) is part of the codependent behavior pattern of the addicted family for sure. If you are afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed, remember it’s not your fault…… reach out…… you likely have clergy or fellow theologists that will support you…..if necessary, ask one to accompany you for your first meeting…….however and whatever you have to do…..do it to get there…. do it don’t hesitate or procrastinate!!!
Sure it’s terrifying…that’s the message in the alcoholic environment……KEEP THE SECRET……..fear, denial, deception….that is the nature of the addiction and the addicted family and their patterns. I don’t believe you will ever regret going…..ever. There is only one cycle of addiction….it has a pathology, that’s why they call it a disease…left unchecked….it will run it’s inevitable course.
You are stronger than you think…….use your faith…..and anything else you can leverage.
I normally don’t advise it’s not my place….this is different. I make no apologies for my comments in this post….
ToofatREPORT ABUSEMarch 24, 2012 at 3:56 am #113467
AnonymousInactiveMarch 24, 2012 at 3:56 amPost count: 14413
Darjimmy, that’s reassuring to hear. Thanks!
toofat, I appreciate you being willing to wade in with such a helpful answer. I did ask for input, and a person always has a choice whether to take advice or not. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what the scariest bits are – and I think it’s telling what we worked so hard to keep secret, and more memories being dredged up. I thought I had them all safely stored in boxes in the basement and taped shut with duct tape. I guess they just don’t make duct tape like they used to because those boxes are springing open anyway. And as was pointed out to me in the nicest way yesterday, ministers have to deal with their own “stuff” first.
Maybe I should make one of my overdue papers about the familial effects of alcoholism.
.REPORT ABUSEMarch 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm #113468
AnonymousInactiveMarch 24, 2012 at 3:06 pmPost count: 14413
BellaM……I consider counseling or talk therapy a great aid to anybody troubled in life, or otherwise. Wisdom and self awareness in our lives…. can….. I believe….provide a wonderful richness…….the ability to be guided through life, by our heart and our heart alone….without regret.
Here is the is the catch and this comment is based on my experience with counselors, and I was a Psych Major at university most of my adult life. Before any counselor can even begin to assist or guide another, I believe they must have… LONG….. completed dealing with their own self ……PERIOD!!!!
Without this experience……what does a counselor bring to the table? How can we be an assistance or inspiration to others when we haven’t/can’t help ourselves…..we have not gone down that road…….it’s hypothetical….book talk…….without the knowledge that experience provides……what……where are the creds???? If you are going to surgically open my heart you better damn well have the tools to take me all the way there and back!!!. I can usually tell quite quickly if I’m speaking with someone that has done their work or not……..it changes one for ever in an obvious way……..so??????
So yes…….I agree……first person any counseling type person first has to deal with is the “man in the mirror”.
Just a side note regarding the paper sure great….but remember…… intellectualizing this subject is different….wayyyyyy different.
ToofatREPORT ABUSEMarch 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm #113469
TiddlerMemberMarch 24, 2012 at 8:23 pmPost count: 802
Another vote for counselling. It’s really hard to tell the secret out loud for the first time but it gets easier and it will help. I am sure of it.REPORT ABUSEMarch 24, 2012 at 9:00 pm #113470
AnonymousInactiveMarch 24, 2012 at 9:00 pmPost count: 14413
toofat and Tiddler – It’s in my datebook to get a referral as soon as I get home. No procrastinating.
So THAT’s why they keep talking about developing self-awareness in my program!! Who knew? Sometimes I wish they would be more blunt – “if you have any of these issues in your history” – and name them – “go now and deal with them”. I’m probably supposed to be self-aware enough to know this.
I went for lunch with a classmate – I hadn’t known that last year she came close to being asked to leave because of undone papers. We talked about “family of origin” – a subject in some of our reading and probably what stirred things up in the dark recesses of my brain matter. Wow. Common ground. She started therapy last year.REPORT ABUSEMarch 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm #113471
AnonymousInactiveMarch 24, 2012 at 9:55 pmPost count: 14413
Hey BellaM…..this information is kept quiet because that is the nature of it. If your a dude ( I don’t know from your post )…men in particular do not share with each other… anything…EVER…about awareness, or heart, or soul searching….self-image…self-esteem or heart/soul wellness of any description. We as men, are not prepared in that manner,ever, anywhere, by anybody!!! I believe that the most important lessons or learnings in life, are lessons or teachings, that not many people male or female are even aware of…..so most folks (males in particular)stumble through life. Too bad, but ( I believe )it is true.
I believe that some of that, has to do with men being the most closed off, unaware, emotionally stunted creatures on the planet……I say that because I am from the male species and it is my experience. Men in particular are socialized to be this way from birth…..it is historical. So they suffer in silent despair….sad but true. It is called “stoic”…..and is touted as an male attribute….which pardon me is bullshit… but true!!! I believe it comes from days when men faced death to hunt and gather….and protect their families and communities from invasion, enslavement and death. How else does one do these things to another human being without first shutting your heart and feelings??? At one time it was an attribute, a survival tool…..today…..it might be called something else.
Also it is hard to share something so intimate and intense (between men) if you are not even awareness of it’s existence. It is not about blame or fault in anyway shape or form either…..it is ignorance!
These are my beliefs…..and mine alone….if they provoke thought cool…if not……. I just sayin…….
ToofatREPORT ABUSEMarch 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm #113472
AnonymousInactiveMarch 25, 2012 at 3:11 pmPost count: 14413
toofat – Over the years there have been a few people that I have told – a couple of close friends, my husband (I’m of the female species), my 2 sisters-in-law who really are more like sisters. Those have been good conversations but that’s as far as it goes – I had assumed that was all that was needed. Pack away those memories – the ones that I had – and forget about them. Ah … maybe not. They seems to have taken on a life of their own and are refusing to be silenced. My program head, during our conversation the other day said that I need to learn to tell this story. I’m am an introvert and quite happy about that. Too bad so much of the world disagrees. So telling this story, when I figure out how it goes, will be a challenge. However, in ministry, I can see the value, as long as it doesn’t come out as a whiney poor me story – that would not demonstrate healing but rather, being stuck – which I expect I now am. A ministry friend will share with anyone who might find it useful and some who wouldn’t, his journey through alcoholism and recovery. I admire that a lot, just don’t think I could do that.REPORT ABUSEMarch 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm #113473
AnonymousInactiveMarch 25, 2012 at 4:30 pmPost count: 14413
Ha cool…….my adult child friend is female as well. Pretty much everything I posted previously applies……..with exception of the men’s ability to find sharing men. Maybe it’s the old story life continually putting those things in front of us that we have not dealt with????
This is a rule of thumb BellaM….and it’s by no means hard and fast….more of general a time-line guide. It takes aprox. one one month of counseling for every year of life….for peeling back the layers…. for discovery and healing…..but…..from my experience….once engaged it never ends….the process and awareness once discovered becomes a large part of who we are…..for the rest of our lives….and as such has no end. This rule of thumb considers, the desire to heal….the amount of work one is willing to put in…..the diligence one puts forward……the reading, sharing, understanding….the ability of one’s guide to enable the process..which to me is critical. A great guide/counselor in this process is everything…..it is too complex to do alone, after, all it was us that got us where we are…..so typically we are not likely the best resource, to guide our own healing process!!!
Some things, some experiences in our lives, can leave our hearts so buried in protective layers, and our emotions and feelings so isolated …. and our survival skills so ingrained in that conspiracy, that finding them, trusting, feeling and re-establishing our ability to live full, intimate lives, can takes years. It’s not a race, these things take their own time. For me it was the hardest thing I have ever done….it was the most frightening, joyous, angry, exhilarating journey…. and the most rewarding….and has changed my life for ever. My personal thoughts, without that……. who are we? …..what can we offer?…..what do we bring to the table… to ourselves and others???
As for ” being a whiney poor me story”….that would not demonstrate healing”….I dunno…..I’m not sure what that means or where it comes from???
“A ministry friend will share with anyone who might find it useful and some who wouldn’t, his journey through alcoholism and recovery. I admire that a lot, just don’t think I could do that.”……….not yet maybe…..what does that say???
ToofatREPORT ABUSEMarch 27, 2012 at 2:35 am #113474
AnonymousInactiveMarch 27, 2012 at 2:35 amPost count: 14413
toofat, you’re gonna have to let me know what your rates are!! lol
” being a whiney poor me story”….that would not demonstrate healing” – I guess what I mean is that lament and grieving are good things, but that over time, I’m hoping I can move to a place of acceptance – not forgetting, but accepting, and making being an ACO part of my story. It already has a lot of other things in it that I used to feel great loss about and did have the “poor me” attitude.
Interestingly, our chaplain also suggested that dealing with those significant events – dad’s death due to accident, health, loss of life dreams (the last 2 are directly related) – took front seat to dealing with the ACO issue. Now those things are no longer feel like such a loss, the time and situation (school reading, classroom discussions) are right for ACO to come to the forefront. That’s a interpretation of what she said.
“A ministry friend will share with anyone who might find it useful and some who wouldn’t, his journey through alcoholism and recovery. I admire that a lot, just don’t think I could do that.”……….not yet maybe…..what does that say???”
Maybe in time I can do this out loud. Not that many years ago I would have told anyone that I would stand in front of more than 4 people at a time and talk – out loud – I would have said that was impossible. It’s taken baby steps to the point that normal participation is no longer an issue. So maybe I’ll be able to do it for this too. First I have to ditch the shame and find some self-esteem.
Thanks!!REPORT ABUSEMarch 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm #113475
AnonymousInactiveMarch 28, 2012 at 5:25 pmPost count: 14413
I’m pricey….. but…….I’m fun BellaM!!!!!
So, you know what you need……you know how to get there…and it appears you have the strength..I wish you a most exciting journey!!!
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