Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Help Yourself...

I've been doing quite a bit of reading about children raised in alcoholic households. It's fascinating stuff.  Not every piece of information I've come across on my fact-finding mission mirrors my upbringing, but lots of the material is familiar.

Self-help books are tricky.  They contain case studies that outline developmental patterns among individuals exposed to certain environmental conditions.  They lay it all out there, and the reader can decide whether the data is useful or bullshit. Sure, it sounds really scientific, and I kinda dig that angle.  I'm impressed with myself that I actually know what any of these words mean when they're grouped together like this.  Plus, I'm in a pretty good place emotionally.  I think that's a big bonus.

I appreciate learning more about what went on behind the scenes in our alcoholic home and the subsequent ripple effect of behavior.  I'm just careful not to get too wrapped up in all the details.  My familial dysfunction doesn't keep me warm at night.  I do not regret the past, nor do I wish to shut the door on it.*  I live in the present, and I am a work in progress.  I recognize my good fortune.  With God's grace, I got sober and every day, I manage to stay that way.  I look toward the future with hopeful confidence.  I just prefer to do it in 24-hour increments so I don't get too ahead of myself.

When I write, I try to be careful to not turn the privilege of sharing very intimate details into a shit-slinging contest.  If Big Mare were still alive, I'd probably not be at liberty to retell these accounts with such freedom.  I do feel as though I am respectful with the sensitive material.  I try to present my version of the truth in an honest and loving way.  I cherish my mother's memory.  I also know that she'd bust my ass in half if she ever thought I was making things up.

My past is full of moments that have already happened.  Nothing I do or say can change that reality.  Sure, not everything was awesome.  Big deal.  Thinking about some of these experiences still blows my mind.  I want to write down as many memories as I can.  I'm not ashamed that they occurred.  It's what I do with what I'm learning that's important.  I want to share these things.  I think it helps.

No matter what went on in our family - good, bad or off-the-charts insane, I can appreciate that my parents did the very best they could.  When I recognize this simple concept and approach my memories with forgiveness in my heart,  it can open doors to great emotional progress.

I tell you what…  Sometimes when I read what I've written, I think I sound really smart.  I need to be careful about that.  I'm no expert.  Last time I checked, I'm just a girl with a bunch of stories.

* The Promises of Recovery

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