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Man or Monster?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Lily Rose, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Msunn ... thank you. Bit by bit, the flow of encouragement transforms from a stream into a river. While phobia keeps me from actually entering such waters, the analogies are rich with imagery. Thin, shallow and broad. Narrowing and gaining speed. Rapids that with care can be navigated. Strong currents that encourage a simple letting go and being taken where the waters lead. Quiet and soft. Rivers begin from the fall of rain, creating lakes, or as simply run off on some distant mountain. I could travel long on these images, but I'll refocus ;)

    Adult children of alcoholics. Indeed, your list carries such Truth. It also applies to spouses of alcoholics. As a spouse, my beautiful mother fits this list quite well, in addition to the 'list' for children who have been sexually abused.

    I never quite fit into those lists. Some aspects, yes ... but I saw the patterns developing, saw the behaviors of those around me. I resisted without understanding my resistance.

    The first one, though ... that I could not escape. My fear of anger has been long and deep. I learned young to go silent and blank, offering no resistance. Resistance resulted in heightened violence. Eye contact, also, increased danger. This latter, I have deliberately and relentlessly overcome. Now, when I focus, I can make direct and steady eye contact, and remain carefully shielded at the same time.

    The fifth one used to be true, but I have shed any and all guilt as a useless and inefficient emotion. Now if I could apply that to the other 'useless' emotions, wouldn't that be something!

    The eighth one is obviously true, or I wouldn't be here, would I? *smiles*

    Even while exploring the concept of Man or Monster, I flinch painfully at the glare of your words. I am not quite ready to humanize the fiercest monster in my closet.

    Contemplating further, I question this statement of all Alcoholism being TMS.

    Alcohol abuse, yes, I can see this. But alcoholism itself .. ? In Alaska, the Native Americans have 'dry towns and villages'. As a People, they are at high risk for alcoholism. Is it TMS in every circumstance?

    I was always told that alcoholism is a disease. It wasn't their fault. They couldn't help themselves. So while fists fly, it has to be remembered that these people are just as much victims ....... really? I only recently began to allow this concept to settle in.

    If ... and this is a large 'if' ... I have to return to the prior notion that alcoholism is not a disease ... it could re-ignite the flame of anger.

    I would like to hear more on this topic. Perhaps I really mean that I need to hear more on this topic.

    with grace and gratitude,
    Msunn likes this.
  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily once again your post has inspired so many different reflections it is hard to choose where to start! My father stopped drinking when I was sixteen years old. A doctor told him he would die soon if he didn't and so he quit, never to have another drink again. His personality stayed much the same and he still managed to create plenty of chaos and intrigue but it was comforting all the same. We would often talk about his drinking, why he drank, what it did to the family etc. My father had a great time drinking, the world was his stage and he said that aside from the obvious effects it had on his family, he had no personal regrets. He nostalgically looked back on his drinking years as the best time in his life. My father was a happy man. I think perhaps it was the existential angst that encouraged his drinking and in that light it was a TMS equivalent. He told me once that he created all the drama in his life because peace to him was death. My older brother was a tragic alcoholic from the time he was a teenager. He finally stopped drinking six years ago at the age of 49. And an amazing thing happened. His personality returned to the one I remember from childhood - loving, inquisitive, optimistic, helpful and exploring. A few years after he stopped drinking he invented something that might change the world in a big way, might actually save the world. He has been working on the patents and developing the invention ever since. I used to dread his phone calls and now I look forward to them. He is one of my favorite people and so inspiring. How can I feel sorry for myself when my brother who was a drunk living on the streets is now out enthusiastically trying to save the world? Anything is possible. My father used to say that alcoholism is in the blood. He said it is not how often a person drinks but how they drink when they do. He would describe how once he started drinking, he just couldn't limit it, as if his blood were thirsty for the alcohol. I believe this is true because I have not ever been able to handle more than a few drinks. I am either mildly relaxed or throwing up. Alcoholism is just not an option for me. Lily, I understanding wanting to know if the alcoholic is the victim or perpetrator. I have often wondered this about my mother and depression. We were in therapy together once and it came out that that she may in some way be inviting or choosing the depression. This made me so angry because I could really only handle my mother as a victim. How could she have shared with me as child that the only reason she did not kill herself was for our sake if she was not the victim? Alcoholism, depression, TMS seem to me to all be emotional coping mechanisms. We are all victims when we react and make choices without understanding or having any awareness of where those reactions are coming from.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  3. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Hi Lily. I like how your mind works and your thoughtful reply. I wasn't meaning to suggest that all of us have all these traits. It's just a piece of the puzzle that hit home for me.

    Take care
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Very interesting posts about alcoholism. I'm really glad my rambling thoughts have been of some value
    to you, Msunn. There so many alcoholics in my family... father, brother, uncles... that I was careful to
    not become one. I'm a moderate drinker... one glass of wine or a beer before or with dinner. Several good
    friends realized they were alcoholics and joined AA. They stopped drinking and went on to happy lives.

    Alcoholics must have some strong TMS repressed emotions. I'm so glad that drinking is not one of my problems.
    But there was enough of it in my life from my father and stepfather to "pour" stress onto me.

    One of my nieces is a counselor to teenagers in a high school and she hears a lot of sad stories from students
    with emotional problems because of alcoholic parents or divorces. It's a stressful job and she takes it very
    seriously. No wonder some kids go overboard and start shooting. They have so much anger in them from
    home situations.

    We have to accept the hurts we get from alcoholics and move on from there. It's not easy but worth working on.
  5. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    The bold emphasis is my addition ... this weaves the entire concept into cohesion. For 25 years, I had a single, nightly drink of vodka, Kahlua, and some milk about an hour before bed. It was my medication for night time pain, and more than that, it would trigger me into sleep. Without it, I simply did not go to sleep. Because of this dependence, I feared alcoholism. Because of the need, I judged myself. The judging became worse as I saw my mom and my uncle, and pretty much everyone around me doing the same thing ... medicating in some form or another using alcohol. Last May 11, I stopped. I just ........ stopped. Being a habitual person, the change in routine took some getting used to, but otherwise ... I was just fine. I went to bed a little later and got up a little earlier, but all else continued smoothly. No withdrawals. Nothing. My drinks were not weak, so I was quite surprised.

    My brother knows he cannot handle too much alcohol. He is strong enough to limit his intake. He enjoys a very fine (think: expensive!) wine, and the occasional beer. He knows, and he keeps it under strict control.

    You ask ... is the alcoholic the victim or perpetrator. Look at how we ... yes WE ... consider the person. The label. I am guilty of this. I don't say, "Is the person who suffers from alcoholism a victim or perpetrator". I would say it just as you have .... until I saw you actually phrase it in writing.

    For some people, alcohol is literally poison. It changes them into something and someone else.

    Some people are deadly allergic to peanuts. So ... they don't eat peanuts.

    People who are alcoholics may be in the same category. They simply should not drink.

    Being a person who has this issue may make them a victim (if you consider being allergic to peanuts as being a victim).
    Being a person who drinks anyway, makes them a perpetrator.


    I am mulling on this, expressing thoughts on the journey to real answers. I do know this ... nothing is black and white.

    As for what your mother told you ..... she put a crushing burden on you. Depression is a mental illness. I know this quite intimately. But even in the depths of that depression, never ever would I put such a burden on another person. Her depression might make her a victim. Her choices make her otherwise.

    You, like me, have defied the upbringing and become powerfully strong.

    WE are not victims.

    with grace and gratitude,
    G.R. and Anne Walker like this.
  6. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Lily Rose said:
    It's strange what seems good to kids. My parents always had money, symbolized for me by a very new, expensive car, since the money didn't do me much good other than that. I used to dream about a poor couple in an old car and in the dream we kids (one or two other children, I didn't know who they were) were in the back seat with these alternate parents in the front, driving along a prairie road. The parents weren't communicative but they weren't unkind, that was the point. I had never experienced that, at least that I can recall.

    My mother's mother lived in northern Saskatchewan in a tiny village. We used to go to visit her a few times a year and I loved going to her tiny shack of a house with its outhouse. Not convenient, of course, but I associate it with a degree of peace. My granny was not kind but she didn't seem to notice me and she made delicious, crisp ginger snap cookies.

    It's odd what you build hope on.

    I joined Adult Children of Alcoholics many years ago and remember the first meeting clearly. For the first time in my life I was part of an identifiable group with similar problems. I wasn't (or didn't feel like) "the outlier". There was a girl there whose parents had locked the kids in the house and set it on fire. There was another who seemed upset about circumstances that would have been heaven for me. For the first time, I was in the middle and we all had a right to be there because there was alcoholism in the home.

    Lily Rose, I think that people don't exclusively turn on themselves or on others. People do both. People are monsters. Monsters are people. I read (in an old psych textbook) that psychopaths feel so deeply they can't bear their feelings and turn them off completely. If so, they are making a huge mistake. To the extent we avoid turning our power into the service of our selfish passions, we are human. To the extent we turn our power into the service of any good we see in others, we are angels.

    Lily Rose, you should certainly write a book. Probably we all should but yours would be really good.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
    Msunn, G.R. and Anne Walker like this.
  7. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I would have loved your grandmother's ginger snap cookies. They and cocoanut macaroons are my favorites.

    It's interesting that there is a group for Children of Alcoholics. I should have joined one years ago.
    My father, stepfather, brother, some uncles were all alcoholics. My stepfather and brother were "mean" alcoholics, not my father or uncles. But they all made us kids suffer one way or another. Now I feel more forgiving toward them because
    I can well imagine they had TMS repressed emotions that came out when they drank. Anger, rage. They took it out on
    the people closest to them. Now I pray for them to rest in peace, without a bottle.
    Msunn likes this.
  8. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    ACOA (or ACA) is an incredible organization but the level of intensity is very high. Most people, in my experience, can't handle it. I suppose that's because many children of alcoholics are addicted to chaotic intensity. Otherwise, you have to think and feel and that's not good. If there's a meeting nearby you might find it interesting. I've never, in my life, found anyplace I feel more comfortable.

    I've also never run into anything remotely like my granny's ginger snaps. They were magically thin and crispy. You would have loved them, for sure! I tried to make them a few times but it required meticulous rolling out that was WAY beyond me.
    Msunn likes this.
  9. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    I'm with you njoy. I'm not in an area where there are ACA meetings but I used to attend and got a lot out of it. I'm in a different fellowship these days and it's been an awesome life changing experience for me to do the steps and have a place to share exactly what's going on with me. I've also met some of my closest friends at meetings.
  10. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Msunn, I went to the world conference of the program I'm in right now but the only room I felt totally at home in was the ACA crossover meeting. I hadn't realized that until you said, "a place to share exactly what's going on with me".
  11. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    Malnutrition and lack of family/emotional support plays both in alcoholism. Read the book of Weston Price - Nutrition and physical Degeneration. He was a dentist who travelled the world searching for people with healthy perfect teeth and looking at what they were eating. He found that white sugar and white grain destroyed health, bones teeth and happiness. You see it in his photo those on traditional diet have these radiant smiles their faces exhumed joy those who got corrupted by trade and bought into a retain sugar/ wheat diet look ill and in pain.

    Alcohol was good when it was used to distill herbs, and brew bier and wine but it became toxic when it was made cheap to sell for a profit. Alcoholics live on the sugar and become malnourished specially of B vitamins.

    My husband who is a doctor and has a lot of stress used to drink a lot of red wine. He could nearly drink a whole bottle with meals. However now that he takes supplements and we have gone traditional in our cooking he doesn't drink at all. he says it just doesn't taste the same!
  12. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    He still does have emotional issues for his mother is as cold as an ice cube!!!!
    But he is not drinking!!!

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