M(3), 11/30/15: Alcoholism is a Family Disease

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For those reading on the day this is published, a sincere thank you for taking time out of your Cyber Monday online shopping to read 😉

Today is one of the infrequent five-Mondays-in-a-month situations that leave me scrambling for a new type of literature to read in my Monday morning meeting.  I had something ready to go that was okay, if not a bit irrelevant to the time of year.  Then, a few minutes before the meeting started, a new opportunity presented itself:  I was able to obtain a copy of a new book that is conference approved for 12-step meetings.  Entitled Forming True Partnerships:  How AA members use the program to improve relationships, it is a collection of stories from the AA Grapevine, the magazine put out by the Fellowship.  The stories are divided into 7 categories; we started at the beginning, and read the first story under the category “Family.”

I forgot to take a headcount, but it was a decently sized meeting; most of the usual suspects, plus 3 additional new faces.  The story was compelling, telling of a family with more than a half dozen family members who got sober through our 12-step program.  If someone doubts the concept of the genetic component of the disease of alcoholism, the story provides some powerful proof!

A few parts of the story stood out to me.  First, it was uplifting to read of a family who was able to role model for one another what it takes to get and stay sober.  Often the reverse is true:  it is easier to stay stuck in alcoholic thinking and behavior because that is the family norm.

Next, the author of the story used the word “surrender” quite a bit, and suggested that surrendering was the key to sobriety for his family.  For all of his family success stories, there were two that resisted the need to surrender, and both died from the disease as a result.  For some reason, the notion of surrender was calming to me this morning; as long as I cease to resist that I have this disease, and then I can do what it takes to stay sober today.

Simple, but of course not easy, especially if you are still in active addiction.  One of the newcomers is just a little over 24 hours sober.  She had time in the program previously, but stopped attending, and eventually picked up again.  She is back, but it is clear from her sharing that she is struggling with the idea of surrendering to the disease.  She wants to be sober, she says, but she doesn’t want anyone to tell her what to do.  She knows she has made mistakes, but so have all the people around her.  She knows she has some work ahead of her, so for now she is just going to keep coming back to the meetings.

A few people shared their family trees as it relates to alcoholism.  Not surprisingly, everyone has multiple people, spanning multiple generations, that are or were alcoholics.

Another one of the new faces this morning revealed that he is 9 months sober, and so all of these holidays are sober firsts for him.  He really appreciated the recently celebrated Thanksgiving holiday.  He used to dread holidays, because they were free passes to overconsume, which for him inevitably led to disagreements and family chaos.  He appreciated not being the center of family drama this holiday, and he looks forward to an equally peaceful Christmas.

Another woman spoke at length of her family tree as it relates to alcoholism.  She is one of 11, her Mom is one of 14, and her Mom’s mom had 14 children.  I suppose with those kinds of numbers an alcoholic or two is bound to come out of the mix!  She has 25 years sober, several of her brothers and sisters have sober time, and they are currently dealing with an actively alcoholic brother.  She says her mantra is the phrase “cunning, baffling and powerful.”  Each time she observes a new iteration of the disease, she is reminded of her mantra.

As soon as she said this, two long-timers held up their hands:  “you forgot to add patient!” they exclaimed simultaneously.

Cunning, baffling, powerful, and patient.  Words to remember as I navigate the holiday season!

Today’s Miracle:

Taking time out of my online Cyber Monday shopping to attend a meeting, and then write about it 😉

 

 

 

 

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Posted on November 30, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Cyber Monday. They can find an excuse for us to spend money any day of the year!
    I hope you had a good thanksgiving.

    The more I openly discuss my own experience with alcohol and depression, the more people tell me about theirs. I am constant,y surprised at how many people I know have or had an alcoholic parent. It is mind blowing. And a strong reminder that sobriety is a family gift.

    Especially in my family as tomorrow is my 2 year sober Versace and Craig’s will be on the 28. Two years that have changed our family dramatically for the better.

    The stories People tell me about their parents really shake me. Because I know in my heart none of those parents want to embarrass, abandon or abuse their children. Yet the do.

    So I rejoice in the reality that for today my family is free from active addiction and I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Which means I get to say, since I’m reading a day late……

      HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Two years, goes by both slow AND fast, doesn’t it? I love anniversaries, because I compare myself to the self of however many years ago, and I am always excited about the progress.

      I hope you are celebrating wildly tonight! And I will wish Craig the same after Christmas.

      What a great month for the ainsobriety household 🙂

      Like

  2. It is a family disease, as everyone is affected by it.
    In my family it was my grandpa and father, and 2 of my mom’s sister.
    Then comes me.
    I don’t know about my nieces and nephews yet, although I have some hints.
    In any case, I am very glad I am sober today.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know a lot of recovering parents that hide who they use to be from their children but I am completely open with my kids about what a terrible person I became from using alcohol and pills and I hope that kind of honesty will help them to say no, I know what happens when you do that

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My Dad struggles with alcohol. He has had some sober time but currently drinks. There are issues. I so didn’t want to turn into him. I’m so grateful that I was able to talk, and able to stop and so sad that he hasn’t managed it yet.

    xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the comment, Claire. I imagine it is so much harder… having achieved the goal of sobriety, and then for him to have let it slip away. Those are the kinds of stories that keep me sober, so thanks for sharing it. And congratulations to you, stopping the drinking even while he continues. That has to be tough, and yet you are doing it. Well done!

      I hope your Dad finds his way back to sobriety, I am saying a prayer for him!

      Like

    • Claire I am in the same situation my dad is an alcoholic and lives with me, I told him cant be around it so if he was gonna move in he couldn’t do it here, but he does it anyway he thinks nobody knows but he seems of beer!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oops that was supposed to say he reeks of beer

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Josie…this has nothing to do with your post…just wanted to tell you I was thinking about you tonight when I finally found an AA meeting where I felt at home…I always read about your meetings and wish to find a place where I can make sober friends and I think I found it.
    Jenn

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for this post! It’s a great subject.

    Liked by 1 person

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