Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Alcoholic or Adolescent Acting Out?

When I let go of the belief that my alcoholism was a disease - something I would have to live with for the rest of my life - I wasn't fully aware where that would take me. That's probably a good thing because I'm not sure I would've had the courage had I known exactly what it would entail. When I chose to quit hiding behind a victim mentality, which is what the disease concept became for me, I had to face up to some hard truths. If I didn't have a disease , well, just what the hell had I been doing with all that crazy drinking behavior?

Hard truth #1 was admitting that I had been running around playing out all the drama and unresolved issues from my childhood in a very destructive and hurtful manner. If you think it was easy to admit to myself that a lot of my adult life has been spent in acting out like a 14-year old, think again. No wonder I tried to run back to the somewhat comforting belief that alcoholism was a disease from which I could never fully recover and for which I really couldn't be held responsible.

I had another hard truth to face up to. I used my alcoholism as a test for people in my life. Could you continue to love me if I went on three-day binges in which I would totally withdraw into an isolated realm of self-imposed destruction? Would you still be there if you knew what I did in the confines of my own home - drinking, passing out, drinking, passing out until I could finally drink no more? This truth was even harder to face than the acting out, because until I was confronted with it, I had no idea I was doing this to people in my life. Really, no idea whatsoever. But as soon as my teacher brought it to my attention, I realized it was true. And I hated that about myself.

Which is where, of course, radical forgiveness comes in. The only way I can really move forward through these realities is to fully and finally forgive myself. That entails a lot of contemplation, a lot of prayer, and a lot of tears!

I also have gotten tremendous help here on the physical plane. I'm amazed how once I opened myself up to getting brutally real about my alcoholism, support popped up from all over. Teachers, friends, mentors, ideas, concepts, books, cd's (oh! and don't forget the kitties) - everywhere I turned I was given all I needed to move through this process and begin to heal.

I'd like to end this post with deep gratitude for all that support - support I continue to receive on a daily, sometimes momentary basis. As corny as it sounds, it really is the wind beneath my wings. You know who you are.


Olivia said...

What a fascinating journey you're on, Angela! I enjoy the richness of the emotional work it is bringing out. Although my current path is different in form (food versus alcohol) I find many parallels and am learning so much from reading your posts. They are very edifying to me---radical forgiveness, beliefs that allow you to cower as a victim, especially, in this particular post.

Peace, joy, and continued spiritual blessing,


Shorewood High School Class of '76 said...

Yes, Angela, I agree with Oliva -- it's exciting!

love, c

turtlegirl said...

Once again, you are brave.

Journey Through Life said...

This is a wonderfully honest and generous post, Angela. I so appreciated reading it and getting more of an insight into your journey through alcoholism and recovery.

I am also working on forgiving myself for my eating disorder and the emotional and physical abuse that I am given myself. I hadn't thought about it in that way for a while, and I thank you for sharing your perspective.


Diva Carla said...

Angela, this touches me in a very soft and frightened place. Is my next step Radical Forgiveness? Thank you for sharing this part of your story.

Angela said...

Thanks, everyone!