Friday, February 8, 2008
Grieving our Losses
The meeting yesterday was good. We discussed the introduction to the book Grieving our Losses, which is a new CAL from Al-Anon. Many people in the group have suffered major losses of children, spouses, friends and parents.
I've lost both my parents but I've come to grips with that. What has struck me though is the need to grieve the free spirited kid that was me until alcohol came into the picture. I don't think that I ever really got good parenting that protected the little kid within me. There were a lot of expectations that I was to get good grades, be polite, do the right thing--these are all great things but when you're a kid exposed to heavy drinking, there is a balancing act between being responsible and having a lot of responsibility to live up to the expectations of others.
I felt that as I got older, I had a lot of expectations piled on me. That weight grew heavier with time and became almost suffocating in my marriage. I never really allowed myself to play much or break away from the daily grind of job and home responsibilities. After a while, I felt imprisoned because I didn't want to socialize for fear that my wife would get drunk, having people over was even worse because then there would be drinking at home. So I isolated and felt lonelier and lonelier.
One of the things that my wife would say with derision was "Oh, you're so predictable." And the other was that I acted like someone who was much older than I was. But just the other day, she said, "I need to be careful what I say because look what happened". Now she sees me as unpredictable and carefree, and a person who does things and has an attitude that is much younger than my years.
The ability to not live by the expectations of others has been a wonderful gift of this program. I do feel much freer in my heart and soul. The optimism of my early childhood is blossoming again and allowing me to feel positive about much of my life. These are things that I don't think would have been possible without this program of recovery.