Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Denial - Don't pass it on

As I mentioned in my PodCast last week, I look back in ...awe? Frustration? Resentment? Gratitude? at the fact that there were warning signs of my anxiety problems on the mid 70's. And from what I've read, there were diagnoses, if not "good" treatment options at least as far back at the early 80's. There are probably a dozen different outcomes that could have still taken place, had anyone in my family known where to look. Honestly, many might have been worse than what happened. Still, it makes me wonder.
Because what happened was -  nothing. So there is reason to wonder.
Before I let myself go too far down that rabbit hole, though, I always have to remember that to maintain my serenity and subsequently, my sobriety, I need to not engage in the blame game.
If I'm going to do unto others as I would have them do unto me (Matthew 7:12), I need to recognize that I have made mistakes that have dearly cost others, as well. I need to understand that in the same set of circumstances as my parents, at a time where the stigma of emotional or mental issues was even greater than today, I might have chose to live as they did - in denial.
In fact, in many ways it wasn't a conscious choice on their part. It was simply living by the rules of the house that they either created out of some type of necessity, or had created for them earlier in life. People don't KNOW what they don't know. I couldn't expect them to know terms like panic disorder, chronic anxiety or toxic relationships. Words like co-dependency or enabling would have sounded like "head-shrink non-sense" to them. They didn't know the correlation between substance abuse and the effects on their kids. No clue.
Granted AA and AL-anon were around before I was born and The Gospels have been around for more that 2000 years, all telling us the same things -  Live in reality. Stop thinking you can do it all on your own. Just because you're angry, doesn't mean you're right. Your past has a lot to do with your pain.
Nowhere, in any of our secular or faith based recovery are we told that if we ignore the problem, it'll go away. And rightfully so. That's not reality. Just because many choose to believe that lie, doesn't make it any more plausible.
If I choose to be a victim, I can live in denial and be in pain all of my life. I can figure out ways to blame it all of someone else, if I choose to. Or I can cast aside the confusing crap of who had what responsibilities and when and just accept that I must now be the one to break the chains of denial. My life goal- Leave this generational line better than it was when I entered it.
Denial is not just a obstacle when it comes to substance abuse. It comes in the form of "I can't" or "I won't". It shows itself in "At least I don't use drugs" or "I just have a bad temper" or "We're all basically animals", "I'm still hungry", "I'm still fat", "I don't make enough money". "If my kids would just behave.."
This is why we say, "It is what it is". And that saying can be MADDNING.
Why? Most often because it's true and we don't want to look at it. We might find that we have a part to play in changing it.
Those of us in ANY kind of recovery have taken up that challenge. We don't need anyone to go back in time and fix themselves for us. We need to live in the now and look at our pasts as something that we cannot change, but we CAN heal from and not pass on to the future generation. No matter our circumstances, we all have that responsibility. We all have influence.
We have to choose....
Denial vs. reality
Denial vs. acceptance
Denial vs. help
Denial vs. hope
Denial vs. freedom
Our parents, siblings, spouses and friends don't make the choice for us. In fact they can't. They are just as flawed as you are. As I am. No person is LESS valuable than another. No matter what you've been told or by whom.

1 comment:

  1. I try to instill this in my kids all the time. I feel very blessed that I was born somebody who is not a blamer and who takes responsibility for what my life is and always strives to better myself. It comes very naturally to me to be that way and it not something I have to work at, unlike 90% of everything else in my life! lol But I know that there are a lot of people who weren't born with that attitude and I am not sure sure I see it in my kids which is a bit scary for me. I hear them play the blame game all the time and while I know that yes, they are kids and that is probably perfectly normal at their age, I can easily see it being something that "sticks and stays" with them. So I am always giving them little "life classes" about this topic. So important!