“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, situation —
Some fact of my life — unacceptable to me,
And I can find no serenity until I accept
That person, place, thing, or situation
As being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms,
I cannot be happy.
I need to concentrate not so much
On what needs to be changed in the world
As on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” Alcoholics Anonymous (the Book)
Self is not Self
Shirley Smith says in “Set Yourself Free”, Codependency is a state of dis-ease that originates from the abandonment of the authentic self in order to survive…”
Survive what, you may ask? Great question. Here is one view that I tend to lean towards.
When we are born a human being we are extremely vulnerable. We cannot normally survive without caregivers. So we’re dependent on these people. The person we become, e.g. our personality, is predicated by how we are cared for by our caregivers and let’s face it, no one is or has a perfect parent.
Our own parents, if we were lucky enough to have some, are also products of their environment. And so it goes.
Whether you were like me – were born with parents to care for you, or if you are an orphan and were cared for by others, the impacts of our early life have far-reaching consequences.
Ms. Smith in “Set Yourself Free” describes dependency needs as the need for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, physical nurturing, emotional nurturing, sexual guidance, and financial education. If a child is abused on purpose or through abdication of responsibility she is abandoned.
I experienced abandonment when, at the age of five, my father told me I should act like a grown-up now – in my brothers funeral. That theme of expectation continued throughout my life. I never did grow up, because I drank from 14 like ‘a man possessed’.
Are You Un-Hugged?
You may have been abandoned by having to deal with sexual predators as a child because your parents didn’t protect you. The fact that they couldn’t possibly have known about the event doesn’t matter to the child. If you needed protection as we all do, and it wasn’t forthcoming then you were abandoned.
Being un-hugged might be your abandonment.
Or perhaps the disappointment of being the second/third/fourth favorite child?
We have all been taken somewhere as children, be it kindergarten, grandparents, or neighbors and been temporarily left and that memory may be permanently awful.
Abandonment issues often need specialists help, and if you believe that this is an area of concern for you, seek help from your doctor or other appropriate therapists.
Recovery is preferable – Addiction is lethal
Giving up the very thing that we have relied upon for survival is difficult, for sure. But addiction will kill you early.
And there are many deaths before the big leap. Maybe you relate to soe of mine-
The death of my first marriage happened when I was in my early twenties, but I didn’t stop drinking until I was 45.
Business failure became commonplace, as I strove to prove myself to my peers and myself. Did I just want Daddy’s approval?
My personal and legal self-caring left me about 5-7years before the end of my drinking career and the start of the resurrection to come.
The doctor that I finally used to get and remain sober was called Wes. He told me after the blood tests I had done that he had never seen a liver as bad as mine in a LIVING HUMAN BEING.
He said I it would never fully repair and although I have excellent blood results now I am limited to 2 pieces of fruit per day as the fructose sends my liver into overdrive or something (and I’m a vegetarian).
People, Places, and Things
I was born.
I grew up.
I am here now.
I will die.
During a life, we encounter quazillians of smells, tastes, feelings, events, and things. The emotional weight that we give each memory differs enormously from person to person. One boy’s abandonment may be the next girl’s fun day at the park.
It’s how we react with the world that makes the difference. With consciousness, I am learning that I can live in the world that I experience in a new way. I don’t have to inherit my father’s attitudes to others and my mother’s way of handling ‘stress’.
In fact, I don’t have to react at all sometimes. That’s a big lesson I’m learning every day from my kids.
The pause button is a new one I sewed on myself. You can pause when agitated, now that you know you don’t have to react. It’s your choice what happens next.
If you like the feel of this article and are thinking you would like to give sobriety a go, try my FREE 5 part course, “Stop Drinking – Start Living”
…and look for our podcast Happy Sober & Frickin Awesome in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to stuff.