Written by: Michelle J. Haas,
Most alcoholics are codependent. Not only is alcoholism a disease passed down from one generation to the next, it is a family disease that affects many members the family living now in the same time frame or generation. So because alcoholics are brought up to be “the problem solvers” of the family or control the family, we don’t have any convictions. We don’t know if we should choose this over that, because we want to satisfy others. If we chose the wrong “thing,” then we aren’t fixing anything. We are not making everyone in the family happy and content-a stable family, so we think. That’s what we strive for, stability.
As a kid I didn’t want to see my parents fight, so I made sure dad had his beer and remote control, and that I was complementing my mom. Then my mom was happy, and my dad satisfied-for the moment. Then I thought, “Okay, no one’s fighting, so I can have friends over; I won’t be embarrassed or feel unsure, scared, or paranoid.” As soon as the family system got outta order again, I fixed it! No matter if I was breaking my morales or not. That’s why I never had any convictions. I didn’t want to upset anyone. I stayed in the gray area of everything, so I didn’t even know myself as a person. What made me happy?
I was out with some childhood friends a few months back. They couldn’t believe that I was sober, and trying to live a sane healthy life. My girlfriend noticed one of my character defects (conviction prior to investigation) she called me on it and said,”Haas, you haven’t changed. You’re the same old Haas.” At first it hurt me. I didn’t respond with a bunch of information to prove that I prayed and kissed baby’s in my spare time. I nodded, and took the criticism. As weeks passed, it came to my mind, our conversation, and my horrible body language around our newly found company (when we were out). I thought, “the words hurt me, why? Why did it bother me so much from someone I hardly spend time with anymore.” Approval! That’s what I wanted—to feel worthy from someone else’s opinion of me. I always craved that. Helping people always made me feel good—at least until I got mad at them for not doing what I wanted them to do. In helping others it made me feel stable and approved of.
When you lose who you are to care for others, codependency, you don’t know yourself. And sometimes it’s hard to find yourself. For me, learning my sick behaviors and putting on the red light stops my super hero powers or, truthfully, seeking approval from others. I learned that I can only find stability in myself by being responsible. What I mean is, being responsible to myself, to my feelings besides everyday responsibilities.
I listen intently and I don’t fix other people’s problems. Sometimes people just want to vent, not advice or harassment. The great thing that worked for me was learning about myself. educate myself on different subjects that I feel passionate about. For example, human trafficking or emotional growth is important to me, so now I’m passionate about it. I’m still learning, and I will probably change a few beliefs: for me, this is me being me. I believe in myself instead in others now. I can always change myself but not others. This brings me stability.
Can you relate to this article at all? Before you answer read this.
I’m going to let go of my ego
I’m going to remain teachable
And I’m going to have only honest words come out from my mouth