I’m no stranger to resentment. I used to have so much resentment when my loved one would relapse and self-medicate with alcohol. When the demons of depression and anxiety took over, and he couldn’t stop the impulse to drink, even when he didn’t want to drink, I would get so angry. I would take it personally, I would blame.
After 10 years of recovery and healing, I am still struggling with resentment of the disease of addiction and how intertwined it is in our culture, particularly the denial that comes with it.
I resent how deeply the family disease of addiction runs- how generations can normalize drinking as part of the culture of the family. These “norms” of families with generations of addiction go well beyond the simple act of drinking alcohol.
I resent the normalization of drinking that, over time (or not so much time for some), becomes a physical and emotional need, because the disease causes their brain is not function well. With that need comes unpredictable moods and questions such as, how will he/she react? Is he waking up with a hangover and will be grumpy and reactive?
Here’s what I know to be true at this stage of my recovery: the people that live with a person struggling with addiction contribute to the dysfunction. We make contributions such as enabling, accepting rude tones, making insults, providing unnecessary reactions, years/generations of not speaking up, and repeated patterns of codependency. We also contribute by trying to take control of the drinking and attempting to control the details of the life of the person struggling. Another common way we contribute to the disease is through denial.
It is this deep, disturbing disease of DENIAL that I resent. Denial that:
- there is pain (usually trauma) that is being numbed by the drinking.
- this amount the person is drinking is actually not normal.
- the drinking is actually causing harm.
- it is possible to live a different reality (called recovery).
- healing the brain, finding recovery, and looking at one’s own pain, is possible.
Yet- denial serves a purpose- and is often used as a shield to keep from facing the painful reality- and unfortunately, many people think it is easier to keep up the shield- sometimes for a lifetime. I look back on my years of living in denial and it was such a chaotic time of my life. Yet, I had to live in the denial and I am grateful I started to see the reality and started healing. Alanon meetings were a great place to start this.
These behaviors are so accepted by our society and by generations of families haunted by this way of dealing with pain, trauma, and dysfunctional relationship patterns.
What I have learned and have to continue to remember is that all I can change is me. I cannot change anyone else. I will speak words about the disease and dysfunction with the hope to shine a light on the reality for others who may still find recovery.
I am committed to taking effective action and using my resentment as fuel to keep talking about recovery and educating people about this family disease. I will continue to share the energy healing tools that help to:
- release disappointment toward the people who suffer from addiction
- be able to see and have compassion for the person beneath the disease, even if their true spirit is long gone
- hold my own energetic boundaries
- hold hope for recovery.
I will use this fuel to continue my own work, to practice what I teach, to set boundaries, and to use my tools, so that I do not return to my unhealthy ways of codependency and the illusion of control.