Monday, March 27th 2017 (Adult Children)
I received a text message from someone in recovery I haven't spoken to for a while. They are a member of ACA – Adult Children of Alcoholics. There's a new meeting starting up on Saturdays in this town. I'm interested, but I don't know if I'll be there this coming Saturday as Shaun from the college has asked me to go with him to the next town to do a bit of guitar shopping for him. I'll go to the meeting the following week. I quite liked the freedom given in the ACA meetings, the fact that we kept things current. What are we doing NOW to get and stay better? In AA it always seemed to be in the past tense. I WAS fucked up, I USED to behave this way and that, almost like they can't see their current defective behaviour. In ACA there was a sense that those in attendance were always trying to recover from what they believe their problems to be. Not so many of them still living in the problem.
This ties in a little more closely with this whole Detached Protector thing that I'm investigating with my psychologist at the moment. There's a ''Laundry List'' for ACA. Have a look at this:
1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
8. We became addicted to excitement.
9. We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and "rescue."
10. We have "stuffed" our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
12 We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.
What a fucked up bunch of cookies must go to those meetings, right!? Strangely they are not as fucked up, on average, as their AA counterparts. But then there are more AA members to choose from. I can't say that I suffer from all of the above, nowhere near to it, but I do with some. I know someone else who can also relate well to this Laundry List – Lindsay. She's interested in coming along with me to her first ACA meeting. We'll be going to check out this new meeting this coming Saturday afternoon.
We had a college assessment today and we have another to look forward to tomorrow. Today it was signal path stuff – anything to do with microphones or cabling; electromagnetic fields and impedance – tomorrow it's more to do with codecs and bit depth; aliasing and Nyquist Theorem. It's all good. This afternoon Shaun came top of the class with twenty two right out of twenty four. Second came some other guy, all the way down the line to one of us who actually failed it. Not so good. I got seventeen correct from twenty four. Not quite so good, but then I did do it closed book. Everyone else did it open book, meaning that they had all of the answers in front of them on their computer screen. I had the confidence not to do this and although some of the questions were obviously worded and designed to throw us slightly I managed to pull through.
Tomorrow's assessment also comes with the open book option but again I am going to try to trust myself enough to complete it only having my brain to pull answers from. It might seem pointless doing it this way (and if you fail the resit it costs forty five quid to have a third go) but we're always told to try pushing ourselves more. Doing it my way is the best way of pushing myself I think.
I haven't had many opportunities to push things with my Detached Protector much these last few days. The weather has been lovely (and is lovely now still) and I haven't felt threatened or exposed to the extent where I've needed to throw up this defence mechanism of mine. It'll come.
I'm heading off to a SMART meeting in ten minutes or so. I keep thinking of Jimmy and how he said he drank four pints and that was that. A lot of these guys who go to Restoration and to SMART don't really have a drinking problem I don't think. It's more a living problem they have. If they were forced into work then they'd go out and have a drink. Then they'd play the system. The drink is there as a manipulation technique to ensure that they are forever granted their welfare. It's sad. I think that both Lindsay and I could be seen as examples of people who can change their situations and grow a little while attending these groups.
In AA I never managed to get my Spiritual Awakening while going through the Twelve Step program with Stu. It just never happened. Now I can see that it's totally obvious why this was so – my Detached Protector Mode.
With Dr. Bacon, my clinical psychologist, I can work on breaking down this mode of thinking and behaviour. When this happens I think the rules of the game will change. I think that then I'll have my Spiritual Awakening.
Then the personal growth will really gather momentum.
Still an Adult Child.