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Adult Children of Alcoholics

"Adult Children of Alcoholics, Father Died of Alcoholism When I was Just 12."
copyright 2011, all rights reserved

by Toby Rice Drews
author of the "Getting Them Sober" books

My father died from alcoholism when I was 12 years old. My parents were separated, and I would visit my father on weekends. I was his youngest, his "little one" he would take everywhere, and he did his best to be a good father.

But weeks before he died from advanced stages of this disease, he cried and cried, begging me to "help him... to not let him die". It was awful and I cried with him, begging him to "not die". And then he died. One of the most difficult aspects of my own recovery, as an adult, has been to find the ability to let go of knee-jerk guilt when someone needs me whom I know is beyond my help.

Here are two of the ways I have been helped at different times, when I have wanted to help people who were not-help-able -- or who were so very not-good for me, that I could not even entertain the idea of trying to help them ------

a.) Reminding myself that this pattern of mine has been one of "over-scrupulousness"..... and instead of being in the "helping mode".... this mind-set I would hold on to when I could not really help the other person, is more like "gnawing on a dry bone"..... i.e., useless.

b.) Remembering the "snake fable"..... Here is the fable: A woman was walking in the frigid woods in winter. She came across a frozen snake. She felt sorry for it, and brought it home and wrapped it in a blanket. It began to thaw. It stretched and smiled at her. She fed it warm milk. It totally thawed out..... thanked her.....and then bit her! She was not only physically hurt, but emotionally hurt. She cried out to the snake, "Why did you do this to me -- me who helped you?" And it answered her, "You knew I was a snake when you brought me in!"

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