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Family Secrets

"Family Secrets, That rather sounds like "acceptance" equals "resignation"."
copyright 2011, all rights reserved

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

I was driving in the car and listening to a National Public Radio show about grieving. They were discussing seeing the anguish of the family of an alzheimer patient -- and the dragged-on loss that goes on and on. And the tone of the show was compassion for the family, compassion for the dying person. And I thought of, how daily, millions of grieving family members see the alcoholic slowly dying in front of their eyes. And how that grief of those families is not publicly supported. There is a silence.

And I cried when I remembered my father. I was 12 years old when he died of alcoholism. I still miss him. But I also remember the alcoholics in my life whom I wished would go sooner. And I remember the mixed feelings..... the anger.... the guilt about the anger..... the shock on other people's faces when I would talk about the anger (especially those who did not know about the abuse)..... the shame when I'd see the shock...... the silence I retreated into.

And the immense relief, in recovery, when learning that all these feelings are normal, are to be expected, when living with, when remembering, when you have alcoholics in your life. And the vast palette of feelings of different people in recovery..... those who will never stop grieving for their children......

those who have such mixed feelings about caring for elderly parents who were once abusive to them when they were little children..... those who won't care for those same elderly parents who were once abusive to them when they were little...... those of us who cannot, yet, feel the feelings; cannot feel the anger that must be there, because we were so violated as little children....... those of us who cannot get beyond the anger of what is truly in the past, because there is so much to get beyond, so much abuse that left so many scars.......

The patience that we all learn in recovery, over time..... the learning that we reach when we finally realize that there is no one "there" in recovery....... that there isn't a one place that we all get to....... and that we cannot, for our own peace, compare our recovery to someone else's.......... that it is so much easier to feel good when all is going well....... that if I had to walk through someone else's history, I may not have survived...... so how dare I assume that "they should be farther along in recovery considering how long they've been coming to meetings."

I needed to write this to further my own healing, to further my own compassion that will always need furthering because I am just a human being. thank you all for being there, Toby

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