Yesterday a friend and I returned a crate of empty beer bottles which had been on my balcony for over 4 years. As I live on the 4th floor without an elevator I used to drink from cans but… at some point, 4 years ago I was trying to quit and then favo beer came on sale in the bottles. I promised myself that it would not be so bad if I just moderated. Well, I guess you know how that works out… Some 4 years and 2 days later…. I FINALLY got to bringing it back. 🙂 It has 4 euro deposit money so obviously I wanted to cash that.
All this time of not drinking I had been hesitant to bring the bottles back. At first the rattling of bottles in a crate ignited thoughts of drinking. Later it brought back specific memories of what I call our ‘drunken nest’ at home. My dad, brother, friends and I would drink bottled beer on a summer evening at a campfire. I won’t go romanticising this because the truth was that I was already addicted then and the family dysfunctional partially because of the use of alcohol. Looking back now I realise that both my parents had ‘the gene’ even though they never got into it to the max. My father did for a few years when he studied but that finished off his study and he had to move back to his teetotaler parents so that sorted that.
That is the thing with drinking while having a family: it is not only the person who drinks who is affected, it is everybody. When drinking my mother was not available, not for normal conversation, not for connecting, everything was ‘dealt’ with quickly and in an irritated manner. She made clear that we came between her and her drink, or as she would phrase it: “the only moment of the day I have to myself”. A lot of the issues I could have used help with as a teenager, like sexual assault where not spoken off because she was already irritated when I mentioned something simple as school stuff. That is what she taught us; alcohol is more important than you are. And in my twisted and already addicted mind that read: drinking = solving problems.
When my dad drank he would become even more convinced of himself and start orating for 3 hours on end on dark subjects nobody was interested in like doomsday and the end of times. Hmm, orating for 3 hours… how does that sound familiar? If anybody protested, specifically when my mother protested, he would lash out like trying to win the first price for bullying. After that we would all smooth it over with more booze. Flush the tension away.
Mike from the blog ‘dharmaholic‘ spoke about having a family and drinking a few days ago in an interesting post and the shame based family:
For your information, here are some of the things Bradshaw (edit: writer of the book ‘Healing The Shame That Binds You’ about shame, shame based families and addiction) speaks about parent modeling and why shame-based parents have little ability in these matters.
‘Modeling includes how to be a man or a woman; how to relate intimately to another person; how to acknowledge and express emotions; how to fight fairly; how to have physical, emotional, and intellectual boundaries; how to communicate;how to cope and survive life’s unending problems; how to be self-disciplined; and how to love oneself and another. Shame-based parents cannot do any of these”.
That was how my parents failed to be present to my brother and I, to themselves, to eachother and to family and the few friends they had; because of their drinking and their fights with themselves and the fights between them. 😦
The tv-series Patrick Melrose (addicty trying to get clean and trying to deal with his past of abuse) is on in The Netherlands. Obviously my parents were not quite as far away from me as his and the abuse did not come from within the family – but what is very familiar is that undertone of dread. continuous insecurity, fearing I, my integrity, would be attacked, abused. In early childhood I could ‘get over things’ and ‘forget about them’ but the older I grew and the more incidents added on the more I would freeze. And from early puberty onwards I was continuously in a fight/flight/freeze….. and drink mode.
Ok, well, back to the crate on the balcony. I had cleaned the balcony but the crate was staring at me. Earlier I thought keeping it was a good idea to remind me of my stupidity and all the wrongs I had done. I mentioned this to friend who came by and she said: if you do not dare to do it alone, let’s go take it to the store together. We did. 🙂 While walking I spoke about the sound being a trigger. She mentioned that it triggered her to drink cola because it reminded her of bottles of cola. 🙂 That is about focusing on not continuously fighting the old, but replacing our behaviour with new behaviour. In this case that would be drinking cola which I will not – but the sound could be from apple juice or water bottles too. Good changes. 🙂
Also: now I am able to detect what was going on and how this crate calls up memories, guilt and self-hate. In the last 4 years I have also developed some form of self-worth to realise that the hurt coming with the memories and my own judgement is not so much ‘what I deserve’ but more ‘what I learned to do to myself’. I realise guilt is a suitable emotion when applied in moderation in the correct situation. However feeling guilty, always, about everything, about being alive is not a sustainable way of living – so to say. 😉
For me shame is a big issue and finding back my voice, my right to live and right to protect myself, my right to be safe is difficult. So many damaged my physical and emotional integrity to rid themselves of their own feelings of shame through aggressive sexual acts against me. Sexual abuse was the key ingredient of my parents marriage with daily doses of forced sex. That layer of vile acts seeped through the family and poisoned everbodies’ mind, heart, soul and energy system.
So yeah, shame is something to work on for me. And I am guessing at some point in my life it would be nice to be free of reproaching my parents for letting me down. Hell, not reproaching parents for having kids and thinking they can keep them safe while my mother actually knew their marriage would be a destructive one, would be nice. And yes, I know this is twisted thinking but that is a part within which is fucked up badly. I decided that I would never have kids because I would not want to do to anybody what my parents did to me / did not do for me. Everybody kept on and keeps on saying ‘but they were trying their best’. But if unleashing ones own shame on kids is the best… I don’t want to walk down that road. And knowing I was addicted to alcohol: what did I have to offer? Continuation of damaged genes and sick coping mechanisms?
Back to the crate: 3 Years and 10 months sober I do not have to ‘keep up appearances’ and then buckle under the weight of shame and self-hate only to drink again. I am now able to voice my worries to a friend who comforts me and helps me out in a practical way: walk with me to the store, be present to my discomfort. And I am able to accept that just as it is without feeling inferior. I can thank her for that without feeling stupid and not suitable to live.
Those are a lot of changes. 🙂 I am not in AA but seeing how my developments go I can see how they touch upon the 12 steps. 🙂 And indeed, how resentment is an important part of me and it hinders me. But I can not step past the deliberate hurt they caused me, for putting me in harm’s way on purpose, for not listening when I expressed abuse. For sending me back into social situations in which I had been abused. For not believing me when telling them my brother was egging the abusers on. For not believing me my brother pulled a knife at me. For disbelieving everything I said from that point onwards because ‘he would not do such stuff’. Well. He did. And they did. And while I was losing myself and almost soiled myself my mother was looking sincere but not fully. I never understood until I learned about micro-expressions; that explained the glimpses of joy combined with power and sex. Vile. She was smiling at me and experiencing lust when sending me back into the crowd with luring, lusting and grabbing guys willing to go to any length to get some action – there was no protecting me. Because drinking. Because my misery made her feel less alone? I do not know. She had been perverted and now it was my turn. That is what families are about: handing down experiences. Unfortunately that counts for the darker ones too. 😦 Patrick Melrose is very explicit about not wanting to live in this system himself and at the same time behaves exactly the same way his father did. 😦
That’s the thing isn’t it: we all think we will be there for kids, friends, nephews, nieces, family, colleagues, neighbours when they want to express something awful and need help. But the reality is: as long as we do not look at our own pain and darkness, kids, friends, nephews, nieces, family, collegues, neighbours turn into people who are uncomfortable to be around with after they have been hurt. Typically kids who have been abused or bullied will not ‘just cry’ so others can feel sorry for them and comfort them. They have been touched by the shame of the abuser and therefore do not feel the right to cry anymore. They whine, become silent, they can become aggressive or withdraw and stumble over their own feet exactly when others ‘need’ them to be inspirational and show off. And if they can not perform beautifully on Sundays at grandma’s, at school or at football, at least don’t be a whining embarrassment. I cried, I begged, I moaned, I sabotaged and I got dismissed by my parents for whining so they send me back into the lion’s pit. I learned I had no value.
“You are an embarrassment, I am ashamed of you.” actually means: “Your behaviour touches something in me I can not carry, and I dislike you for reminding me of the shame, guilt, self-loathing I have inside.” That is how transfer works. I have shame, you remind me of it, I need to lash out so I can feel better, you feel worse and now you carry my shame.
The other way around: I am thinking, when experiencing discomfort like shame and unworthiness in dealing with somebody, especially kids, it is extremely important to be aware of what is going on and what is carried over, what does not want to be seen, what has no right to exist. Alcohol and other drugs prevents parents, teachers, therapists from doing that because addiction is a shame fueled misunderstanding of life.
In the last months I ended up in a dark depression and allowed myself to go into my underdog mode. Rock bottom will be the solid bottom on which I rebuild my life – I hope ;-). I will sink and sink till I let go of the attachment to destructive patterns. Knowing that I let go. I cut out everybody who did not exactly believe me as I experienced my life and speak about it. No matter how much I moan I expect people to listen and if they don’t they can get out of my life. I had to do that to make space for me to believe me, to take myself seriously, to take back room in myself to experience. Moaning only happens when people do not take their own pain seriously. Moaning is a structure of squeezing a non-existent pimple right next to a giant white head. I was going to not dismiss myself too, upfront. Not going to set boundaries to experiencing the damage which has been done. Not going to slightly change my story or leave stuff out to make people accept it.
My dreams looked and felt like this vid, that person. “The monsters are running wild inside of me. I am faded. So lost. I am faded.”
It was informative. The utter darkness of not wanting to live, not being able to be social, not taking care of me; it was dark. Days filled with planning on how to take my life. How will I make sure the right people take care of the cat and will keep her. How will I make sure they do not suspect that I’m not going on a holiday. Dark. Some days in I realised I was wanting myself out of my body constantly. Do you recognise that?
Also, I had changed the security settings to my blog and I had to type in the name to this blog every time I wanted to read something. I realised that I was not feeling my way back into life. I was pushing myself away from experiencing what was going on but making a ‘kill the ego’ solution to it by wanting to die. As I was laying in my bed anyway I dove into what was.
I can tell you, the running for the darkness and going into suicide thinking is dark. What is behind that within me is dark too but there is a difference. Behind it is destruction. It is natural. It is Thanatos. The Universe has 2 main powers: one is life and the other is death. You can call it light and darkness, yin and yang, whatever. One is expanding, the other is subtracting. The one can not live without the other. The substracting balances the growth. It is that which brings order to the chaos so the growth can follow a sustainable path, not grow wild, not overgrow itself. It sets boundaries to that without boundaries, which is infinite, which is unlimited. I dread endings. Every ending has an atmosphere of my brother dying. I dread boundaries and limits. I ‘chose’ an addiction which I thought helped me to avoid all of that – only to find that the alcohol in the end limited me. Which is correct. That is how Life is.
The darkness is where I do not want to be, I relate this back to the suffering in the womb when my brother died. And funny; I realised that me backing away from this energy to quit building, to make sensible choices instead of wanting it all, makes it impossible for me to fulfill any project or actually achieve something in life because I dread the ending of it. The energy connected to ‘being done’ is for me connected with terror and death. So I back away.
And obviously, in backing away I do not accept life on life’s terms and get unbalanced. 😦 Just Universal laws. The darkness, it is real. It is part of Life. It is natural. I feel I have gotten an extra leg to walk on, like parts in my body have re-integrated with experiencing this darkness within. The suicidal thinking is another darkness, one with ‘opinions’ and ‘wants and needs’, an ego created darkness. The darkness of Life, as I experienced it then is just what it is: destruction. Not personal. Not focussed on the ego. Overwhelming and powerful but true and clear. Quite a relieve actually.
The last month has been about falling apart, looking at all the pieces and the glue which kept them together. Most of the glue is/was not so much a life force but it consists of freeze. Frozen emotions, frozen processes, blocked paths through life. Funny how that what I fear ‘the darkness’ actually ends up building my system itself and preventing the opposite ‘Life’ to happen. Which is… exactly how I think it works. I wanted to find freedom in alcohol while I found enslavement. I wanted financial freedom while I found that depletes my funds :-). I wanted to live without boundaries while I found that means that indeed I reach nothing. I want to explain stuff and bury people in words.
Living Life on life’s terms. 🙂 I have made a big step and while I thought I stepped into the darkness I stepped into freedom. Not kaboom Light, but well, relieve, understanding of the workings of me. Experiencing internal freedom, you know; when you understand stuff and feel your DNA change. 🙂
One of the characteristics of people with a vanishing twin is that they can not finish stuff. Their energy is in the start of a project and then…. pfffff…. they seem to lose interest, fall into pits nobody else would fall in, digress (like now ;-)) find another subject which is way more interesting. I have that. It looks like something which could be just ‘solved’ with improving my moral. But that is not how it works. Like addiction is not a moral disease, my running for the darkness which I connect to endings is not a moral failing either – it is a structural design mistake of my energetic system, or a solution my system made up to deal with the trauma. It would however be very nice to sort of get a grip on my life. 😉 Fix it. Quick! 😀 Getting there.
Some days I can eat well which means 2 home-made meals a day. Sleep well, which by now means going to bed before 02:00 (waaaaay to late for me). Read some, currently the Artemis Fowl series again. I clean the house before visits from friends and the hug-budy which means at least weekly cleaning. He is a cosy, sexy comfort but even after 7 months I do not want to engage into a full sex act. It is actually quite interesting to do all the other things which normally fade out of a relation. When was the last time you spend 4 hours hugging, talking, tickling, massaging and well, some more sexually oriented frolicking?
I am starting to notice differences between us which I am not sure we can or I want to bridge. Also I am not sure if being friends with benefits is a good thing for my dysfunctional heart. Sometimes it only teaches my heart to be more dysfunctional; loving is ok, receiving is impossible. Addict trait; don’t touch me. My heart is shut.
Workwise I am still lost on what and where. The social security people have put me at the bottom of the pile. I guess this is because I start crying every time they ask a question…. sigh, how will I ever be ‘normal’ again? I just don’t know what I want. I want a simple job in a safe environment. But the simple jobs don’t seem to come with safe environments until I find some stability within myself. Having stepped in the darkness behind my own ‘made-up’ darkness is a good thing. However, I do not know how many layers this onion has. And if I need to peel them all to be able to function again at my level of education. Or maybe, maybe, the level at which I am supposed to function is not equal to my emotional intelligence or stress control and maybe I never will. I am going to ask the social security if they can help find out what I want and can do, where my strengths and weaknesses are. Writing short posts is not one of them ;-).
Post 526 in this blog. 🙂 I am happy that I quit. I realise that my happiness is something of an ‘obligatory’ thing. I do not experience a lot of happiness lately, more ‘relieve’ from the darkness. That does not count in my daily practise for ‘being happy that I quit’ but there is no other experience currently. I do resent drinking. My SIL was eating an oven dish with mushrooms in a wine-cheese sauce. I had forgotten about the wine and took a small bite. MG. Tastes like cheese vomit. Brrrr…. People with alcohol breath smell like they swallowed cleaning agent. So no, not in the danger zone but it worries me that I do not ‘repair’ more quickly. And then again: I have gotten a big dose of the darkness and this comes back layer after layer. These last weeks have changed a lot. I hope when the next bout of depression comes a long I am brave enough to really feel into it again. 🙂
Wishing you a good sober night/day.
Sending you a hug after that. So proud of you for keeping on going, don’t stop. I’m talking about life and the no drinking.
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Ooh yeah, receiving that hug well thank you! 🙂
Good to see you posting again Feeling 🙂 I loved Bradshaw’s book and Patrick Melrose and identified strongly with both xx
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Both horrible and good that there are so many who identify with both. 🙂 I read Teal Swan wrote a book about shame too. That goes on my list. Thank you for dropping by! Looking forward on an Australia – cat – BBQ – family update. 🙂
You never fail to touch my heart a little. The beginning of this really, really moved me to actual tears. Love to you x
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Thank you S_MW :-), receiving love well. 🙂
Well done on taking the bottles back, there must be something positive and symbolic about that. Letting go of the past and alcohol and shame. Good on you xx
Heavy bottles but indeed mainly symbolic. 🙂
I feel so much healing, so much processing as I read. This is a beautiful piece. Always good to see the meaning in the experience. Kudos on the bottle returns. I shudder at all the hidden bottles that never got recycled over the years of active drinking. LOL. It’s all good. Blessings my friend.L.
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Ooh! Ghegheghe…. I notice a taboo in me. 😀 ‘not recycling bottles’ Oh oooh…. 🙂 OMG. There is a book ‘The Undutchables’ it is a guide to the Netherlands and has a chapter on Dutch people and their recycling rules. It is a 2-3 page essay including reactions of neighbours and well, anybody actually from the ‘recycle your bottles or else’ club. Funny to hear that I could have also solved it differently…. Ok no, that is just a theory, I really can not. 😀 Ghegheghe…. very, very informative to realise how I worked myself in a tight spot with rules I hung onto and never even questioned. It is so amazing how some things can be so simple but be so out of reach. Like drinking actually. “Just quit” never even popped up until there was no way out anymore.
And yes, a lot of healing. Bit tired of doing the healing through the ultimate darkness and then up again. Would like to have it come to me the easy way for a change. But I guess I may be grateful for the fact that I can do all this on governement money. 🙂 And not drinking came to me the easy way. That is nice too. 🙂
Thank you for your reply, means a lot. 🙂
You are light for me! We are only a few weeks apart in our yearly sobriety date!
I know my family was shamed based too. Not awful stuff, but the girls were shamed for not thinking of others, for some sexual stuff, for getting angry, etc.
I am so glad you are posting again! I am sorry you have been in the darkness.
I just love you just the way you are, dark and light.
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Thank you Wendy, you always light up my day. 🙂 ❤
I am looking forward to every day of this 3rd year and our upcoming 4th year of sobriety together.
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Hug. I’m happy to hear from you.
I’m sorry you are in this low place. Have you considered medication? I know it’s a must for me. And my daughter has changed her medication after her suicide attempt and it has helped her come out of the darkest depths of depression. Thank god.
I hope removing the bottles lightens your surroundings. Making a move like that is a signal that you are healing. That’s powerful.
Shame is complicated. I fear I created shame in Cleo…or fed it, and although I am honest and supportive and have tried to show love as best I can for almost 5 years, it is part of her persona. I hope we can continue to heal here too.
Love to you. The right choices will show up.
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I am sorry to hear your daughter tried to take her life. I did not know. I have no clue how I could have missed that. That must have been / must be really, really tough.
Personally I am against regular medication – if there is such a thing. 🙂 I am more scared of regular medication than I am off the darkness. I can explain why but I am not sure that would be beneficial and also, I am not a doctor and I sort of only have myself to care for. So I can have any opinion I want. 🙂
Shame is easy to carry over. Just as it has been dropped on us, we drop it on others. It is nasty. What I did notice though that if somebody really really apologises, this lifts shame from the both. My mother once apologised for something she had done. Not just saying ‘sorry, did not feel right’ but actually saying: “I took a shortcut in my behaviour because I had made wrong choices, I was angry and fed up with myself and then you came along, pushed some buttons and it was all too easy to blame everything that went wrong that day on you. I am very sorry. It was not just, I should have been the adult, I should not have done that.”
Voila! Done. I thanked her for being sincere and everything was ok.
All the other parts where she lied and denied her impact, even in front of 2 other witnesses, still fester on. Well, obviously that it is my responsibility now to deal with that and no, I am not doing a good job but well, that is the difference. 🙂
Having quit drinking is a wonderful thing. You are doing so well. Also: alcoholism is a family disease and what happened in earlier years is something that needs to be looked at and healed for all of you. And if anyone can be a trustworthy adult in this proces, it, it is you. I believe you can. I believe in you.
Thank you. I value your comment.
I didn’t write about cleo as I think it is her story, but I do talk about it.
She is doing so much better now. Perhaps it was a warning sign that we really needed.
She’s gender fluid, so she’s got a lot going on. Life at 13 is hard.
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Gender fluid, hmmm, whenever I hear the words ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ or ‘gender fluid’ I immediately think to check the vanishing twin syndrome story. Maybe you could see if this vid holds any information which you find recognisable? 1 Out of 8-10 pregnancies starts of as a twin pregnancy but only 1 out of a 100 becomes a twin. So it is actually rather common. It depends on the stage of the pregnancy and most likely on the surviving child and the mother too how this effects a child. Funny enough they say the earlier the twin disappeared, the more difficult it seems to be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzOZMbof84I
Please note that VTS has nothing to do with the romanticed idea of soul mates and soul twin – apart from a surviving twin will keep on searching and yearning for ‘something’ they have no idea of. I call it a hole in the soul too. A hole in my heart too. Not sure if I hope you/she recognises anything. My ‘not knowing what I am bodywise and sexuality wise’ set me on the path of VTS.
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I will absolutely look into it.
She does not know what she wants to be. Very neutral, and absolutely not a woman.
We are supportive of her choices.
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Sending you light and a hug, Feeling. Thank you for writing this. I can feel the universe’s energy of light and love pushing out through you. I’m so sorry for the horrible stuff your family threw at you. Stay open and keep writing 🙂 Adrian
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Thank you Adrian. 🙂 Stay open – practicing, practicing 🙂