Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 28 - The Lost Weekend

First of all ... it's the last day of my cleanse!! Hallelujah!!! God is in heaven and all is right with the world - especially my little world. Now, anyway. ;)

Remember I mentioned that cleansing will bring you more in touch with yourself emotionally and spiritually. Don't be surprised if you find yourself smack in the middle of some cathartic moments when you cleanse. I know I had my own this past weekend.

To make a long story short, my husband has been suffering from numerous colds the last few winters. Every time he gets sick, he seems to stimulate in me a kind low-grade annoyance. Although I wasn't completely aware of it, we did work our way through to the fact that I behave this way because it's how I was treated by my own mother when I was sick. She was a single mom - and an alcoholic - and as with all alcoholics, she was the center of attention and anything that distracted from that was not tolerated for very long. Including my own illnesses. This isn't her fault, of course! Not only was she stuck in a dopamine depression that prevented her from looking at life's challenges in a positive light, she also didn't get a lot of parental love when she was growing up.

My hubby on the other hand was coddled and spoiled by both of his wonderful parents when he was sick. So he's used to that. And when I cut myself emotionally from him (which is my automatic response to his being sick), he feels abandoned and gets testy.

Day after day of this and both our fuses had fizzled out. After much yelling, screaming, fighting, door slamming, wrestling on the bed, love making, crying, and pacing my balcony barefoot - we finally realized that we just have a "blind spot" for each other when it comes to this. The way sickness was dealt with in my family is exactly the opposite of what he grew up with, so we have a lot of natural friction in this department. And as obvious as it seems, we've never been able to understand that - until this weekend.

I bring it up because there were several levels to this realization - it went on for most of Saturday afternoon. What we talked about afterwards is that at some point during that day, particularly when we'd hit some kind of conciliatory mood, and it happened several times, chances are one or both of us would have said: "I could use a glass of wine" or "Let's go out for lunch" or something like that. We would've got a dopamine buzz and chilled out. But we would've lost the thread of our convictions and we probably wouldn't have made it to the deeper, emotional breakthrough. We both feel so much more relaxed and in touch with each other - and ourselves - now.

I sincerely hope you don't have to have a teeth-gnashing fight when you're on a cleanse. If you do, at least it's sober so you'll be clear-headed for it. ;) Accept it. In fact, embrace the growth opportunity in a disagreement and understand that whatever the cause of it, you'll be on a more honest, positive path when it's over. Because you will know the truth of your life and your situation more clearly.

I hope you don't have to fight in front of your kids. I hear it's not healthy for them. (Wah, wah!) Still, as far as I'm concerned, watching a good, healthy, SOBER argument between two adults who care for each other and the future of the family, is immeasurably better than watching random, booze-soaked scraps, which happen much more often if you're stuck in the cycle of addiction. So if you can keep it PG, great! If you can't, I bet your kids will give you a few free passes because you've probably been able to spend more quality time with them this month. And kids who have been affected by your drinking will appreciate anything you're doing to improve it. I know I would have.

Now I'm not saying that there WILL be fights when you cleanse! Not at all! Don't expect it! Cleansing is actually a very peaceful time in my life. Even though I often find myself making personal emotional breakthroughs, it very rarely involves a fight with anyone else! So don't worry about that. If it happens, go with it. But it's not inevitable.

What might be more likely is that you're having emotional "growth spurts" on your own. Don't be surprised if you find yourself up against lifelong blockages when you cleanse. They might leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Go with that, too. I know it's part of my syndrome as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACOC) to find more comfort in chaos than in peace. And as a former addict, I still find myself drawn to drama. The cycle of fighting and forgiveness that I grew up with, and developed as a drinker myself, is still a part of my makeup. It gets better every year, but I haven't completely rid myself of it yet.

If you do have to face emotional roadblocks on a cleanse (or any time!), I hope that you have a partner who is as open to your development as mine is. It'll make it easier if and when something like this happens.

If, on the other hand, you don't feel the support from your partner, family or friends that you need, you might want to seek professional guidance to help with your journey. I saw a psychologist myself when I was in my late 20s and (other than reading "Drinking: A Love Story") it's one of the best things I've ever done for myself because for the first time in my life I said: I deserve to be happy and I'm doing something about it.

There are many services on the web to help you find appropriate counseling, including and Explore your options and be open to many different forms of support, professional or otherwise. Welcome the feeling of getting closer to who you really are. Experience yourself completely and honestly. In the long run, you'll be a happier, healthier person for it.

Having said that ... I put a bottle of wine in the fridge to chill today. My first in a month. Did I say ... hallelujah? :)

- (Adult Children of Alcoholics Syndrome, Nov. 21, 2010)
by Robert Mitiga

Note: "The Lost Weekend" is the 1945 film by Billy Wilder about an alcoholic writer on a weekend drinking binge. (IMDb) It's an intense, sad, and terrifying story - especially if you're still out of control of your drinking. If not, it's a classic that'll have you thanking your lucky stars you're not there anymore.

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