Non-Functional Addicts

I’ve worked with people who have been raised with parents who were alcoholics.  Depending upon which parent was the alcoholic and which one was the co-dependent will tell you how well you were raised and whether you actually understand the full impact of what raising yourself has had on you.  Remember the addiction does not have to be alcohol or drugs, it can be anything that takes up the majority of your time, energy, thinking and excludes everything else in your life.

The person I have in mind today is someone who’s mother was the non-functional alcoholic and the father was in the service and gone a lot of the time.  The mother would wake up in the morning and begin to drink, leaving her two sons to fend for themselves.  They did, but the older one eventually became tired of being responsible for his younger brother and began to rebel, leaving his brother alone.  These boys learned little about how to be a family and did not learn how to be loved and how that feels.  They fought a lot both verbally and physically.  When the father was home he brought some order and discipline to the house, along with love, but it was not often enough when you are a needy young boy.  At one point the father was going to leave the mother and said so, but the mother threatened to kill herself and so the father stayed and they became pregnant, but miscarried a boy child due to the drinking.  She then became pregnant again and this time the child came to term and was delivered, it was another boy.  The oldest boy had long since left the family and stayed away as much as possible so the responsibility was left to the younger boy, who was now 19 years old, but still had no idea how to take care of himself, let alone a baby.  The solution came when the younger boy met a young man who was 22 years old and married with a small child of their own.  He left the baby with the mans wife.  He would drop his baby brother off at the beginning of the day and pick him up right before his father would be getting home, just his brother, no food, diapers, clothes or anything else that usually comes with a baby.  The wife complained, but the complaints fell on deaf ears.  This young man had no idea what it took to take care of a baby or a wife, but he eventually married a young woman who also came from an alcoholic family and she was also in need of and looking for someone to love.  She mistook his attentions with love. (another blog)  He did not learn how to be loved or to love.  He did not learn what responsibility was or how to be responsible.  Even though the father tried to teach both, he was not there often enough because he would be stationed all over the world, leaving his sons with a wife who began drinking in the morning and was passed out by the afternoon.  He did not learn how to be honest, forthright, disciplined or any of the other attributes you learn by example because there was no example to follow.  The bigger problem is that he did not know he was missing anything while growing up.  He thought he was okay in his dealings with people and that everyone was dishonest, manipulative and undisciplined in what they did and how they treated others.  One day when his marriage ended he realized that, but it was too late and he had a lot of things to change about what he thought life was all about.  His marriage ended and he finally grew up and became a responsible human being.  He is able to accept responsibility that is his to accept and he is able to admit when he has made a mistake without blaming others for it.  That takes a lot of hard work and looking at yourself with unconditional love.  Letting go of old habits and replacing them with new ones.  For this man, they were habits that began in early childhood and continued throughout a lot of his adult life.  It took courage, but he changed them.  This video will help to let go of those things you are trying to change.   Click here for the relaxation and guided imagery video   Enjoy!


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I became a therapist in an attempt to understand my own childhood and what happened there and how it made me who I am, exhibiting the behaviors that were not always positive, very often self-destructive. I used Art Therapy to help me understand things in my past that were stopping me from making better decisions in my present day. I used Behavioral Science to help me understand underlying causal factors, roots to the present day behaviors that I was seeing in myself. Both help me to change those behaviors/thoughts that were causing me to make self-destructive decisions that were causing pain in life. I have been a therapist since 1985 and have an undergraduate degree Art and behavioral science (double major) from the University of Maine. My graduate work was done at Marywood university and I have a degree in Art Therapy. I have certificates in Forensic Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy. I have 22 out of 30 credits toward a degree in Trauma Therapy from Drexel University. I started out as a Community Support Worker, Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Family therapist and Outpatient therapist.

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