Last weekend I did a spontaneous thing my friend and I drove to the Al-Anon convention. It was a few hours away and some of our friends were part of the planning committee. I was very nice everyone was really glad to see us.
We arrived in time for the speaker meeting first the AA then the Al-Anon. Good speakers and of course I could relate more to the Al-Anon speaker. The one thing that stuck with me was that he said he was on the outside since birth and that meeting the alcoholic was like meeting his soul mate.
I really understood that. He said he tried to drink and he did take pills but it didn't stick but the alcoholic was addiction at first sight. Having her in his life made him do crazy things that you would associate with and alcoholic but he was sober.
I have analyzed the appeal of the alcoholic for myself over the years and came up with a few things that sum it up for me. First when they are at their best they can be the most emotionally honest people on the planet. They can make you feel you are loved beyond words and that with their love everything will be fine. Then the moment changes and there is such distance and indifference to you that it was like you imagined the whole thing. For me this hooked me so many times.
I spent so many days of my life trying to find the person I fell in love with and just when I was ready to give up they would appear again and I was back in. I wanted to feel that vulnerability and connection just more time. It made me feel so alive and without it I was lost. Two halves making a whole which never works long term.
I have encounter this several times in my life and knew that I was playing with fire. The going back over and over eventually broke my half in half again. This is what sent me to the program for which I am eternally grateful. I don't blame the alcoholic because they are just trying to survive like we are.
I do think we are the same in that we both feel more than we should in this world. What is enough for most people is not enough for us. We think there must be more and it is painful to walk around feeling this way so we need a distraction. We think that there is something wrong with us because we can't be happy with the ordinary.
At our worst we find something or someone destructive to fill that void. For the Al-Anon we can hide behind the list of 10,000 things to do list. It is acceptable in our culture to just do and give. We can wear that badge of honor indefinitely. For the addicted they fell into to something that at one time gave them relief from these feelings that this is all there is and it is not enough.
I believe there are people out there that have happier genes than I do for sure but for the most part I think the people that find happiness have better skills for coping with the ordinary. They don't think like I have most of my life that there must be more or that I must be more.
I believe for myself this is immaturity. I was raised by the eight year old inside of me and she always wants things to be as exciting as they were when we were eight. She is strong willed and can only be held back for so long before she has to find a distraction. There are a lot of us out there.
For me the solution is to accept that this is who you are and find new things to do that will keep that eight year old entertained. Change up the routine even for just a few hours. Like drive 2 hours to a convention to hear a speaker and drive home. I have trouble when I think about what might be of interest and everything on the list has been done before and it doesn't excite me so I feel paralyzed and plop myself in front of the TV and live the life of the character I am watching.
Just like I did when I was eight. It works and with YouTube I can actually learn things but it is still not satisfying. I am glad that I can see where my suffering comes from but it doesn't mean that I can always do something about it.
Since I have worked hard to heal and get rid of all those stories I use to have in my head about the past I have a lot more time with my eight year old. It use to be a full time job repeating the hurts of my past over and over again or worse trying to figure out what I did that made people dislike me so much that they had to get away from me. A painful but effective distraction.
So now it is just me and the eight year old looking for the next adventure. Luckily I work a lot and don't have too much time to fill but there is still a lot. Can I accept the ordinary? Can I actually be grateful that I am not in some sick relationship or crisis just to get away for feeling these moments of panic where there is just me and ordinary.
Just for today I can. Some of what I have said may seem harsh but I don't mean it that way. I believe we are all hurt some more than others and we all have found different ways of coping with the hurt. I accept what ever anyone brings to the table. I know we are all just trying to find our own way and I am grateful I have found my own peace.