The Story of an Alcoholic: Stories We Tell Ourselves and Alcohol Recovery
“This is where they keep the freakin’ maniacs”
The abuses that I went through growing up that scarred me both physically and mentally, just seem to add up. We have to ask ourselves;
I meet l plenty of people who are struggling with alcohol, struggling with life struggling with addiction and they are so quick to tell their story. They say;
Often times we live our lives in the shadow of our stories. What does this mean?
This means that the stories we tell ourselves and the meaning we give them, keeps us locked in a cycle and unable to grow.
The reason is because we have our stories, we say;
This is what was done to me.
This is how I was treated.
I was abused
I was neglected
I had all these stories, these narratives I went through in life.
I had memories, pieces of memories.
I had fragments of ideas and fragments of memories.
I thought was done to me, I thought I did, all this stuff lined up and created a life that I had to escape from. The only thing I knew how to do was escape through drinking.
The reason I needed to escape wasn’t just because these things happen.
Because they happen…
They were in the past!
The problem is they are coming into the future, they are coming into the present, they are coming into the now, because of the meaning I gave to my stories.
What meaning are we giving to our story?
I might say this is what was done to me. I deserve this. The fact of the matter is I was just a kid and I never deserved that stuff. I went through life. I didn’t deserve it.
How can someone do this to me? I looked at all these stories of what happened. What was done, as something that happened to me? I said this person hurt me, these people neglected me…
I gave the meaning to these stories, saying;
“Well, I do or do not deserve this.”
I went through my life carrying this badge, saying;
“Well, if I deserve this, what else do I deserve?”
I went through life saying;
“Well if this is how I was treated then this means:
I am unlovable, I am unwanted, and I am a reject or loser
The secret of life is the fact that when you’re young and these things happen to you. You do not deserve it; you did not bring them upon yourself.
We have to say past abuse from our childhood and from our life doesn’t need to have meaning because if there was a different person in the picture, the same thing would have happened.
The problem is, we look at life as something that happens to us;
The fact of the matter is, if you take yourself out of the picture, there would be someone else on planet earth getting the same exact treatment, the same exact stuff now.
This happens for such a long time that we get indoctrinated…we get conditioned!
Chances are that person would end up with the same kind of ailment, the same kind of things that you’re dealing with right now, that you feel you need to escape from because this happens at such a young age and happens for such a long time, which is why they call child abuse, child a child abuse because of the effects that it brings.
Our very personality, our very thought process gets molded by these things. We start to tell ourselves stories and give meaning to these stories, but the fact of the matter is;
If there was another kid that my parents had, they probably would have done the same exact thing.
If there was another person that my step parents had, there would be the same thing that happens regardless of what the person was like tall, skinny, fat or short.
We look at this and we’re like this stuff is going to happen anyway, life happens.
It’s like the Bible says, “it rains on the just and the unjust alike.”
God’s rain does not have any singularity, it doesn’t have any purpose to get one person or another, and it rains on the whole town.
There’s an ebb and flow to life.
There are bad people that do bad things.
There are people, like that I grew up with that had bad ideas.
“Hey, let’s send one kid to the alcoholic grandma who almost killed him and let’s keep the other one safe.”
Why did that happen?
I don’t know. I could go and say, I deserve this. I’m a bad kid. I’m not lovable. Maybe I’m terrible, I’m unwanted.
I could look at this and say the adults are pretty fucked up in this situation. It has nothing to do with me. I don’t need to give that meaning.
We could simply look at it as an event that happened in life. And we could start to heal by saying;
I don’t need to escape from this because it doesn’t mean to me as a person.
I am not the sum of what has been done to me.
I am not the sum of what has been done to my life.
My existence, my person is not an accumulation of all the things that happen to me.
I am not my stories.
I am not my abuse.
I am not the neglected one.
I am not these things. I am something much more something different.
The problem is we don’t know how to cope with these things.
Many people say you need to get over that!
Well, you never get over something.
You move through it by understanding, we don’t need to escape.
You move through it by saying, I don’t need to tell my story, to get people to understand me.
I need to accept the key to keeping sober, if you have this kind of stuff going on, is to let go of the meaning that you’re giving your stories.
You might be keeping a memory of the past because letting go of that memory might let my abuser or my attacker off the hook. It doesn’t let them off the hook that still happened, they’re still bad, but it’s putting them in the place where they belong. Not, this happened to me because of something with me, but this happened to me because they’re messed up.
When we start to let go of the stories, a lot of times maybe it’s a story about you.
Maybe, I’m a failure because this didn’t work.
You just tried something and it didn’t work, that’s the end of the story, but the problem is we carry these stories as a badge of honor and we’re willing to tell them to anyone and there’s all this emotion just like it’s the day it happened, because the healing process hasn’t started yet because they haven’t accepted this as what is so.
Acceptance that life happens, it happens to good, it happens to bad people. When we start to accept and say this is what my story was and stop giving it meaning, then we could start to heal and we could start to become sober.
Thanks again I’m Marcus from talksober.com
“I really hope this helped you out it’s something I’ve struggled with for years. I didn’t get past the meaning, I gave my stories till I was about 35 years old and I started to understand that this stuff happens and I started to build a life and I started to build the story that I didn’t have to escape from.”