Alanon



Memorial Day….    What does that mean???

I had this vague idea, but not being a history buff of any kind, I had to go look it up…  Google is my Friend!  lol

Memorial Day was originally about honoring the soldiers who died during the Civil War to preserve the United States of America.  As time went on and other major wars were fought, Memorial Day Observances were expanded to include ANY American soldier who fought and died for his country.  Who “Gave His All”, is how they said it.  But, what about the soldiers who in many ways “Gave His All” and still managed to come home alive.  The ones they called “shell-shocked”.

Taken from WiseGeek:

[http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-shell-shock.htm]

The term “shell shock” was used during the First World War to describe the acute stress reactions displayed by many soldiers in the battlefield. When unaddressed, short-term combat stress reactions can lead to more prolonged problems, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study of combat stress reactions has advanced significantly since the First World War, when soldiers with shell shock were commonly treated as malingerers who were attempting to get out of the fighting.

Several things are signs of shell shock. Most commonly, soldiers seem disoriented and unable to focus. They may also experience a number of autonomic nervous system reactions like shaking, nightmares, twitching, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, anxiety, and irritability, among others. The rate of combat stress reactions tends to go up as the rate of injuries and deaths increases. In the trenches of the First World War, the 10% casualty rate was devastating, and rates of combat stress reactions were extremely high.

Sadly, many ACOA’s understand all too well, what it is probably like in a combat zone, only they called it “home”.  Growing up in a dysfunctional home, whether that be with an alcoholic, an addict, an obsessive perfectionist, a rage-aholic, or whatever else made “home” feel like a war zone, many of us get it…

Like the soldiers accused of cowardice, we too were sent back to the front lines every day.  We had no escape either.  Many were told, “just get over it”, or “stop faking it” or any other of an endless stream of remarks designed to diminish what we were feeling, to shut us up, to make us doubt ourselves and our reactions.  ….   Just like the soldiers with shell shock or PTSD.

Thank God for 12 Step Programs!

Just Lexxie, Chatterin’ Again!

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Yesterday, all I got done was posting a copy of the Serenity Prayer, but today I would like to share why it is so important to me. 

When I first got into recovery, I had some pretty big things going on in my life.  My marriage was falling apart and I was falling apart.  In the beginning, it seemed as though the only place I could find where I could actually take a deep breath and relax for a few minutes was when I was sitting in a meeting.  Needless to say, I made it to as many meetings as I could find back then. 

One of the first tools of the program that I grabbed hold of was the Serenity Prayer.  I used it in those moments, hours, days, when I had no clue what else to do or how to go about finding any answers.  I would use it as a mantra, I would chant it, I would reduce it to a 3 word prayer.  Serenity, Courage, Wisdom, Serenity, Courage, Wisdom, Serenity, Courage, Wisdom…..  Until the tears would stop, until I could breathe again, until I could shift gears and let go of the trauma of the day.  The Serenity Prayer was my anchor when it seemed as though there was nothing else that I could hold on to.    It was short enough that I could remember it even when my brain seemed to have slipped all its’ gears and be functioning on autopilot.  Yet, it was meaningful enough to get through to me.  I would know that the storm had passed when I would take that first shuddering breath and could feel my body beginning to relax.  Thank you God!  This too has passed…

Just Lexxie, Chatterin’ Again…


I had been married for about 10 years.  I knew he was having affairs.  I had even talked to a couple of the bolder ones on the phone who had the nerve to call his home, MY home, the home of our CHILDREN!  One of them I remember kept asking “Who are you?”  I responded “HIS WIFE !  who are you?”  Well, after several go-rounds with this particular robin, I knew this conversation was going nowhere fast and hung up.  You might, with righteous indignation demand, “What did he say when you confronted him?”  But, sadly, at that point in my life, my already hugely battered self-esteem would not allow me to even attempt to confront him one more time.  I couldn’t have taken watching him stand there in front of me and blandly lie to me yet again over his inappropriate behavior.  If he had said to me one more time, “I don’t know who it was, must have been a wrong number.”  This was way before the days of caller ID, mind you.   I would have just disintegrated right there on the spot.  Ya’know, just like how they show the vampires on TV, when they get struck by the sun, one minute they are standing there in full view of everyone, the sun comes up and poof!  all that remains where they were standing is this cloud of smoke and dust.  That would have been me.   I just couldn’t’ve take it again….

This obviously wasn’t the first one and I was completely convinced that as long as I stayed there would continue to be others.  I had two children under 10 years old and wasn’t working at the time.  Children needed their father, didn’t they?  Children in a family together, even when it was not good, was still better than children from a divorced family, wasn’t that what everyone said?

This was all happening during the early 80’s.  We were enlightened back then.  Feminism was alive and active.  So where did it all go wrong? Now, I think it was all wrong before it ever started, but that is another story for another day.  But back then, I thought it was all my fault.  I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t a good enough housekeeper, and on and on, ad nauseam….

There was a part of me that knew he loved me, or so I told myself.  And yet, the scene that kept running through my head was this:

“If I could find a tree, just the right size tree, and run my car into it, not too hard, but just hard enough, ….  I could knock myself out, be unconscious for 4-5 days, he would come RUNNING to my bedside, sit there as the handsome, distraught, young loving husband, holding my hand, gently stroking it, repeating over and over again how sorry he was, what a schmuck he had been, could I ever forgive him, please come back to him and give him another chance, how he would never mess up again…. Then, after he was sufficiently scared that he might actually lose me,  I would miraculously come out of my coma, with absolutely no brain damage, tell him I heard every word he had said to me while I was unconscious and how I completely forgave him, because I know knew that he would be forever faithful, now that he had almost lost me and realized how much he really did love me. ”

Jeez, Louise!  What FANTASIES we can come up with to appease our broken hearts!  …  and our bruised and battered self-esteem.

I was probably 4 or 5 years into recovery when it finally dawned on me as I heard another woman talking around a table.  She was telling a story about HER FANTASY, and I thought, “oh, my, gawd, she is suicidal!”.  Then and there, in that moment of recognition, it dawned on me that I had been suicidal.  If anyone had asked me at the time that was all going on if I was suicidal I would have completely denied that I was, at that time suicidal, or had ever been suicidal.  After all, it was just a little fantasy, wasn’t it???  …..  It probably took me another 5 years before I could tell that story for myself sitting around a table….  Finally admitting, that yes, I had been suicidal for several years when I got into recovery

Just Lexxie, Chatterin’ Again!


geez, I am sitting here on the fence, getting splinters in very uncomfortable places…  if ya’know what I mean…  lol

I know many ACoA’s feel very threatened when a polar opinion comes up, so please don’t take offense or feel challenged by what I am about to say. I am not trying to decide this issue pro or con for anyone else. I am not trying to declare that anyone is wrong about this, which ever way they feel, however, several questions immediately pop into my head about this issue.

In this day and age I think anonymity is well on its’ way to becoming a double edged sword. I am, by no means, proclaiming that everyone go out and shout from the rooftops, “I AM A MEMBER OF (12 step program of your choice) AA, ACOA, NA, CA, etc, etc. AND I can completely agree that anonymity is a big deal within the 12 Step Programs. I have chosen to maintain my anonymity here on this blog, but, I am getting to the point where I have very mixed feelings about anonymity and 12 Step programs and personal recovery.

Anonymity was built into the programs in a day and age where there were very severe consequences in your life and your work world if you admitted to being an alcoholic or a drug addict. You instantly became “untrustworthy”. When in fact, the opposite was probably more the case. By admitting to being an addict or an alcoholic, you then, hopefully, began to behave in a more trustworthy manner because you knew people would be watching you more closely now that they had someone to blame things on. “oh, it was that drunk, Joey, he did it! I always knew there was somethin’ funny about him!” In many ways, unfortunately, a lot of those consequences still exist in our world today.

There is also the issue of proclaiming to the world “ I am an alcoholic and I got sober in AA” and 5 days, or months, or years later, getting arrested for another DUI and getting it splattered across the front page of the paper, or the internet home page of your choice. It does give a bad name to the program, or does it? Is it the fault of the program that didn’t work or the individuals just being human if they relapse… It seems as though no one is really interested in what was going on with the individual that they got into a place where the best option they came up with was to get drunk again. Isn’t it more about what they do about that relapse that counts than the fact that they relapsed in the first place? There is a saying that I don’t remember where I picked up, but it goes something like, “it is not about what happens to you in life, it’s about how you handle it” So by relapsing and then picking yourself up and saying, “Hey, this isn’t working for me any better this time than it did the last time I tried it!” and then doing something positive about it… like going through rehab again or going back to the meetings that saved your life the first time around. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where people put more emphasis on what you do when bad things happen than the fact that something bad happened in the first place. Where would Tiger Woods be if people said, “ok, you messed up, now how are you going to change your behavior, what are you going to do differently, how are you going to fix this?” But NO, everyone wants to know all the gory details, how many were there, where did they meet, how long has this been going on? We seem to all have some ACOA in us as I see it.

Does anyone REALLY have anonymity in this day and age? What with the internet, facebook, myspace, and the biggest offender of them all in regards to personal privacy/anonymity, TWITTER? Just because a website or a forum has a password system on it, doesn’t mean that no one can get into it without a password. Or that they can’t just PRETEND, and say all the right things and get into the forum and get their own password. How many databases is my information in, my surfing preferences on the internet, what I am chatting about? These can all be accessed if someone wants to badly enough. It is just that most of the time, with most individuals no one cares that much what the heck I am chattering about… lol

Isn’t anonymity, in fact, in direct conflict with learning how to break the ACA family rule of “Don’t Talk”? How do I keep this big secret about what I am doing with myself now that I am in recovery and not doing the things I used to do anymore? How do I resolve this conflict?

What about all the individuals who wear ANY kind of recovery jewelry? The camel pins, the triangle rings, etc, etc… or the bumper stickers that you can get at conventions? Aren’t all of these methods of breaking anonymity? And yet an entire industry has grown around all of it. You can even turn an AA sobriety coin into a key chain bob if you want to… Most of the people who see the pin, or key chain bob, or ring, aren’t going to know what they signify unless they are in some way connected to recovery themselves. I sure didn’t know what those items were about even after I got into recovery, until I started asking questions.

Then there is the fact that all of the steps and traditions are simply GUIDELINES, there are no governing bodies, entities, individuals within the 12 Step structures, so doesn’t it all boil down to a personal decision? As a matter of fact, the entire program is a program of suggestion… isn’t it? And who am I to become that “governing body” that says, “you bad person, you are breaking your anonymity”.

Isn’t part of the tremendous growth of ALL of the 12 Step programs simply about more people finding out that there is a way to learn how to live without addictions and dysfunctional family styles… Isn’t part of that growth BECAUSE people are speaking out about this wonderful thing that they discovered called a 12 Step Program? How many adolescents lives have been saved because their rock star idol got clean? Or their sports hero came clean and talked about how he did it, with a 12 step program…

Just Lexxie, chattering away again!

Chatter back! Let me know what YOU think about this one.


In the Big Red Book for Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families you will find this list of 25 questions.  They can help you determine if alcoholism or other family dysfunction existed in your family.  If your parents did not drink, your grandparents may have drank and passed on the disease of family dysfunction to your parents.  These questions can offer you insight into some of the ways children are affected by growing up with a problem drinker even years after leaving the home.  These questions also apply to adults growing up in homes where food, sex, workaholism, or ultra-religious abuse occurred.  Many foster children, now adults, also relate to these questions.

1.  Do you recall anyone drinking or taking drugs or being involved in some other behavior that you now believe could be dysfunctional?

2.  Did you avoid bringing friends to your home because of drinking or some other dysfunctional behavior in the home?

3.  Did one of your parents make excuses for their other parent’s drinking or other behaviors?

4.  Did your parents focus on each other so much that they seemed to ignore you?

5.  Did your parents or relatives argue constantly?

6.  Were you drawn into arguments or disagreements and asked to choose sides with one parent or relative against another?

7.  Did you try to protect your brothers or sisters against drinking or other behavior in the family?

8.  As an adult, do you feel immature?  Do you feel like you are a child inside?

9.  As an adult, do you believe you are treated like a child when you interact with your parents?   Are you continuing to live out a childhood role with your parents?

10.  Do you believe that it is your responsibility to take care of your parents’ feelings or worries?  Do other relatives look to you to solve their problems?

11.  Do you fear authority figures and angry people?

12.  Do you constantly seek approval or praise but have difficulty accepting a compliment when one comes your way?

13.  Do you see most forms of criticism as a personal attack?

14.  Do you over commit yourself and then feel angry when others do not appreciate what you do?

15.  Do you think you are responsible for the way another person feels or behaves?

16.  Do you have difficulty identifying feelings?

17.  Do you focus outside yourself for love or security?

18.  Do you involve yourself in the problems of others?  Do you feel more alive when there is a crisis?

19.  Do you equate sex with intimacy?

20.  Do you confuse love and pity?

21.  Have you found yourself in a relationship with a compulsive or dangerous person and wonder how you got there?

22.  Do you judge yourself without mercy and guess at what is normal?

23.  Do you behave one way in public and another way at home?

24.  Do you think your parents had a problem with drinking or taking drugs?

25.  Do you think you were affected by the drinking or other dysfunctional behavior of your parents or family?

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may be suffering from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional family.  Please take the time to attend our ACA meeting or find one in your area to learn more.


I have been working on adding what Tony said in his book, The Laundry List about each of his steps.  You can find this on the pages for each individual step.

The way that I am doing this is putting Tony’s step, then what he said about it and next is the comparable Alanon step and eventually I will put what Alanon says about their step.

Hopefully, by looking at each one individually and then blending the two it will be helpful in figuring out what each of the steps is about and how to work with them.  Leave me a message and let me know if you like the idea or think it is stupid….  lol… not that that will stop me…  but it could start a great discussion…  Later, Lexxie

*If anyone holding a current legitimate copyright, has issues with this or anything else from the book, “The Laundry List” being copied on this blog, please contact me directly and I would be happy to discuss this with you.  I have attempted to find the legitimate copyright holders, however with the anonymity of the 12 Step program I have been unable to locate them.


If you are involved in a situation when you don’t always feel safe, do what you can to be as safe as you can.  That often includes covering your tracks as you are gathering information.

Some Important Security Info:

WARNING

Taking all of the actions on this page may not prevent an abuser from discovering your email and internet activity. The safest way to find information on the internet is to go to a safer computer. Suggestions are: a local library, a friend’s house or your workplace. Other safety suggestions: change your password often, do not pick obvious words or numbers for your password, and pick a combination of letters and numbers for your password.


HOW AN ABUSER CAN DISCOVER YOUR INTERNET ACTIVITIES

email: if an abuser has access to your email account, he or she may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. if you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password he or she will not be able to guess.

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Additionally, the messages may constitute a federal offense. For more information on this issue, contact your local United States Attorney’s Office.

history / cache file: if an abuser knows how to read your computer’s history or cache file (automatically saved web pages and graphics), he or she may be able to see information you have viewed recently on the internet.

You can clear your history or empty your cache file in your browser’s settings.*

  • Netscape:
    Pulldown Edit menu, select Preferences. Click on Navigator on choose ‘Clear History’. Click on Advanced then select Cache. Click on “Clear Disk Cache”.

    On older versions of Netcape: Pulldown Options menu. Select Network Options, Select Cache. Click on “Clear Disk Cache”.

  • Internet Explorer:
    Pull down Tools menu, select Internet Options. On General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on “Delete Files.” If asked, check the box to delete all offline content. Still within the Temporary Internet Files section, click on Settings. (This next step may make it harder to navigate pages where you’d like your information to be remembered, but these remaining cookies do show website pages you have visited. Therefore, use your own judgment as to whether or not to take this next step). Click on “View Files.” Manually highlight all the files (cookies) shown, then hit Delete. Close that window, then on General page under History section, click on “Clear History.”
  • AOL:
    Pulldown Members menu, select Preferences. Click on WWW icon. Then select Advanced. Purge Cache.
  • Firefox: there is this nice page at their website about managing cookie use.Now to erase all trace, go to START, click on WINDOWS, click on COOKIES, this will display every site you have ever visited, ever. DELETE anything you don’t want him/her to see.

Additionally, a victim needs to make sure that the “Use Inline Autocomplete” box is NOT checked. This function will complete a partial web address while typing a location in the address bar at the top of the browser.

If you are using Internet Explorer, this box can be found on the MS Internet Explorer Page by clicking on “Tools” at the top of the screen, then “Internet Options,” and then the “Advanced” tab. About halfway down there is a “Use inline AutoComplete” box that can be checked and unchecked by clicking on it. Uncheck the box to disable the feature that automatically completes an internet address when you start typing in the internet address box.

* This information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

For help call the National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)