I am so glad to be able to share this information with everyone.  There is actually an ACA Retreat!  This is the 28th year for the ACA Mingus Mountain Retreat just outside of Prescott, Arizona.  Who Knew!!   We ACA’s are not always the best at tooting our own horns…  lol

The Mingus Mountain Retreat is located just outside of Prescott, Arizona.  The retreat will be held September 6-8th, 2013.

Please go check out all the details for this retreat on the Arizona Intergroup Website.   Everyone have a good time!!

Just Lexxie,
Chatterin’ Again

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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!


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.


Had a Hospital Stay  — Obvious
Had to call the Police — Obvious
Had to call an Ambulance — Obvious
Guns, Knives, Blood  — Obvious
Threatened Your Life – and you believed it — Obvious
Threatened to Take Their Own Life – and you believed it –Obvious
Broken Bones — Obvious
Black eye  / Fat Lip —  Obvious
Bruises where they can be covered by clothing — A Direct Message to You
You FEEL beat up – even though you were never hit

And yet, many partners, even after experiencing several of the above situations, don’t want to believe that they are in an abusive relationship, don’t want to believe that it will happen again, and again, and again….  until they get out and stay out!

Abuse in a relationship, whether it be dating, a marriage, any family member, a job, or a friendship,  can take many forms.  Verbal, Emotional, Psychological, Sexual, and, of course, Physical.  Many times, even with broken bones and bruises, we have a tendency to minimize what is happening.  We might say to ourselves, “Well, at least he doesn’t HIT me, he would NEVER hit me.”  And that seems to be enough.   For some of us, being faithful in the relationship is our final boundary.  And again, we might find ourselves saying, “He/She doesn’t screw around on me!”  Because, that would be more than we could tolerate.  Many times, the final boundary is about money.  “My partner/mate has a job, brings their check home and is holding up their end of the financial part of the relationship.”

Are we setting the bar way too low?  Are these the bare minimum kinds of expectations?  Today, I can say, Yeah! This bar is way too low! But, there are lots of ways that abusive behavior can creep into our relationships, and depending on what we saw growing up, we don’t even have a clue that it IS abusive.   When someone confront us, asking, “Why do you let _____ get away with treating you like that?!”  We find ourselves shocked that anyone would consider it abusive.

Some kinds of abuse, usually in the beginning, are very subtle, so subtle that we don’t even recognize it as abuse.   But then what do we ACoA’s/children from dysfunctional families,  know about what is normal?  They may say hurtful things, or embarrass you just to see how you respond.  Will you tolerate the behavior, make excuses for it, or do you immediately let your partner know that you will not tolerate that treatment from them or anyone?  Here is a checklist that might help in recognizing if YOUR relationship is abusive…

CHECKLIST  (provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
Does your partner…

  • Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family? (psychological abuse)
  • Put down your accomplishments or goals? (psychological abuse)
  • Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions? (psychological abuse)
  • Use intimidation or threats to get you to do what they want?
  • Tell you that you are nothing without them?
  • Treat you roughly – grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
  • Call, text, or email you several times a day or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
  • Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
  • Blame you for how they feel or act?
  • Pressure you sexually for things you don’t want to do?
  • Make you feel like there “is no way out” of the relationship?
  • Prevent you from doing things you want – like spending time with your friends or family?
  • Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?

Do you…

  • Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
  • Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
  • Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
  • Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
  • Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
  • Stay with your partner because you are afraid of  what your partner would do if you broke-up or left?

If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without some help, the abuse will continue.

(Adapted from Reading and Teaching Teens to Stop Violence, Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Lincoln, NE).
If you need help please call 911 or The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 404-688-9436


By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte