It’s a weird silver lining that I’m not the only one in my family who struggles with compulsivity and addiction. It does seem to be more of a guy thing on my family; although if my mom is any indication there’s definitely some bi-polarness and definite co-dependence going on with the fairer chromosome too.
This weekend I learned that it must’ve been one of my brother’s turns to hit the proverbial bottom. (Note: I’m the oldest of five kids with two brothers and two sisters) Unlike me, who can get off course with internet/sexual compulsivity, his struggle is with something more classic. Alcohol.
Over the course of a month he went from a job, a townhome, a kid, a significant other to being fired, having a court date (alleged drunken fighting with the significant other’s parents) and living at my parents’ house. That’s not exactly an ideal situation. I’ve been there though; at least in part.
There seems to be something in our genes that resists the mundane. The acceptance of a “normal” life with a career path, a partner/spouse, kids, suburbs, pets, lawn mowing, home maintenance, taco Tuesdays, etc. that makes us want to crawl out of our skin. Still we seek intimate relationships that have and want that.
My ex-wife and I had a pet cat within weeks of living together full time and bought a house within a year. I was in graduate school and really needed no tie-downs like that. Still, it fulfilled a more perverse need. A need for something and someone to resent. Resentment, the mother addiction. All the drunkenness, lustfulness and highs are largely medication for resentment. Surely, they are justified when everyone else and everything else is the problem?
Recovery for me is learning that this is not the case. In fact, it is one of the biggest self-destructive lies I can tell myself. It is neither helpful or kind to anyone, let alone the addict, to engage in that line of thinking. It is then necessary to, once sober, strike at resentment head-on.
I believe the heart of resentment, and thus the heart of addiction is fear. Fear that we are inadequate. Fear that we are missing out on a more exciting life. Fear of standing up for ourselves to get what we really need. Fear of honest connection. Overcoming fear means letting go of it. Surrendering it. Accepting that there is going to be fear, but just like happiness it is just a feeling and we won’t die from being afraid and facing it. However, we can and will die from burying it in resentment and addictive behaviors.
Once we can face our fears, accept life on life’s terms, and see where our actions could have been different we can right the wrongs we have done and work on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis to live with a different perspective.
That is where I find my motivation, in surrender and acceptance and knowing that I am a quality human being worthy of love and forgiveness. I might not always be forgiven, but as they say all I can do is “take care of my side of the street”.
As for my brother. I texted him and offered to be of help. I’ll check up on him, but hopefully he’ll find that the nice part about hitting bottom is all roads usually lead upward.