In continuing my overview of my recovery, the reason that ACOA changed the direction of my recovery is that I had learned as the oldest child in the alcoholic home to be the parent for my parents. This over-developed sense of responsibility contributed to my feelings of guilt about my own recovery. At ACOA, I learned that my feelings weren’t right or wrong or good or bad, but were simply feelings.
It goes without saying that I chose men who needed to be mothered. The sad part is that they tried to be the father I had never had as my Dad was the irresponsible one in our family. Even after years of recovery, my parents stayed united in the belief that if I had just kept quiet, I wouldn’t have had the beatings I did. I never could understand why my opinion was such a threat to them.
In the roles that children adopt in the core family, I was the “family hero” in my doing role and the “scapegoat” in my being role. These roles are part of my Changemaker Test and I have a page explanation for each of the Changemaker labels. As the family hero, I worked every evening after school in a drugstore, was on the Honor Society, Junior Prom Queen and editor of the yearbook. But at home, I was referred to as Queenie. When I was friends with my Dad, then I was on the outs with Mom and vice versa. I can remember few times we were all content with each other.
The recovery I learned in ACOA was to learn to parent myself. When I started releasing feelings of love and acceptance toward myself, I was finally at ease with myself.
The part of my recovery that I am at now is that the child in the troubled household learns not to compete with either parent. Therefore my adulthood has been a struggle with the main problem in our household—money or a lack of it.
Rather than compete for more money, I have learned to do without. I am frugal by nature but am slowly allowing myself to enjoy the comforts money can buy. I was 65 on last Wednesday and am reminded of Colonel Sanders. He received his first Social Security check and declared that he couldn’t live on that. So he went taking his famous sauce from place to place all of which later became Kentucky Fried Chicken.