Monday, August 7, 2017

Friends of a Child of an Alcoholic

Post by Steve Simpson, author of action novels and The Teenage & Young Adult Survival Handbook.

Loneliness and Fear are my two best friends. They are my best friends because I know them so well and for so long. I’m lonely because there is nobody like me in the whole world. No one has my problems. People probably wouldn’t talk to me at all if they knew. They’d know there was something wrong. I’m lonely because even though I’m at parties with lots of people I’m still alone. Fear is my buddy because I’m always afraid. I’m afraid of my father. I’m afraid that one day he’s going to hit me so hard that I’ll never recuperate. I’m also afraid he’s going to kill my mother or siblings. I’m afraid we’re going to have to move again because we can’t pay the bills. Or worse, I’m afraid they are going to get divorced. Then what? Who will I live with? Will I even get a choice? I’m afraid that one day the whole school will find out.
Hate is a pretty good friend of mine too. I really hate school. It’s becoming more and more of an effort to get up in the morning every day. I always have to work so hard to keep my guard up at school. Some people hate the way I act in school but it’s definitely better than if I was just myself. I hate the teachers. They scare me. I hate super popular kids. If they only knew everything, they would tear me apart. Worst of all, I hate myself. I’m such a loser. Even when I do something good, it’s only luck. I’m stupid, ugly, I don’t even know why people bother with me. They must want something.
You see, trust is not a friend of mine. I don’t even know him. Why should I trust people? All they ever do is make promises and break them. If you never trust anybody you can never get hurt.
Worry and I are real close friends. I’m always worrying about something. What if this happens? What if that happens? Did I look dumb? Did I say that right? Do they really mean that? What am I going to do about the future? Can I ever really live down the past?
Oh and here comes another good friend of mine, Daydreaming. I’m always so busy worrying about tomorrow and regretting yesterday. I’m never here today. I also like to day dream about how I would want things to be.
Embarrassment has been a friend of mine since childhood. I’m embarrassed when my mother and father scream so loud that the neighbors can hear them. I’m embarrassed to ever let my friends meet my parents. I’m embarrassed to invite people over to see the house. I’m embarrassed to be seen looking like I do (I hate my clothes).

My friend rejection and I seem to be getting closer as I get older. My parents call me names that hurt so much it’s worse than getting hit. I heard there’s something called constructive criticism but I’ve never experienced it. My own family barely remembers my birthday. I’ll avoid things totally (even things I want to do) just to avoid rejection. Dances and parties are terrifying. There’s too much of a chance for rejection there.
Escape is a friend I’m trying to get to know. Running away, drugs, drinking, unhealthy relationships, fantasy and suicide. All things I contemplate. Don’t seem to have many positive options. I’ll do anything not to be like my parents, yet somehow I seem more and more like them every day. I’m always tired, though, at the same time I’m so hyper I don’t even know the word relax.
Did I introduce you to my friend guilt? I’m always guilty. Everything is my fault. My parents’ problems are my fault, (I hear them say my name when they fight). If things aren’t going right or people aren’t having a good time it’s got to be me. If somebody is hurting me or doing something wrong to me it’s probably my fault anyway. I’m never right.
I have great talent I do recognize though. I’m an expert at people pleasing. I’ll do or say anything to make people pleased. I’ll do or say anything to get people to like and accept me, no matter what the cost... even if it hurts me. That’s okay as long as no one gets angry with me. Of course I don’t call it people pleasing. I just say I’m an understanding, nice person.
Yes, loneliness, feat, hate, worry, daydreaming, embarrassment, rejection, escape, guilt, people pleasing, negativism, low self-esteem, and hopelessness are all my friends. They say that your friends make up who you are. I guess that’s true. Since my friends make up who I am, then I am a “Child of an Alcoholic”.
If you or someone you know can relate to this you are one of millions. Many alcoholics are children of alcoholics. Preventive medicine is the best. There are truly positive alternatives. You can get rid of your “bad friends” and make new friends. Friends like “hope” and “happiness”. Speak to a school counselor, social worker, psychologist or even a teacher you feel comfortable with. Check out local community centers and churches as they also have people you can speak to, as well as support groups and 12 step programs. Lots of times a pastor of a local church knows exactly where to recommend for you to go.
Being happy or not! The choice is honestly yours. 

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