It’s rare that I don’t have a conversation with a family member and not think, “We are so dysfunctional” when I hang up the phone or get in the car. It isn’t that I don’t love my family; it’s that we have a multigenerational heritage of alcoholism and drug addiction.
That doesn’t negate a family tradition that is rich in creativity, intelligence, faith, love, ambition, and generosity. It doesn’t denigrate success measured on many scales. Not all of us are alcoholics or addicts. An estimated 10% of the population in the country have the disease of alcoholism. But sick attracts sick just like a tick to a dog and statistically, 67% of Americans polled say that alcoholism has touched their lives. We alkies tend to attract a large support system.
I heard an Al-anon saying ten years ago:I didn’t cause it. I can’t control it. I can’t cure it.
My first reaction? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life! What do you mean I can’t control it? I sure as hell can’t cure it, but control it? Of course, I can!
I know today it is crazy thinking that leads me to guilt over another person’s alcoholism. I can’t cause it any more than I can cause someone to have a wonky thyroid. Having tried various measures to control alcoholism in myself, I am not sure why I think I can control it in someone else. As for curing it? Nope. Have my own in remission in a 12 step program. That’s the only cure I know and it only works for me by me.
I’ve heard a friend repeat that “if you haven’t been taught better, you can’t do better.” I joined an Alanon group. Online. It’s a good one and has given me insight into my Ms. Fix-It disease. Topics over the past few months have been:
- Mind your own business
- Recognizing when you are unreasonable
- Let go of the past/Live in the present
- Focus on yourself, not others
- How important is it?
Now that I recognize when I’m crashing Dysfunction Junction, I see how rife our world is with that thinking. Look at the debt crisis. Statistically, we USAmericans give Congress a 5% approval rating, but give our own Congress persons a 68% approval. How crazy is that?
Not crazy at all if dysfunctional is the new functional.