Learning From Life by Charlie Badenhop
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Life has taught me some tough lessons, and the scars do not heal easily.”? This article can help you learn valuable lessons from the past, instead of allowing the past to determine your future.
The quality of the life we live, is based upon the learning we derive from our experiences. I know that for myself, it is sometimes easy to feel that “Life has taught me some tough lessons, and the scars do not heal easily.” When I find myself thinking like this it means that I have fallen into the trap of believing that “It is ‘only natural’ that an ‘X’ type event or relationship, will lead to a ‘Y’ type response.” At other times it becomes apparent that if I had somehow learned something different from a particular challenging situation, the quality of my life would be much more rewarding.
In working with a client struggling with alcoholism, we spent our first session with the client telling me in detail how he had come to live such an unhealthy debilitating life. In short he said: “Both my parents were alcoholics, and both of them were physically abusive to me. I grew up never knowing what bad thing would happen next. I learned from my parents that the best way to not have to feel the pain and uncertainty of life was to escape into an altered state of alcohol induced euphoria.” When listening to a client tell such a sad story, it is easy to believe that their situation was all but preordained.
As fate would have it, a week after beginning to work with this client, I went to a business luncheon to hear an inspirational speaker discuss how we can live our life fully, and succeed in times of hardship. Indeed, the speaker was truly inspirational. When the talk was over I waited around to thank him.
After introducing myself and thanking him, I asked him how he had come to lead such an exemplary life. He looked around to make sure no one else was listening and in a low voice he said the following: “Both my parents were alcoholics, and both of them were physically abusive to me.I grew up never knowing what bad thing would happen next. I learned from my parents that the worst possible way to deal with the pain and uncertainty of life was to escape into an altered state of alcohol induced euphoria. My parents taught me a difficult but very important lesson. I learned from them that staying present in the moment is the only real chance we have for living a fulfilling life.”
What a truly great example of embodied spirit the motivational speaker offers us. The quality of our life is not dependent on the circumstances we encounter. The quality of our life is dependent on what we learn from the circumstances we encounter. Perhaps the greatest example of this wisdom is present in the life of Nelson Mandela. He is a man that suffered great pain and hardship, and somehow his suffering seasoned his soul in a way that has led him to be compassionate and caring.
In the course of exploring how to live our life more fully we can consider pondering one question over and over again, “What can I learn from the difficulties I am experiencing, that will actually ADD to the quality of my life?” At the very least we can begin to entertain the fact that: We can derive a wide range of learning from any single circumstance, event, or relationship. When we get the most stuck in life is when we believe that the one thing we did learn is the only thing that can be learned.
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About The Author
Charlie Badenhop is the originator of Seishindo, an Aikido instructor, NLP trainer, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapist. Benefit from a new self-help Practice every two weeks, by subscribing to his complimentary newsletter “Pure heart, simple mind” at http://www.seishindo.org/newsletter.html
The Effect of Alcoholism on Children By Keith Bray
This might have been the toughest question to handle emotionally for me in my whole life. It came out of the blue by phone from a then 12 year old son of a client I had been working with.
The simple answer was, “No, I can’t.”
Learning how to deal with an alcoholic is something everyone in a family does, by second nature. But the message that we cannot change an alcoholic’s drinking contains a resounding reminder of the huge impact that alcohol abuse in the family has on children.
In my line of work, working to help repair the damage done to others by an addicted person is equally as challenging as dealing with the addicted. Quite simply, families have troubled accepting the impact living with or loving an active addicted person has on them. In this case, the young fellow quoted above was obviously painfully aware of the problems in his father’s life, but was hopeful that change was possible. Change is possible, but it has to come from an alcoholic who wants to get sober.
Alcohol Addiction Effects On Children And Families
Living with active addiction has a devastating effect on every family member no matter how young or how old. Often referred to as the “elephant in the closet”, think of the great lengths families go to hide the behaviours of an addicted family member. Secrets are kept, there is shame usually accompanied by guilt and shame. One or more family member begins to play the role of “fixer” or helper and nearly all are forced into lying to help cover the realities.
Living with active addiction changes people negatively and will ruin lives if family members don’t get help for themselves. It’s a hard lesson to learn- family members can’t control the addicted person nor can they fix them and most importantly; that a family member is addicted is in no way the fault of the remainder of the family.
The effective of alcoholism and other addictions is devastating on all those close to the addict and negatively impacts on the family dynamic. Think of what was going through the mind of the 12 year old that was desperate enough to phone me and ask if I could stop his Daddy’s drinking. You, the family member, have choices independent of the addict in your life. I pray that you make wise choices!
Proactive Steps To Heal Yourself And Your Family
If you have being living in proximity to an active addict, you don’t need me to inform you of the effect it has had on you. Be honest with yourself, the answers are within and good coaching can help you articulate them and deal with your feelings. You better than anyone know the damage done if you are honest with yourself.
As a former active addict who was functional and maintained a job, but who had four children and two wives (not at the same time-sic), I have personally witnessed the effect my addiction had on spouse and children as well as others close to me. Those in my family who sought help and took action are now living free from my addictive behaviour and we enjoy a healthy relationship. For one family member in particular, even after nearly two decades of my not using, and recovery on my part, the relationship is not what I would call healthy, and living in the addicted environment has left one of my children with behaviour patterns that are not healthy for her.
Relationships After Alcoholism
Once a person is sober (maybe with the help of 12 step groups, detox, or treatment for addiction at home), they start thinking about how they affect others. Many of my clients ask how long it takes to regain “trust” and build real intimacy into relationships. For the alcoholic new to recovery, I have some suggestions. I don’t think there is any hard and fast rule; it is totally dependent on your recovery coupled with affirmative action taken by the injured party.
In my own case, my behaviour was one more sequence of bad events that my wife has undergone in her life. It is funny how many “partners” of addicted people have grown up with addiction in their homes as a child and sworn they’d never go through what their family did. My wife loved me, took independent recovery action to deal with her issues and over a period of about four years trust came back into the relationship and as we grew, I am thrilled to say, a level of real intimacy that neither of us thought possible.
Fixing The Past
Over the last nearly two decades, I have been working towards what is called in 12 step groups “repairing the wreckage of the past”. My job in repairing is to live like a good human being, to be open and honest and to support those close to me in their own personal journeys of discovery. I can’t repair the damage I did, but can help those I love to recognize it and take a course of action on their own. I work hard at not repeating my mistakes and most of the wreckage has been dealt with.
Questions about alcoholism effects
After reading this, do you still have questions about the effects of alcoholism on children and families? Feedback? We invite you to leave us a message here and let us know. We are happy to try to respond to all legitimate concerns with a personal and prompt reply. We would love to hear from you…you are not alone!
About Keith Bray
I am a Master Life Coach who is ICF certified and a certified addictions coach. I consider myself recovered from the effects of addiction (16 years) but still in recovery mode as it relates to personal growth. Professionally, I am university educated, a former corporate CEO and have been in the “consulting” business for 21 years. I’m a husband, father, grandfather, friend, uncle son, a “trusted confidant” and many other things but bottom line, I’m Keith. I hope that I can help SOME out there with ideas that will make you think deeply.
Admitting drinking to an AA sponsor by Addiction Blog
Whether you have experienced a relapse or a new to Alcoholics Anonymous, you probably have some fear, doubt and shame associated with the past. We review a few simple questions about the role of a sponsor and present you with some ideas to help you move forward in recovery from alcoholism.
I’m Afraid Of Telling The Truth About My Drinking. What Should I Do?
Fear of rejection can motivate us to hide the truth of our past behaviors and actions. In order to move forward, you need to let go of fear. This is a very personal process and is different for everyone. But the basic need is that you take a leap of faith, talk openly about your drinking and hope for the best.
How Can I Deal With The Shame Of Past Drinking?
Just like fear, you need to cope with shame when facing a drinking problem. Although shame is a helpful motivator for recovery, at times shame can be unhealthy and get in the way of progress. Therefore, it helps to understand time in a continuum of past-present-future actions. You can only control the present. And if you are committed to not drinking RIGHT NOW, that is the best that you can do. Also, with every day sober, you are moving away from the person that you WERE and start to look more like the person you WILL BECOME. Therefore, let go of shame and trust that your present action is good enough to move you forward in sobriety.
How Can I Be Sure An A.A. Sponsor Won’t Criticize Or Judge Me?
Many sponsors can relate to your drinking history with their own personal history. So, before you even start to talk about yourself, you might want to ask your sponsor to share their experience as a problem drinker BEFORE you start talking. This way, you can be reassured that you are not alone and reveal all of your drinking details to an A.A. sponsor in full security.
How Much About My Drinking Problem Should I Reveal To An A.A. Sponsor?
Tolerance is one principle that true A.A. sponsors practice. If you’ve got the right sponsor, you can reveal the truth about your drinking problems without worry. A true A.A. sponsor will have completed the 12 steps of A.A., will have a sponsor themselves, and will continue to practice the 12 steps in their lives.
Other Questions About Drinking Problems?
Ask them here. We are here to share with your our suggestions and empathy.
Jewish religion and the 12 step program of AA by Rabbi Shais Taub
It is a matter of historical record that both of the two original AA cofounders had at one time belonged to an evangelical Christian movement known as the Oxford Group and were strongly influenced by many of its basic ideas.On the other hand, it is also a fact that AA as a whole separated itself from this group before the publication of the Big Book. Another point worthy of consideration is that while the Big Book certainly uses what many would consider typically “religious” language, it never once endorses a particular faith.
In fact, it seems that the Book actually goes to great lengths—abnormally so, considering the time and place it was written, that is, America in the 1930s—to eschew favoring any particular religion or even making assumptions about the religious affiliation of its members. For example, note this passage from the Big Book that speaks about setting aside time for daily prayer and meditation:
If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one’s priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer. (p. 87)
Are The 12 Steps And Jewish Religion Mutually Exclusive?
The reference to consulting with “one’s . . . rabbi” most certainly catches the eye, but that is not even what makes the above-quoted passage so telling. Yes, it is rather remarkable considering that these words were written when the program was not even four years old and hardly any Jews had joined the ranks of the fledgling organization. However, a far more compelling argument against sectarian classification of the Big Book is to be found in what the above-quoted lines do not say.
While this passage clearly conveys a favorable attitude toward (1) religious affiliation—“if we belong to a religious denomination”; (2) communal prayer—“we attend that also”; and (3) religious study—“there are many helpful books,” it is, at the same time, abundantly clear that the institution of religion is seen as something separate from (even if complementary to) the program. It is evident that the program’s authors envisioned the distinct possibility that members of their spiritual group might very well be people who would pray daily and yet not affiliate with any religious order.
From this reading (and many passages like it) in the Big Book, it becomes obvious that the distinction between “religion” and “spirituality” that is routinely emphasized by members of Twelve-Step groups today is not a mere construct retrofitted to the program lately (as some suspect it to be) but an underlying principle firmly rooted in the movement’s original text.
By the way, do you know what that distinction is? Religion, say the Twelve-Steppers, is for people who don’t want to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who’ve been there.
About Rabbi Shais Taub
Rabbi Shais Taub is one of today’s most respected young scholars of Jewish spirituality and practice. National Public Radio called him “an expert in Jewish mysticism and the Twelve Steps.” He is the author of God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction.
Sober Relationships in Early Sobriety By Keith Bray
Q: How long should I wait to start a relationship after getting clean and sober?
A: Once you have a healthy relationship with yourself and with G-d, you are ready for other relationships.
Sober Relationships: One Size Does Not Fit All
Those who have had advice from old timers in 12 step groups who have been working 12 steps of recovery are often told that they should not get in to “new” intimate relationships until they have been clean/sober for at least a year. Think about it, there is some logic behind this; but I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer. (more…)
A.A. Relationships by By Andrew Seaward
In A.A., they say to wait at least a year before entering into a relationship, the idea being before you can love somebody else you must first learn how to love yourself.But what if loving yourself just isn’t possible? What if in order to love yourself you must first know that you can be loved? (more…)
What Exactly IS God’s Will? by Sylvie Hache
The Spiritual Awakening by Ken Davila
The other day I was doing the “step twelve” lecture in my drug treatment facility and was pondering the “Having had a spiritual awakening” part of step twelve.
What is that spiritual awakening that it is talking about?How do you get it?
What happens when you do?
What does it look like? (more…)
From the blog
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Life has taught me some tough lessons, and the scars do not heal easily.”? This article can help you learn valuable lessons from the past, instead of allowing the past to determine your future. The quality of the life we live, is based upon the learning we derive […]More »
“Can You Make My Daddy Stop Drinking?” This might have been the toughest question to handle emotionally for me in my whole life. It came out of the blue by phone from a then 12 year old son of a client I had been working with. The simple answer was, “No, I can’t.” Learning how to […]More »
Whether you have experienced a relapse or a new to Alcoholics Anonymous, you probably have some fear, doubt and shame associated with the past. We review a few simple questions about the role of a sponsor and present you with some ideas to help you move forward in recovery from alcoholism. I’m Afraid Of […]More »
It is a matter of historical record that both of the two original AA cofounders had at one time belonged to an evangelical Christian movement known as the Oxford Group and were strongly influenced by many of its basic ideas.On the […]More »
Q: How long should I wait to start a relationship after getting clean and sober? A: Once you have a healthy relationship with yourself and with G-d, you are ready for other relationships. Sober Relationships: One Size Does Not Fit All Those […]More »
In A.A., they say to wait at least a year before entering into a relationship, the idea being before you can love somebody else you must first learn how to love yourself.But what if loving yourself just isn’t possible? What if in order to love yourself you must first know that […]More »
Have you ever wondered what God’s Will is for your life? Many people believe discovering God’s Will means learning what God expects from us, and it does; but they often fail to recognize it also means what God […]More »
The other day I was doing the “step twelve” lecture in my drug treatment facility and was pondering the “Having had a spiritual awakening” part of step twelve. What is that spiritual awakening that it is talking about?How do you get it? What happens when you do? What does it […]More »