Mar 142007
 

Hello, my name is Susanne, and I am a sugar addict.

Well, only a couple of weeks ago I would have said there is no such thing but then I had to admit it.

Those conversations with my husband during the last few weeks were not all about gazing into each other’s eyes, holding hands, and declaring our deep and unconditional love; we also had to face some things about ourselves that we didn’t want to face before. We were certain our relationship was sound and extraordinarily happy, yet I felt compelled to buy books like “Getting the Love You Want”. A couple of days ago my husband threw the word codependency in and addiction and something in me clicked.

When I wrote about my depression (and I’m still reluctant to call it that because it is so mild) Esereth said there had to be a deep cause for that. It hit home with me but I didn’t see a cause. I have been thinking about it, trying to unearth something but all I got was “Depression is anger turned inward” on which I started writing a blog post until I remembered that Flylady had already written about that. I know that I am a very aggressive person. Mostly it stays put, I’m mild and polite and smiling and turn on myself with the things I do compulsively. Like eating and reading and computer games (which I had to give up) and watching TV and reading blogs. So most things I do compulsively are things one can do in moderation for fun. And cutting out all of them is not the point because then I’d find something else instead.

What I never thought about was what I am so angry about. Why am I aggressive? And then my husband said “codependency” and I remembered that I already knew that my father is an alcoholic. I just didn’t think about it anymore.

I thought a lot if I should write this or not. I try to only write things I’d tell people in person too but I wouldn’t like my parents to read this. I thought that maybe I should talk to my father first before telling it to all the world but I didn’t. I think I will have to confront him with it eventually but I don’t think this will change anything for him.

And before you all start feeling sorry for my poor mother who is married to an alcoholic in denial let me tell you that she has issues with addiction too. Just try to come between her and her nicotine. So I have to face it I inherited an addictive personality and the psychic wounds that go with growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Not visibly dysfunctional though. I don’t have a father who drinks himself into a stupor and passes out. He never lost a job because of it. When recently somebody said, “Well, every family has a secret.” I thought, not mine. Obviously I’m very versed in denial.

Now I remember how much my parents fought over putting like little fences and rules around the alcoholism. How my father wasn’t allowed to drink before he ate something. How he wasn’t allowed to have the cognac bottle on the living room table but had to put it back every time. How when my father was still working and I was still living at home the top priority of every family member was to feed him dinner as soon as he came home. So he wouldn’t drink his dinner. He never ate at work. He’d leave the house in the morning without breakfast, spend the whole day drinking coke, and come back home where he’d often end the day on beer and cognac before falling asleep in front of TV.

My father is mild, polite, intelligent, a little distant but very caring and emotional underneath. Once in a while he explodes. All his frustration and anger, all those repressed feelings come out in a burst and then that’s it. Only this week did I find out how frightened I am by the least bit of aggressive behavior. I accused my husband of talking to me in a way that I felt as if he hit me, and all he did was tell me things I didn’t want to hear in a very calm and reasonable way. Only then did I think of the two incidents where my father completely lost his temper with me and hit me and then sent me up into my room where I cowered in a corner, wept and thought the world was about to end. Only this time did I realize that I must have been only two years old, three at the most, and that the most hurtful thing about that probably was that nobody came after me to console me afterwards. Now I know why I often have the feeling to expose myself and make me vulnerable when my husband has the feeling that I’m distant and withdrawn.

Now I know why I never drank a drop of alcohol when I still lived at home and never started smoking at all. I’m really, really angry at my family for pretending that all is well.

Alcohol is not the problem for me. I have a couple of addictive behaviors that I might have to give up or not. That’s not that important right now, but my relationship with sugar is worrying and so I decided to give it up.

And since this already is too long, I’ll write another post about that.

  17 Responses to “Addiction”

  1. Susanne, sometimes I marvel at how different from each other we seem to be, and other times at how similar. Today, I feel as though we’re the same person on two separate continents.

    My father is also a functioning alcoholic. We grew up with more rules than I can enumerate to work around that, although it was not hushed up or secret. There was a lot of fighting about drinking, even though my mother will claim she didn’t want to fight with my dad because HER parents fought a lot. In contrast, my husband’s family is the type to ignore the elephant in the room. I decided I liked the yelling better.

    There are many times that I’ll say to Tony that he’s yelling at me, when we’re just speaking to each other but I don’t like what he’s saying. I actually feel it as angry and loud.

    I’m anxious to read your post about sugar. I don’t know if I could give it up – I’d probably HAVE to drink then.

  2. Susanne, sometimes I marvel at how different from each other we seem to be, and other times at how similar. Today, I feel as though we’re the same person on two separate continents.

    My father is also a functioning alcoholic. We grew up with more rules than I can enumerate to work around that, although it was not hushed up or secret. There was a lot of fighting about drinking, even though my mother will claim she didn’t want to fight with my dad because HER parents fought a lot. In contrast, my husband’s family is the type to ignore the elephant in the room. I decided I liked the yelling better.

    There are many times that I’ll say to Tony that he’s yelling at me, when we’re just speaking to each other but I don’t like what he’s saying. I actually feel it as angry and loud.

    I’m anxious to read your post about sugar. I don’t know if I could give it up – I’d probably HAVE to drink then.

  3. What a brave post. Not that what you had to tell was unusual, unfortunatly, but because you are doing the hard work to figure it out.

    I want to go back and hold that little girl on my lap and comfort her.

    As far as yelling, we don’t yell too much around here. But we can sure communicate a lot of anger with a look and a tone.

  4. What a brave post. Not that what you had to tell was unusual, unfortunatly, but because you are doing the hard work to figure it out.

    I want to go back and hold that little girl on my lap and comfort her.

    As far as yelling, we don’t yell too much around here. But we can sure communicate a lot of anger with a look and a tone.

  5. I came up with the word “codependency” because it’s the same with me. We have both given up our addictions for now, and hopefully forever, but we’ve only just begun to call ourselves “addicted personalities” which is an important issue in admitting what really is. Also rejecting any substitute at times it is so hard for our psyches when we are faced with troubles in our daily lifes or simply with what we are and what we were – the plain truth.
    Old patterns of behavior keep on showing up and dominating us.

    I’m about to let go of some old friends and really panicking to end up as a hermit like so many married men of my age (47) do – before I come to realize I’ve got a wonderful wife and I’m only cleaning up my life to create a space for making new friends (still doubt about that).

    I’m vulnerable and sleepless and I’m desperately waiting for some stability to come. When life feels so bad we tend to even forget to be proud of the achievments already accomplished. But I’m remaining hopeful, I promise…

  6. I came up with the word “codependency” because it’s the same with me. We have both given up our addictions for now, and hopefully forever, but we’ve only just begun to call ourselves “addicted personalities” which is an important issue in admitting what really is. Also rejecting any substitute at times it is so hard for our psyches when we are faced with troubles in our daily lifes or simply with what we are and what we were – the plain truth.
    Old patterns of behavior keep on showing up and dominating us.

    I’m about to let go of some old friends and really panicking to end up as a hermit like so many married men of my age (47) do – before I come to realize I’ve got a wonderful wife and I’m only cleaning up my life to create a space for making new friends (still doubt about that).

    I’m vulnerable and sleepless and I’m desperately waiting for some stability to come. When life feels so bad we tend to even forget to be proud of the achievments already accomplished. But I’m remaining hopeful, I promise…

  7. honest and astute. and introspective.

    damn, sister. i can’t wait to see what comes next.

  8. honest and astute. and introspective.

    damn, sister. i can’t wait to see what comes next.

  9. Somehow I’m thinking that most of us have some sort of addiction going on. Mine used to be booze. Now it’s food. And it’s all around the same issues. It’s an effort to feel some control around the uncontrollable.

    Most of the time, I let it go. Coming from the family I did, I’m lucky to be even marginally functional most of the time. 🙂

    “Codependent” is a concept with which I take issue, mostly because I don’t see dependency as a bad thing. There is no reason we can’t be dependent on each other. After all, we’re not all islands unto ourselves, as much as the prevailing cultural ethic might say so.

    Peace,

    ~Chani

  10. Somehow I’m thinking that most of us have some sort of addiction going on. Mine used to be booze. Now it’s food. And it’s all around the same issues. It’s an effort to feel some control around the uncontrollable.

    Most of the time, I let it go. Coming from the family I did, I’m lucky to be even marginally functional most of the time. 🙂

    “Codependent” is a concept with which I take issue, mostly because I don’t see dependency as a bad thing. There is no reason we can’t be dependent on each other. After all, we’re not all islands unto ourselves, as much as the prevailing cultural ethic might say so.

    Peace,

    ~Chani

  11. Thank you all for your kind comments.

    De, I thought I could never give up both but now I do. I like the image with the elephant, and yes, I would have liked the yelling better too.

    Thank you meno, and I’d like to hold her too. I just hope my son never will feel that way. Which is one of the reasons why I try to figure it all out.

    Husband, well we’re alerady talking about this in real life. It is nice that you tell something about your perspective too.

    Jen, I have the feeling next there should be some lightening up. We laternate that with going deep…

    Chani, you’re perfectly right it is about trying to control the uncontrollable.
    I don’t think that being dependent as such is bad. Being human we can’t avoid it and it is healthy and necessary. I take issue with this cultural ideal of being independent, self-reliable, and always strong.
    Maybe codependency is not a good term for it but it means being dependent on a person with a disease like alcoholism in a way that one thinks such a life is normal. And then repeating unconscious behavior patterns that harm you. And that’s not a good thing.

  12. Thank you all for your kind comments.

    De, I thought I could never give up both but now I do. I like the image with the elephant, and yes, I would have liked the yelling better too.

    Thank you meno, and I’d like to hold her too. I just hope my son never will feel that way. Which is one of the reasons why I try to figure it all out.

    Husband, well we’re alerady talking about this in real life. It is nice that you tell something about your perspective too.

    Jen, I have the feeling next there should be some lightening up. We laternate that with going deep…

    Chani, you’re perfectly right it is about trying to control the uncontrollable.
    I don’t think that being dependent as such is bad. Being human we can’t avoid it and it is healthy and necessary. I take issue with this cultural ideal of being independent, self-reliable, and always strong.
    Maybe codependency is not a good term for it but it means being dependent on a person with a disease like alcoholism in a way that one thinks such a life is normal. And then repeating unconscious behavior patterns that harm you. And that’s not a good thing.

  13. Oops, alternate, not laternate.

    (This gives me the image of somebody going around with a very small lantern trying to illuminate the dark…)

  14. Oops, alternate, not laternate.

    (This gives me the image of somebody going around with a very small lantern trying to illuminate the dark…)

  15. I wanted to re-read what you wrote about co-dependency because I think that’s part of what’s going on around here with Tony and me. I’m going to write about it…if I find any time! Glad to see more about it in the comments.

    I love the new color! (I find black hard to read)

  16. I wanted to re-read what you wrote about co-dependency because I think that’s part of what’s going on around here with Tony and me. I’m going to write about it…if I find any time! Glad to see more about it in the comments.

    I love the new color! (I find black hard to read)

  17. Until I deal with my primary addiction to others, I will relapse with my alcoholism. I relapsed after eight years of sobriety, because I was unaware that I was codependent until just recently. Now I have five months of sobriety and am attending Coda meetings in Nebraska.

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