I grew up in a family with a lot of alcohol. A lot. My mother was and is an alcoholic, though to single her out as the only alcoholic is in fact the very first step in society’s clever and insidious avoidance of the whole picture.
An addict is defined as someone who is “…dependent on a substance and has formed a physical and/or psychological habit around that substance…”
Which also exactly describes my father’s relationship with alcohol and all of his friends. Because they all ‘needed’ to drink pretty much every single day. And all did. They were all “…dependent on a substance and had formed a physical and/or psychological habit around that substance….”
But they would never consider themselves alcoholic and nor would the zillions of people who all religiously go the pub every evening and/or have a glass of scotch before going to bed. I don’t want to get into a big discussion about what is and isn’t an alcoholic – that is a debate that has enabled millions to live in denial for years.
Its acceptance as normal is what is important in what I am saying.
My mother was not a raging, angry, dysfunctional alcoholic. Quite the opposite. She (almost all of the time) held it together expertly, running our extremely busy and full lives with amazing dexterity and skill. She kept the ship afloat and kept it on some kind of course.
So nobody was doing or saying anything about it. Society accepts alcohol. So, for my parents and their friends, their consumption and my mother’s consumption was normal.
If you are used to listening to music with the volume at 9, you would never notice if someone else is listening to it at 11. That is how it is. That is what society’s acceptance allows.
But I can now see how deeply damaging this all was. In two ways.
Firstly, the alcoholism itself. Secondly the way she, my father, and my life were held together. The first of these two feels like it has been well documented by many, so I’m less focussed on that.
“Holding it together” is what is relevant.
It may seem weird, but in a way, that is the absolute worst thing for a child growing up, because it makes it all seem normal – as if this is how it is meant to be. And this is exactly what society’s acceptance of alcohol supports.
In amongst that ocean of booze was me – a child – growing up…. looking around, learning, seeing, feeling, watching, evolving.
No matter that I may have instinctively known that this was wrong and felt that it wasn’t true…. in my case, that didn’t last long. It can’t. If it is everywhere, you just assume that it is life. It was my world, my normal. So I believed it, I took it on as my truth. That’s what kids do – their world ends up as only what they see. That is the extent of their boundaries, of their experience, of their influences.
So, for me, it was normal to have cold, functional, disconnected relationships.
- Normal to look at someone you love and to feel distant and utterly alone.
- Normal not to trust someone enough to cry with them.
- Normal for a hug to feel empty.
- Normal for a goodnight kiss to feel perfunctory.
- Normal to feel lost.
- Normal to think that this somber cloak of denial and subterfuge enveloped every family.
- Normal to have no actual experience or example of true love as a marker in my life…. the list is long.
Now it would be erroneous to land all of the above at the door of alcohol. Indeed alcohol is never the root of the problem. And in my family there were certainly many, many deeper issues at play.
But even as only a percentage of the full picture, it is still powerfully affecting, and what is so damaging about alcohol is that because everyone considers it normal, then the child grows up believing that it is normal. And in my case it was all SO normal. I can’t over-stress the effect of this. As I have said, Mum was coping with our lives, the ship was afloat (sort of!), the days were working, my parents’ friends were all around us, all seeming to be having a grand time (and, in their minds, they were),all doing exactly the same and all further embedding the ‘normal’ of it. There was nothing to cause any alarm bells to ring. Nothing to make me think that this wasn’t exactly how it should be. Nothing to make me question it. Nothing that didn’t cement it all deeper and deeper into my consciousness.
I had absolutely no notion that there could be another way.
But inside I was craving for true love, craving for true intimacy, craving to be met, to be heard, to be understood, to be respected and valued, craving for this fog to lift and to be able to connect with another human being as an equal.
Again, I reiterate that nothing extreme was going on. I wasn’t being physically abused or anything dramatic like that. On the surface I had it all. Parents, lovely home, friends, toys, holidays etc…..
But the more normal and happy it looks on the outside, the more confused and messed up the kid is on the inside. Because I knew, but nothing was telling me I was right.
And thus I gave up. I started coping. Putting on mask after mask, layers and layers of protection. I became an expert at life. At doing. At surviving. At coping.
I lost trust in myself. I had to. Because everything that I was seeing was contradicting my feelings, thus my feelings must be wrong. Thus I stopped feeling.
It’s obvious. It’s science. It’s evolution.
It is only in the past few years that I am really beginning to see the depth to which this has been embedded in me and the expansive damage that it has done to my trust in myself and in humanity. To my ability to accept love, intimacy and the truth.
I do know love and intimacy. And I do know the truth. I always have.
However, it wasn’t until I came across Universal Medicine and its teachings…. it wasn’t until I came across human beings like Serge Benhayon and his children Simone Benhayon, Natalie Benhayon, Michael Benhayon and Curtis Benhayon…. it wasn’t until I came across the numerous other people that I have met through Universal Medicine…. that I began to see that I was in fact, and always have been, right. That my life wasn’t normal. That there is another way.
I have made enormous and amazing and fantastically courageous steps away from my old normal and am now discovering the deep wells of love and tenderness and intimacy that reside in me, that are me, and that reside in all of humanity. It is glorious and wondrous and joyous…. and, at times, hard – as I discover another layer of protection or hurt.
But I now clearly see that any of those hurts are just a product of my life that I have described above so it is so much simpler to discard, so much simpler to say NO to and so much simpler to see as NOT NORMAL. Because I now know that it IS NOT NORMAL.
All over this world there are zillions of kids who are living amongst alcohol consumption, KNOWING that the life it is making them live, is wrong. KNOWING that it isn’t right. But, because life isn’t confirming that knowing, in fact because life is actively telling them they are wrong, they abandon themselves and enjoin.
I know because that is EXACTLY what I did.
That is the true evil of alcohol. It’s acceptance by society is what allows it. And this is what imprisons so many.
I now know that it is not normal. And that the little child who knew that something was wrong, was in fact, right, all along.
|A postscript:It was totally normal for my mother and father to live like this, to bring up their children like this. They had no idea there was another way – they had been brought up in exactly the same way. All their friends were the same. It was everywhere. It was their world. Like me, they had no way of knowing any different, so I have zero blame for them. I have total understanding of their choices. And I have a deep and true love for them.As it is all of society’s normal, it was also their normal.|
Inspired from a comment in response to: The Abuse of Alcohol – The True Harm