The twisted mind of a depressive alcoholic…

I made a decision to not drink as a way to treat my depression and high blood pressure.  By the looks of things, with over one hundred days sober, you might think I’m doing well.  I’m not.  Every imaginable self-defeating thought bombards me and I can’t get away from my inner critic.  It’s not easy giving up a vice that I used as a way to control the negative thoughts pounding in my brain.  In fact, I really miss drinking wine — it gave me a reprieve from myself.

I’m on-again/of- again with the AA program because I have difficulty looking at my defects and making positive changes.  Tonight the AA meeting was about “making amends” to those I’ve harmed.  Truthfully, I was a boring drunk.  I stayed home and drank quietly before flopping into my bed.  Aside from hurting my husband and kids for not being fully present in mind and spirit, I don’t see a whole lot of damage.  I didn’t call people; I rarely went out when I was drinking so I pretty much kept it hidden from everyone.

The AA meeting got me thinking of what amends to make and this is what my twisted mind came up with.  I stole from my brother’s coin collection when I was younger.  I also totaled the car he was supposed to get from my mother for his college graduation.  This brother did worse crimes to me, sexually molesting me when I was around age 8-11.  He still brings up how valuable his coins would have been if I hadn’t spent them at the penny candy store.  I feel anger and resentment that he has such nerve to bring up what I did to him; but, I also carry regret and shame that I’m guilty of stealing and destroying his things.  Instead of rightfully directing my anger at him, I turn it inward where it can fester and grow into depression.

Do you see my problem?  I’m supposed to make amends to become a more honest person but the amends I come up with are toward a sexual predator.  Isn’t there something wrong with this fucking picture?

This is why I can’t go deep into the AA steps.  I turn against myself; a habit learned long ago when I couldn’t depend on anyone to help me.  At AA meetings there’s a lot of time to self-analyze and berate myself; and no one is qualified to set my thinking straight. This mental work is best done with a therapist and thank god I have one.

It’s late, I’m tired, and I know this post didn’t make a clear point.  It’s a snap shot of how confusing it is to be me, a woman who suffers with depression, alcohol addiction and the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse.

♥ Daylily ♥

6 responses to “The twisted mind of a depressive alcoholic…

  1. I understand some of what you are saying here. It becomes an issue of “How big is the problem?” So, in your shoes, perhaps the way to make amends to your brother is simply to apologize. “I’m sorry I stole your coin collection. It belonged to you. I took it without asking. Please forgive me.” That’s a full and complete apology. Should he bring this up with you again, then the way to deal with him would be to say privately, “I have apologized to you. It is over and done with. You are right. I stole from you. I can’t replace what I took. It would have value today. I would like you to apologize for something, too, so that you can practice perspective-taking. You stole something from me. Something very valuable. You didn’t ask me if you could take it. You just did. And, unlike your coin collection which was an isolated act occurring only one time, you stole from me numerous times. You sexually molested me. You stole my innocence from me, destroyed my ability to trust, gave me a sense of self-loathing, and shattered my sexual identity. How do you think you will make amends for that? Can you? Can you return to me a childhood free of oppression and fear? No, you can’t. You crossed a line. You did something that you should never have done. Now, how would you feel if I announced this terrible crime to our family every time we got together? The fact that I carry any sort of guilt over what I did reveals that I have a conscience, but I won’t carry guilt any longer because it’s no longer legitimate. I’m a good person. Do you feel legitimate guilt over what you did to me? You should, and that is something that you need to think about before you ever mention my stealing your coin collection again. I stole a replaceable object. You stole a future.”

    That is what I would say to him. And then, were I you, I would look at myself in the mirror and say, “You are no longer beholden to your brother for what you stole as a child. You apologized. You were a little girl. Release yourself into the freedom of God’s forgiveness.” That is an act of the will. The will is cold-blooded. The feelings will come later. You are sober. You are here. You have so much to be proud of. Don’t let those cognitive distortions keep you from what is yours–a present and future full of hope, peace, and joy. xo, J

    • I smiled as I read your comment. I LOVE the idea of giving the blame right back to him! But, I’m too chicken shit because he would act all contrite and sorry and I don’t want a closer relationship with him. I have revealed the abuse to my family but without getting into details about the effects on my present life. It was just enough that I could crawl out of a sense of isolation back in my 20’s. No one really knows the legacy he has left for me to overcome (except my husband and therapist). Life goes on; my family occasionally spends holidays and vacations together and everyone has moved beyond my story.

      Exposing my vulnerability causes a sense of fear and the whole guilt around the coins I stole is probably an unhealthy way it’s manifested. I’m not sure that it’s worth bringing up in therapy but the bigger picture of self-blame and shame certainly is a major player in my adult life.

      Thanks for your comment.


  2. Actually we never say “I’m sorry”. We say “I was wrong” and accept what that person says, negative or positive and leave it alone forever.
    You can never ask him to apologize what he took from you but you can get to a place someday that can forgive him. Molestation is learned behavior.
    We owe our family a living amends for not having been there for them and a drunk wife or mother instead.
    Hang around AA, it will help you.

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