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 Category:  General Non-Fiction
  Posted: April 26, 2018      Views: 508
Chapters:
Prologue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9... 

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 DALLAS01 
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 ABOUT
DALLAS01 

My book "Shaking the Family Tree", by Dallas H is now available on Amazon, Books A Million, Barnes & Noble and Writtendreams.com
It is a double genre Poetry/memoir offering that looks at the genetic predisposition of alcoholism and addiction.

The Seal of Quality committee has rewarded her with 1 seals.

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Chapter 5 of the book Shaking the Family Tree
At times it was a rocky road.
"Navigating recovery" by DALLAS01

Background
Wrapped up in the genetic stitching that weaves its way through her families' predisposition for alcohol addiction, Dallas finally accepts the harsh realities of the disease and discovers recovery.


Navigating Recovery


I didn't know much about AA even though Gerri had been attending meetings for three years. It really wasn't a part of her life that I had been anxious to learn about. As a matter of fact, I felt a slight resentment. Thanks to AA I no longer had a drinking, partner. When Luke came home from Chit-Chat, I attended a few meetings to support him. My recollection was that they seemed to be a friendly group of people hooked on caffeine. And that was the extent of it. I was happy for him that it existed.

On the eve of my departure, I wrestled with it all; the disease itself; how it affected the formation of my character; the choices I either made or failed to make as a result and ultimately, my own drinking career. After wandering through the maze half of the night, I decided to take Claudia's advice and step into the ring. I was far from admitting I was an alcoholic, but it was something I needed to determine for myself. As long as no one applied any pressure, or I felt trapped, I'd give AA a chance.

Commitment was never my strong suit, but that night I made one to myself. Thank God, no one, including Gerri, ever once pointed their finger at me and accused me of being an alcoholic. I was still in denial. When I walked through the doors of AA and proceeded, for many months, to introduce myself as an adult child of an alcoholic, I was offered a seat, warm smiles, handshakes and a cup of coffee.

Any fears I had about being indoctrinated into a group think tank dissipated rather quickly. I attended
about four meetings a week, rarely spoke, sat in the back and kept my distance. In time, I began to
absorb the struggles of others and realized that I wasn't alone, nor was I unique. We shared the same
fears; made many of the same mistakes; and used alcohol to escape life, decisions, and responsibilities.

Bit by bit my carefully constructed wall, built to keep others out and protect me, began to crumble. A crack in the armor appeared and allowed me to navigate new concepts to determine for myself whether or not I belonged in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Confusion reigned for several months. In the group therapy meetings for Adult Children of Alcoholics, I learned about the characteristics one develops to cope with the dysfunction that prevails in alcoholic homes. They taught me that it wasn't my fault. And above all, they encouraged self-love and acceptance. The focus was to build self-esteem and to be able to understand and identify the cause of all the negative feelings and behaviors we had developed over the years. This program, with a few slight variations, was also a twelve step program.


Reclamation.

Welcome to my childhood and all that it entails,
it's rooted in dysfunction, here's just a few details:
We didn't get acquainted till I was middle-aged
then I thought it silly and so I disengaged.

Dressed in false maturity, I popped out of the womb
pretended I was all grown up, hid deep inside that tomb;
I chose responsibility instead of fun and laughter,
ignored the invitations of my peers forever after.

Environment and circumstance all played a vital part
to fan the flames that forced me to retreat into my heart.
Then along came alcohol, I opened like a flower
until it crushed my petals and became my Higher Power.

I sacrificed adulthood to years of bad decisions
ones that couldn't manifest maturity without some new provisions;
I wasn't sure who I was or what I really wanted,
but I approached recovery full speed ahead, undaunted.

Like the layers of an onion, my facade was peeled away
that's when I heard her whisper, I'm your child, come out and play.


My AA program was asking me to be accountable for my own conduct, clean up my side of the street, put my energy into taking a personal inventory and make amends to those I may have harmed. Because I was so early in recovery, I had yet to get a sponsor or work the steps. I couldn't weave all of what seemed to be two different approaches to healing into one cozy quilt.

I became so conflicted that I decided to discontinue the group therapy sessions until I could get better grounded in sobriety

It turned out to be a wise move because it wasn't until I came to terms with the addiction and all of its ramifications, that I became able to absorb and work the principals of both programs to complete my tapestry of recovery.

My attitude and outlook were steadily improving. I was coming up on eight months sober. I had made several friends and no longer felt alcohol was the answer to all of my problems. But something was missing. I began to feel as though I were stagnating.

I had put off asking anyone to be my sponsor. I was petrified of being rejected. But trying to work the program alone wasn't working. Asking for help was not in my nature. I was an independent, self-sufficient woman; another glaring characteristic.

No one in the program was pressuring me. They were quite content to let me flail about for as long as I needed.

Some of the common flaws woven into the alcoholic personality are false pride and a lack of humility. Two traits I would have sworn did not apply to me. Anxious to prove it, I fluffed my peacock feathers, patted myself on the back and sought out a sponsor.

When the first one rejected me due to a conflict with her schedule, I licked my wounds, got back up on the horse and continued the search.

Sponsorship was the discussion topic at many of the meetings I attended so I had a good idea of what it entailed. The sponsor's job is to guide you through the Twelve Steps and be available when needed. Many sponsor/sponsee relationships go beyond that, developing into solid friendships. I wasn't sure that was what I was looking for. I found that idea to be a little intimidating.

It took me a few days to recover from my bruised ego, but I was determined to try again. Tenacity was one of my defining traits. Whether it was a virtue or a flaw depended on circumstance and interpretation. So after a Thursday night meeting, I approached my target.

Sara was nothing like me, except for the way she drank and her subsequent denial system. She was the poster-child for the term goody-two-shoes, the kind of person I would never have hung around with when I drank. I intuitively knew I had to have someone that I could not bullshit, and after listening to her share around the tables for months, she met that criterion.

The first thing out of my mouth, after I asked her, before the ink on the question mark was even dry, was that I couldn't stand to be told what to do. My knee-jerk response was to do exactly the opposite; authority figures rubbed me the wrong way.

Sara was expressionless. Without batting an eye, she held my defiant attitude in a long, tense pause. "Okay, we can give it a try and see if it works out."

I was having a hard time reading her. Was I on trial, or what? I was probably pushing my luck.

"Oh, one more thing," I said. "I know the telephone is supposed to be the favored tool of communication here, but I'm not very good at that. I work on the phone all day." I waited for a response. Nothing. So I continued, "Just trying to be honest!"

While the others filed out of the room, she gathered up the literature and handed me a plastic crate. "Here, you can help me clean up."

I thought I detected a hint of a smile.

"Then we can go to Ho Jo's for coffee." A definite smile. "Since you don't like talking on the telephone."

That was the first day of a twenty-eight-year-old relationship that changed my life. We became the Lone Ranger and Tonto, trekking off into unknown territory. I had so much to learn. Little did I know then that my guide was a drug and alcohol counselor. God works in mysterious ways.

We faced off every Thursday night after the meeting over coffee at Ho Jo's. Round one usually began with me dodging questions and tap-dancing around the issues, all the while maintaining eye contact. The way I saw it, avoidance had nothing to do with dishonesty. I was in awe of the fact that this kind, gentle, and respected woman could be an alcoholic.

One evening when I was feeling quite defensive, she struck me with, "It is a disease, you know. We aren't bad people trying to get good. We are sick people trying to get well."

There was some fancy footwork going on during those sessions. About four weeks into it, a subtle almost undetectable transition began to take place. I managed, once in a while, to pick up that two-ton telephone in between sessions. I found I was no longer so bent on defending my position that I couldn't hear the similarities as Sara unraveled her experiences involving alcohol.

Trust, especially of other women, was a hurdle I never expected to clear. Part of that hinged on my mother's and my strained relationship over the years. She had always been very critical of everything I did or didn't do, who I was, and who I wasn't. When the lesson is that you can't do anything right, guess what? You put the book down and quit trying.

So here I was, this wary drop-out, warming up on one of the toughest obstacle courses I had ever run.

Sara's training as a drug and alcohol counselor gave her an in-depth understanding of what she was dealing with as a sponsor. She was familiar with co-dependency, as well as the alcohol curse. She became my mentor and confidante. But the closer I got to the realization that I might be an alcoholic, the harder I fought it.

Recognized

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The book continues with The final round: Shadowboxing. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.
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