The first Promise of Adult Children of Alcoholics says, "We will discover our real identities by loving and accepting ourselves."
We will discover our real identities by loving and accepting ourselves...
A real identity? Growing up I had no identity. My identity was to be quiet when the folks were drunk, be a true hero by keeping the family secrets and whenever there was a chance that the truth would come out - lie.
So this childhood helped me survive but as a young adult, it created just havoc. I blamed everyone for my problems. And if there weren’t any problems - I'd create them. This life of drama was filled with intrigue. Everyone was talking behind my back, while acting like they were my friends. No, it wasn't like that, but my paranoia and my need for drama made it that way.
With all these people out to get me... I became the perfect victim. Everybody became a friend, if I could gain some pity from them. Then when they questioned me I became angry at them and found new friends. Then I would cry on these new friends’ shoulders and gain even more pity. Yup, the perfect victim.
I brought this identity into three marriages and the pity went from "everyone was out to get me" to "You'd drink too, if you had a wife like mine." The story of the victim changed but it never left.
The more I played these games the more I became a director in a movie. I had the lines for the actors and exactly how the movie would play out. But it never happened. Every movie became a disaster, which led to new dramas, and yes the victim grew.
That is until everyone grew tired of the "poor old Dave" stories, everyone got tired of the drama and me. Not just me... but the way I just kept talking about ME - ME - ME.
My life began to change when I admitted to being an alcoholic. I learned life doesn't revolve around ME - ME - ME. I learned that I was just a speck in the grand plan of the Universe and ME - ME - ME had to leave.
I was so grateful when I began to understand that other people had feelings and they deserved my respect and love. The sad part for me was that I began giving away this respect and love without any thoughts of whether it was deserved or not.
This is where ACOA helped me understand the power of the "benefit of the doubt." I realize that everyone has a bad day. And I might be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that isn't who that person is.
My real identity now understands this "benefit of the doubt" eventually realizes that some people will never show me respect for my feelings or even show me common courtesy. Then it becomes my responsibility to see that this person will never change and whether I want to grow or remain a "professional victim."
To stop being this victim my identity began to accept the fact that I needed to become vulnerable. But not vulnerable to a point of trusting just anyone. Two people on an ACOA message board know some of what is going on in my life. And those two people have shown me that my judgment is good. That I can give out my trust and it will be respected.
But there is a third person on that same message board, who I have become completely 100% vulnerable with and again this trust has been respected. It has been respected to the point that she has become vulnerable with me as well.
It is quite an awesome experience. One that I have never experience in my life and that includes my past and present wives. She has become a person that I know I can say anything to without being shamed or judged. It is quite an awesome feeling. She has indeed become my best friend and I love her with my whole heart.
But there is more to this story, which at this time I can't share with you. So, please don’t judge me or her because you don’t know the whole story. I will say that this news is about finding my real identity and after all these years accepting it. And for that I will love this lady forever.
Though, I don't want to share it all with you... I'll leave it up to her if she wants to be identified as the lady who has helped me find myself.