Wisdom in Resiliency: Lessons Learned from Family Alcoholism

For every evil there is some good. A family who faces life with an alcoholic, however functional, surely will endure many good times and many difficult times. Alcoholism in the family unit tends to wreak havoc, especially when the main alcoholic is a parent. In an attempt to keep things normal, the sober parent will have to go to equally desperate lengths, the least of all being staying in the marriage. Is every spouse who stays with an alcoholic some kind of codependent? That may be true to some degree, but such an assumption requires a large scale. Many spouses learn to set firm, healthy boundaries. Like the lotus which grows in the mud, out of the dirty madness that is alcoholism can grow tremendous wisdom. Some lessons learned from family alcoholism are obtained in spite of- and therefore are less valid. Survival skills are generally rooted in opposition. Doing what is necessary to survive, in spite of dire circumstance, is always commendable.

Develop a strong working ethic: Alcoholism usually disrupts the family economic welfare. An alcoholic will selfishly spend exuberant amounts of money on alcohol, while mindlessly spending on other non-necessities. Families with an alcoholic parent see trial in keeping food on the table and in the cupboard. The rest of the family learns to commit themselves to work, and working hard, in order to maintain a regular income of both money and food. Performing well in a job means guaranteeing a steady income, which will provide for the family unit.

One can always give: An alcoholic-centered family becomes used to living on the bottom dollar. Having adjusted to living minimally, somehow these family members still find ways to be giving. Giving can take other form than just money. Time, and special care, for example, are bountiful commodities.

Attitude of Gratitude: Despite even the darkest of times, there is always some light to be shed. In every moment, there is gratitude to be found. Focusing on comparison and losing appreciation for the present moment will quickly dampen and already sullen time. Looking toward the past and hoping for change, or living in the future dreaming of a better tomorrow takes away from the present; which, of course, could be understandable. Staying present and living the gratitude of each moment is a remarkably important spiritual practice in life during good times and bad.

Refuge Recovery creates a set of life skills based on buddhist principles and proven treatment methods. For more information call (323) 207-0276

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