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“You are no longer the sickest one in the room”

August 2, 2009

single white femail briget fondaSicker than an alcoholic? Yes, some of our friends and families are.

Ever see Single White Female with Bridget Fonda?  I met the woman this weekend who could have been the role model for the codependent roommate.

A family friend (aka Superfriend) was present as my wife and I visited family who had had just had a baby.  Superfriend in the creepiest way acted at times as if the baby was hers.

I later learned that Superfriend had grown up in a severely dysfunctional alcoholic home.  Her behaviour was quite typical of adult children of alcoholics in that she needed desperately to be needed.  She was care-taking the whole situation so much that she was over-taking.

I further learned that Superfriend has been inordinately clingy to my wife’s family member for many years.  The odd thing is that Superfriend is functioning and successful in other areas of her life.  But in interpersonal relationships, she is a clingy disaster.

A trusted person in my program of recovery once told me, “You may get to a point where you as the alcoholic are no longer the sickest one in the room”. Meaning the codependents in our lives can be just as sick or sicker and as we recover and they don’t, the gap becomes apparent.

This is what I believe I experienced this weekend.  Someone every bit as sick or even sicker than the alcoholics in her life.  She appeared so desperate, she was downright delusional.

In this sense, I feel grateful to be an alcoholic.  At least my core problem was much clearer to identify.

Ciao.

Chaz

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5 comments

  1. Chaz,

    The behaviour of Superfriend does sound a little creepy I must say…but I think you are right – its a common trait of an adult child of an alcoholic.

    As an adult child of an alcoholic I find myself swinging (in a bit of an extreme way) between being clinging and ambivalent in relationships. For example, I can be clingy with someone, but when it isn’t reciprocated I turn into Little Miss Couldn’t Care Less and totally shut off emotion from that person.

    I’ve always been that way, but never really thought of it in regards to my upbringing – rather that it was a character trait.

    Very interesting

    Lores


  2. Lores…. check out some of the posts by Mike at Rational Recovery…. he seems to have a good handle on us ACOAs.

    This one in particular:
    http://realisticrecovery.wordpress.com/2009/07/23/alcoholicdysfunctional-family-roles/

    I simply find that the unique ways in which we were affected by our alcoholic parents … and the extremity of the circumstances…. do have a profound effect on us. There is no question about it.

    When I look at the type of Dad that I seek to be for my kids versus what my Dad was to me…. I realize it all the more. I am not trying to be self-pitying here. Just recognizing the critical difference.

    Last year alone, I would have gone to more sporting events and school concerts than my dad did in a lifetime… in fact he never once went to a sporting event of mine.

    I did not realize that affected me until adulthood.

    Anyway…. thanks for reply.

    Ciao

    Chaz


  3. Great post! There is always someone “sicker,” as you say, and they’re more than glad to tell you about it. I’ve met a couple of people like that myself in recent years, if you get my drift.


    • TV…. like many of us, you had the good fortune of hitting a hard, painful bottom to wake you up. Not that hitting bottom will make us perfect, but it sure will draw clear attention to what is usually our most glaring self-defeating and hurtful fault…. and provide opportunity to deal with it if we are sufficiently awakened.

      In this way, the universe takes a no bs approach with us.

      Being spared of hitting a painful bottom allows us to go on practicing our fault and go on hurting ouselves and others.

      Having felt pain of my faults and having been spared the pain…. I would choose feeling the pain. It is the fastest road to a better life.

      Ciao.

      Chaz


  4. Single White Female TV…. like many of us, you had the good fortune of hitting a hard, painful bottom to wake you up. Not that hitting bottom will make us perfect, but it sure will draw clear attention to what is usually our most glaring self-defeating and hurtful fault…. and provide opportunity to deal with it if we are sufficiently awakened.

    In this way, the universe takes a no bs approach with us.

    Being spared of hitting a painful bottom allows us to go on practicing our fault and go on hurting ouselves and others.

    Having felt pain of my faults and having been spared the pain…. I would choose feeling the pain. It is the fastest road to a better life.

    Ciao.
    save ok



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