Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Story

The characteristics of adult children of alcoholics sometimes left me more puzzled and feeling, well, different. Working with a skilled spiritual director equipped me to better see and appreciate the child I was meant to be, born to be.

I grew up Christian, was baptized and confirmed in a healthy community of faith. I went to church and Sunday School regularly. One of the greatest gifts to me from family and church was a trust in a loving God. Without it, I would be in a very different place spiritually, or even no place at all.

At the same time we kept our church experiences and realities at home apart from each other. A dichotomy existed. This is how addictions grow, fester, and persist. They are enabled by a conspiracy of silence. Or we smooth over the dysfunction by using words like "heavy drinker" instead of alcoholic.

In adolescence, I coped by trying to control, manage or avoid the explosive feelings within and people and situations around me. I did what I could do to keep the peace, especially once the booze started talking. I tried my best to reduce conversations to pablum- and even tried not to feel or think at all by numbing -out chemically.

For much of the first half of my life, the true self that God loved and created and called was in almost total dormancy. Yes, I graduated, was ordained, began and continued in full time ministry with major blindness to the one and only self. Spiritual direction and the disciplines were optional. A workshop I once attended on "The Image You Project" well describes the theme of those first 10 years in full time ministry. Don't get me wrong: wonderful opportunities to grow in wholeness did exist. Not easy finding them though. 

Greater acceptance of my true self and honest friendship with others is a journey, not a destination. This journey is wrapped up in the love and grace and movement of God. Refusing this true north is the sin I choose. My choice to live out of God's abundant love is the gift I can offer.

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