An alcoholic upbringing may contribute to a negativistic attitude….

It’s much easier to believe that bad things are going to happen than it is to believe that good things will happen.   It takes work to believe in good; believing in bad stuff seems to come naturally. At least to me, anyway. It seems like I’m always waiting for the wolf to knock at my door – I believe that at any time, some bad juju or another will visit me and remove any semblance of peace in my life.

I’ve given this tendency of mine a lot of thought and I think I’ve come to two (2) conclusions about the cause of this believe in bad staff: 1) Growing up in an alcoholic family meant that I never knew what to expect from my home life, but I could be sure that sooner rather than later, something bad would happen; and, 2) Because I am painfully aware of my demise, I can’t help but sometime think it could happen at any time: I don’t know when or how, but I do that I am going to die one day.

Growing up, things weren’t always bad. Really, a lot of the time, things were actually good. Problems always started with beer. Even if there had a been a couple of weeks when things went well, the second beer entered the picture, all Hell would soon break loose in some way shape or form. It was guaranteed that although I could be happy, I would soon be scared or angry or some combination of both. Though I didn’t see a lot of “normal” relationships, I did see a lot of yelling and violence and I had no doubt that it was a risk to feel “ok” about life. One of my uncles even taught me to expect the worst case scenario in any situation, that way, if anything other than the worst case happened, it would be a pleasant surprise.

The fact that I am going to die one day sometimes just freaks me out. It could happen right now; if my ticker just shuts off – poof – no more me. Everything that comprises my life will cease to exist in that moment. There will be no more laughing, no more poetry, no more love, no more hate. At least not for me. I’ll be gone and anything that’s important to me in this moment will no longer have a hint of relevance.

So, when I couple my certainty that something bad would happen as a kid with my knowledge of my demise, I sometimes find it much easier to believe that something bad is awaiting me around the corner. But, it’s no way to live. I’d rather put in the work to believe in good and to trust that, although bad things may happen, most of those bad things can either be prevented or are “bad” from a matter of perspective. For every loss, there is a win and depending on which side I may find myself on, that’s what will be either bad or good. Therefore, though it may come naturally to believe in bad stuff, I think I’m going to choose to trust that there is infinite good and then work to own that trust. Just seems healthier…


One comment

  1. Your post resonated with me, not because I was brought up by an alcoholic, but I married one.

    The unpredictability of life after the alcoholic comes through the front door, or lifts his third Rum & Coke, etc….gave me first hand knowledge of that dread inside, that walking on eggshells, monitoring the self. It tires one out.

    I think the reactions we have are self defense mechanisms we learn, and thus can unlearn. This ‘unlearning’ is no easy task, it took months of Ala-Non to decide that I did not have to live with the alcoholic. It took a couple of years to ‘re-adjust’ my reactions to things in my environment. I didn’t have to be on the defensive anymore, have anxiety, or react to anything he did or did not do.

    The distance gave me perspective to also see him as a flawed person, struggling with his demons. Although he has not stopped drinking and now suffers medically, fifteen years later, I can feel compassion for him as well as for myself and my family.

    Everyone deserves to live in peace.


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