Friday, May 1, 2009


With all due respect to what has been called the worst song ever written from 1975, I want to talk about these pesky little things that seem to pop up forever for family and friends of an active addict. It was once researched (do not ask me when or by whom) that if a person was using chemicals during an event, such as alcohol, that the passage of time will obliterate any feeling memory of that event. Not so for the drug free family member who will register the event in their brain with all of the myriad of feelings that came with the happening. The drug free brain will then hang on to the feeling memory until the end of time. So--what is the problem?? It is found in the recovery. The addict may remember, however vaguely, the things that occurred, but not the feelings that registered at the time. Remember, the addict is sedated, anesthetized and numbed. For the other person, however, the feelings will accompany the memory and reappear in full force--even years later. That is a major difference in the recovery tasks of both people. In Alanon, one learns to be on guard against the unguarded moments. You need these skills when, out of the blue, some old feeling grabs you and you are in a painful place again. It is not unusual for your phone to ring at 3 am and your heart races even though your addict has been in recovery for 8 years and is asleep next to you. It is not unusual for the sober addict to be detained on some errand, and you start to clock-watch with increasing old dreads. These old feelings are like flashbacks and have a powerful pull. In a recovery program, you learn to quickly recognize what is probably irrational and are able to calm yourself back to reality.

Nan Reynolds