Mood Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified

diagnosed bipolar and pissed about it

Category: al-anon

bill of rights

another document that is read at the beginning of the Al-Anon meeting is “An Adult Child’s Bill of Rights”.  I am going to highlight the parts that i think will be most difficult for me, leaving open the possibility that those deemed “most difficult” will change as i move through this process.

  1. I have a right to all those good times that I have longed for all these years and didn’t get
  2. I have a right to joy in this life, right here, right now, not just a momentary rush of euphoria, but something more substantive
  3. I have a right to relax and have fun in a non-alcoholic, nondestructive, and nonaddictive way
  4. I have a right to actively pursue people, places, and situations that will help me to achieve a good life
  5. I have a right to say “no” whenever I feel something is not safe or I am not ready
  6. I have a right not to participate in either the active or the passive crazy making behavior of my parents, siblings, and of others
  7. I have a right to take calculated risks and to experiment with new strategies
  8. I have a right to change my tune, my strategy, and my funny equations
  9. I have a right to “mess up”, to “blow it”, to disappoint myself and to fall short of the mark
  10. I have a right to leave the company of people who deliberately or inadvertently put me down, lay a guilt trip on me, manipulate me or humiliate me, including my own alcoholic parent, my non-alcoholic parent, or any other member of my family
  11. I have a right to put an end to conversations with people when I feel put down or humiliated
  12. I have a right to all of my feelings
  13. I have a right to trust my feelings, my judgment, my hunches, my intuition
  14. I have a right to develop myself as a whole person, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically
  15. I have a right to express all of my feelings in a nondestructive way and at a safe time and place
  16. I have a right to sort out the bill of goods my parents sold me, to take the acceptable and dump the unacceptable
  17. I have a right to as much time as I feel I need to experiment with this new information and these new behaviors and to initiate changes in my life
  18. I have a right to a mentally healthy, sane way of existence, though it may deviate in part, or wholly from my parent’s prescribed philosophy of life, belief system, way of life, code of ethics, or code of behavior
  19. I have the right to follow any or all of the above rights, to live my life the way I want to, and not wait until my alcoholic parent gets well, gets happy, seeks help, or admits there is a problem.
  20. I have a right to carve out my place in this world

the problem

at the beginning of the Al-Anon meeting, one of the things that happens is people are asked to read documents aloud to the group.  one of them is called The Problem.  in the interest of checking in with myself, i am going to repost it here and highlight the parts that i believe apply to me.

The Problem

Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional households.  We had come to feel isolated and uneasy with other people, especially authority figuresTo protect ourselves, we became people-pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process.  All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat.  We either became alcoholics (or practiced other addictive behavior) ourselves, or married them, or both.  Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our need for abandonment.

We lived our lives from the standpoint of victims.  Having an over developed sense of responsibility; we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves.  We got guilt feelings when we stood up for ourselves rather than giving in to others.  Thus, we became reactors, rather than actors, letting others take the initiative.  We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally.  Yet we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.

These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us “co-victims”, those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink.  We learned to stuff our feelings as children and kept them buried as adults.  We learned to keep our feelings down as children and kept them buried as adults.  As a result of this conditioning, we often confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue.  Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable solutions.  This is a description, not an indictment.

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