Pretending was an implicit and a dangerous game my parents taught me.
I grew up in a home where my parents played “Let’s Pretend!” And it wasn’t any kids’ game. It was their mutual decision to pretend one of them was not an alcoholic.
They pretended their pain was just not real; and the emotional circus it created, happened because of what others did or said. It was never the choice to drink!
How can anyone keep quiet such a life threatening, mind altering, and behavior changing illness for so long?
We all lied about it. To each other, ourselves and others. It’s called enabling. And nobody ever owned up to their part in the charade, until I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I learned how serious my parent’s disease was . . . their illness was not a game!
Eventually, the alcoholic recovered. Unfortunately, the enabler went to their grave pretending and blaming.
However, I see now and sympathize with my parent who just wanted life to be normal.
Ah, but what is normal?
Back then it was what radio, TV, and movies promoted in the sit-coms. Few of us ever had all that prosperity and peace – but it sure seemed that was the goal, after the horrors of the Depression and World War II.
Today, personal peace and affluence are still powerful goals that make us lie about our pain, or other people’s addictions. Addiction is an illness! And so, too, is enabling. (Addiction is a Worship Disorder)
For those who love an addict, the addict’s choices come to define their choices, too. We think God does not see, or care; we may even wonder if He exists. And too often, we let the addict’s choices become our excuses for our own dumb choices. (The Merry-Go-Round Called Denial)
The simplest, hardest thing we ever do is turning over the control of our lives and the lives of those we love to God. But, it’s only for today.
Dear reader, may I suggest two things?
- No more pretending addiction isn’t a problem that tears you up and harms others.
- No more make-believe that your choices don’t affect others.
Passing along a goal for today a friend sent me:
Today, I will set the limits I need to set. I will let go of my need to take care of other people’s feelings and instead take care of my own. I will give myself permission to take care of myself, knowing it’s the best thing I can do for myself and others.
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful
PS: If pretending is a dangerous game in the home — it is really a dumb and deadly one for the church to play, too!