My Parents, My Scapegoats
I came into EHA on April 13, 1991 because of fear and loneliness. At that point, I could look back at my whole life and see that I was emotionally ill from the very beginning. Fear had always been with me and it reached its high point. I wanted to have someone or some event to blame. My parents, by far were my favorite scapegoats. At the time, I felt they were defective, aberrant people. I thought the way they had treated me must have been the key to why I have emotional problems. It must have been all those whippings that did it to me. Never mind the fact that I was a rebellious terror.
Today there is no doubt that my parents truly loved me and really gave me all there was to give. They did everything they could to prepare me for adulthood. Time and time again they told me that life would not stay easy and things were not always going to be handed to me. Someday I would have to get out there and stand on my own two feet. They did their utmost to help me reach that point. My father would visit on Saturdays and he’d sometimes spend hours lecturing me on the importance of self reliance and personal responsibility. He worked heavy labor all his life and didn’t want me to follow in his footsteps. He’d say, “This is the best country in the world. All the opportunities that I never had are laid at your feet. In this country you can accomplish anything if you work hard.” My parents put me through twelve years of Catholic school and gave me all the encouragement in the world. The idea of life’s rewards was pleasant to ponder but the real work involved was the part that scared me. I really wasn’t willing to do it.
Before coming through the doors of EHA, my life had been a constant struggle to hide from my real responsibilities. It was a nonstop search to “recapture my adolescence.” I’ve wanted to stay age 15 forever. I resented my parents because “they just didn’t understand.” Why should they? They have a program. Why should they sympathize with my lazy attitude? I felt that life had cheated me out of the things I was entitled to: money, happiness, and relationships. To me, these were entitlements I demanded from God. There I was with my hand out. Yet it was my behavior and bad attitude that caused me to come into the program feeling empty, bitter and full of blame. I really believed that God gave me a raw deal with my parents. They grew up in the 40’s and 50’s; another time and another world. What do they know? They’re dinosaurs with old ideas that don’t apply in today’s modern world. They don’t understand what’s really happening nowadays; they’re archaic.
Today I’ve come to see how much they’ve given and how they’re not in any way to blame for my problems. My problems were of my own making. EHA has shown me that I must take responsibility for myself. The program has given me a way of life. In my homegroup we have four tools that we use. My program consists of these four tools: minimum of four EHA meetings a week, reading two pages a day from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, short simple daily prayer on my knees, and daily phone contact with the men in my homegroup. As simple as the four tools are, they saved my life. I’m in EHA not because I want to grow up and not because I want the twelve promises. I’m here because it’s a matter of life or death. I’m in EHA because I need a major overhaul of my personality. I must change.
Since I’ve come into the program my life has improved greatly. My father and I are actually friends today. I look forward to the next time I’m going to visit him. I feel tremendous warmth and gratitude towards him. Before the program I wished he would drop dead except for the fact that I needed cash from him every now and then. I no longer go to him only when I need something from him. I have the men’s fellowship and my sponsor to thank for my relationship with my father. I need this fellowship. I want what they have. Our fellowship is a family. They are my social life. We have picnics in the summer, we have an annual retreat, we do Christmas caroling, we help each other move and we even have a Halloween party. I never had these things with a group of people. What a gift! There is no doubt in my mind today that a power greater than myself is working in my life. I feel very fortunate and grateful. I’m truly blessed.