Addiction – The Family Secret

I really wanted to write about this subject today after giving it much thought. I hope I can be succinct and cohesive, but I am also asking for feedback if you would. That’s kind of the point of the blog post.

How many of you have an addict in your family? Any kind of addict. Alcohol, drugs (<– that was whispered like the mom in St. Elmo's Fire….lol), gambling, sex, shopping, eating….anything that causes a problem for the person and the family unit. I bet you do if you're honest with yourself. I bet there's the crazy Uncle you only have to deal with during the holidays because he drinks too much and gets obnoxious or starts telling dirty jokes around the 5 year old kid table. Or your sister who eats her entire meal telling everyone she's not really hungry, but then grabs some extras and hides in the bathroom finishing off another piece of cake plus 3 more rolls. Or the niece everyone thinks is perfect but has been secretly getting high every night and no one notices. What about the guy at work who can't turn down the next project/phone call/email/business trip/etc because he's afraid of not getting the next promotion or being valued enough?

Or maybe it's you. Can you stop drinking? What if you've never been told you have a "problem" before but now you're being asked to stop. Can you? "Well, **I** don't have the problem. My mom, well, SHE was the one hiding bottles through the house, not me. I can stop when I want." Uh huh. But do you? Can you go a month without drinking? Excess shopping? A little weed? A little pill? Working on a day off? What about exercise? Are you addicted to something "good" for you? Do you push it too far? Are you running 7 days a week? Should you?

Anyone who has dealt with an addict will tell you the above scenario is classic denial. There's always always ALWAYS someone worse off than the person you're talking to. Or an excuse for the behavior. And that's a convenient rationale to not admit your own problem. Yes, admitting you have a problem with (insert addiction here) is a first step. Admitting powerlessness over the addiction and that your life has become unmanageable. Step One in AA. And starting at Step One is always the best place to start. The whole one foot in front of the other thing, right?

But what is YOUR role in all of this? The non-addict family member. Do you cover for the gambling spouse who just spent your electric bill money at the craps table? Do you call in sick for the spouse who can't quite make it to work again this morning? Do you explain to your kids to stay away from Aunt Dee because she can't help but to act the way she does? What if it IS your kid? Do you cover and and hide and put on the happy face for the world to see?

Now I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone open up the four walls of their homes and let everything be a gawking free-for-all. Every home has its secrets that most are sure would be horrified if the outside world could look in and see during your most raw, emotional times. That's not what I'm getting at. I AM suggesting that addiction is so incredibly prevalent in our society, and that the old way of thinking is not what is healthy for the entire family. Talking about it, discussing it, sharing it, help to bring it out of the shadows where it can grow and fester. That helps take away that stigma that unfortunately still exists today.

Which brings me back to the non-addicts role. My role. Most of my readers know my husband is an alcoholic. I don't hide it. It's hard. It's difficult. I've written many blog posts about it. I'm active in an Al Anon group. It's been amazing to find that everything I thought I was dealing with alone, someone right down the street was dealing with too. And right around the corner. And all over the city, the state, the country, the world. But no one knows because everyone hides and covers. It's the family secret.

Here's a great saying in AA: "Nothing changes if nothing changes". Simple right? Simple and true. Changing the way WE act and will bring about change in US. Not others. Ourselves. It's a very empowering feeling when you truly start to put yourself first and change the way you think.

I wish I could get more people talking, and in doing that you could realize you aren't alone. You're family isn't the only one. And perhaps helping to shed some light on what is happening will also encourage the addict to seek support and help. Don't let another generation continue the cycle. There's a Step One in AA and in Al Anon. But there's more than one step. Keep moving, keep growing. You can do ANYTHING for a day. Today can be Day One in your life, whether you're the addict or just love someone who is.



Sex Sells?

It’s no secret that anything related to sex usually grabs the attention of everyone. People hear the word s-e-x and even if they are trying to act like they aren’t paying attention, they are. On TV, in magazines, on the internet, in blogs…..

It’s a very interesting phenomenon that happens. Is it that people are curious about what others are doing or is it they’re hoping for something scandalous? Or taboo? Or dirt on someone else? All of the above?

The reason I started thinking about this goes back to the warped way my own brain works. We all know my obsession with 50 Shades of Gray, and the much better written Crossfire fire series (that I hear is going to be a series, not a movie, and that’s very exciting!) and how something as poorly written, I mean, seriously…poorly poorly poorly written, can gain such traction as to be made into a movie. Women all over the world were reading this book. Hiding it from their husbands and kids. Being extremely thankful for their iPad or Nook or Kindle.

I was excited when I first heard they were making it a movie. We had big plans to rent a limo, drink champagne on the way there, drink more champagne after, make it quite the girls night out. Then the inevitable happened…..casting started. No one was pleased with the first choice. Then the casting changed, and the release date was pushed back. Then it was pushed back again after some production changes. And fans grew weary. (We have the attention span of a nat most days)

And then last weekend happened that scared me a bit for any success of this movie. They aired a remake of Flowers in the Attic. This had been tried as a movie decades ago and failed miserably. It was seriously horrible. There was so much hype with this remake, great casting for the 3 female lead Dollanganger girls how could it go wrong?? I mean, Ellen Burstyn!!! Hello???? Heather Graham! But as someone who read those books over and over and over again as a teen, this remake was a flop. The actresses were stiff. The dialog flowed as if they were reading it for the first time off of cue cards. There was no grandeur! There was no terrified pit in your stomach of what would come next. There was no s-e-x.

They are still planning to do the sequel, Petals on the Wind. I hear they’re already planning the sequel to 50 Shades. The actors and actresses were required to sign a 3 movie contract. (From what I read, but hey, I’m no Hollywood agent, what do I know?) But I predict this movie will flop too. Why?? Because of the sex. There will be none. Granted, to do justice to the books, it would have to be rated X and severely limit it’s release. But that was why women read it. Deny it if you want, but that book was so bad, if it wasn’t for the sex, no one would know who EL James was.

So if it’s the sex that sells, (and it does because EL is a very very rich woman now) why are they removing the very thing that attracted the people (eh hem…women) in the first place? I mean, I’m just a housewife from Ohio, but even **I** can see that as a mistake. For the time being, I think I’ll cross off the limo and keep the champagne on ice. Well, maybe I’ll have the champagne now.


Sex and reading

No, this isn’t another tricky title. This is a serious topic that I was involved in yesterday. I am extremely thankful that it never got hostile, names weren’t being called, no cheap shots were taken and no left in tears. All good! But afterwards, I was left thinking and pondering and pondering and thinking. So I decided to take it to my (happily growing and I love that!!) blog and see what I can learn. 

Is reading a book akin to adultery or cheating? Does it lead to affairs? Does it make the relationship you are in, no matter how perfect, seem lacking? At what point does it become too distracting in your relationship? 

I have read books from many many different genres. I like reading and getting lost in a book. I also think that’s why I like writing. But I can tell you that I have never read a book that has made me want to act out what is going on in the pages of my book. Reading thriller novels do not make me want to become either a psycho killer or a detective. Reading Sci-Fi doesn’t make me wish my husband was an astronaut. Reading history doesn’t make me cry hysterically that I don’t live in some past era and blame my husband for it. (Although, I do wish I was some princess and do expect to be treated as such, whether I have that crown or not!)

Same goes for reading whatever genre you would like to put 50 Shades of Gray or the much better written Crossfire series. I call it Mommy Porn. Others call it unreadable! (Not for the content but for the writing skills or lack thereof! Ha!) Some call it romance. Erotica. Whatever. I have read them all, and not one time did I complain that we don’t have a red room in our house. Not once did I look at Michael and wish his jeans were worn so they hung “just so”.

I guess I never even considered reading these books as adulterous or morally wrong. Because to me, it’s a book!! It is not about real life, it’s about fantasy and not something I need to hurry and go act out or cheat on my husband to be able to fulfill some need. I can distinguish between my life and what’s going on in a book. It’s a story. 

But therein lies the problem. **I** don’t find it morally wrong. Doesn’t mean everyone is open to reading stories heavy on sex, light on substance, and not feel like they are somehow betraying their spouse in their mind. I also have no problem looking at actors or models or some random dude walking down the street and not thinking, “Wow! That dude is hot!” I comment. I look. I mean, put a picture of Ian Somerhalder in front of me and the room temperature goes up a few degrees. Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall when he comes riding up over that hill on his horse? Or almost kisses Suzanna? Hello?? Epic!! But I don’t feel that makes me love my husband any less. I don’t look at him and think, “If only you looked like 30 year old Brad, I would love you more.” C’mon.

But the other side of this discussion was that adultery can be committed in the mind by coveting anyone other than your spouse. All I can say to that is, he without sin cast that first stone. Reading does nothing to make me go to the nearest bar and pick up some stranger and head to a hotel. It’s a book. Writing about sex, romance, affairs, and lust have been around for how long? Since ink went to paper? Now, admittedly, there is a big difference between Shakespeare and todays romance type novels, and Lord help me Shakespeare and EL James should never be mentioned in the same sentence (well, except for this one, but I’m making a point!).

So what do you think? Does the reading of a book lead to adultery? Does it make it morally wrong to read a book that includes sex/romance/lust because it will make you want those things that are on the pages? If it does, are any books that have romance/sex in them permitted to you?  

Sexy reading