Home – By Lisa Zoe Lawston

An old blue hat box with a water stain where years back I rest my glass. I lift the top. Odds and ends. Yellowed papers scribbled with drifting thoughts for future engagement.  Cards inked in childlike writing “Happy birthday, mama, I love you!” Tears. At the bottom of the well, floats my poetry magnet “home” staring back at me. I cup it in my hand and fold my fingers. The realization washes over me; I’ve carried this magnet around for fifteen years like an amulet. Hopeful.  It used to cling to my refrigerator door in Amherst along with enough words to tell this story in a hundred different ways. An icy blur of rage, sticky packing tape, weeping, crumpled newspaper, torn photographs, constant relocations, half-filled cardboard boxes, joblessness, bubble-wrap, poverty, judgment, the devastating addiction and untimely loss of my first child, yet somehow this remains. “Home.”  I still hold it… Continue reading

Yes You Are – Christine Beck

My Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings end with members stating an Affirmation. We began by using the list on page 329 of the Big Red Book. Those affirmations all begin with “It is okay.” Some examples are “It is okay to know another way to live.” “It is okay to say no without feeling guilty,” and “It is okay to say ‘I don’t know.’” Many of these affirmations mirror the statements that different meetings have developed into a Bill of Rights. Examples are “I have a right to say no.” “I have a right to take healthy risks,” or I have the right to expect honesty from others.” These affirmations are helpful, but they do not go to the heart of claiming who I am as a person in recovery.  They do not include statements such as “I am lovable just as I am,” “I am vulnerable in relationships,” or… Continue reading

The Tangled Labyrinth of a Chaotic Childhood – Kyczy Hawk

I have not felt as if I had any connection with my ancestors; but it turns out that I do. Not in the “descended from royalty” kind, or the “long line of heroes” type, but the “inherited a poor resilience structure” kind. I do have a history, and it is painful. After several years in recovery I had to look at my life before liquor, my childhood before cocaine, my minority before marijuana – you get the drift. There were behaviors and characteristics that had set the stage for my using, drinking, rampant sexuality, dependence on independence. I had to untangle my old solution set, and find a new structure for my character and inner self, just as I had found recovery for my disease of addiction. This had to start in my past. With a family that moved often between cultures but had no center in itself, this wonderful… Continue reading

It Cracked my Heart Wide Open – Lisa Lawston

During the years of my daughters addiction sometimes she would go missing for months at a time. When I ate, I wondered if she had enough food. When I pulled the covers up at night, I wondered if she had a blanket… It cracked my heart wide open and it was during that time I unearthed a depth of compassion that I never knew I was capable of. There were a series of events that followed but the first was in NYC. I was approached at the train station by a young man around my daughters age, who looked like he’d been pulled under a few times in the current of life. He was bruised and cut and as the distance between us shortened rather than turning away in fear my energy expanded and when we met eyes the words just flowed, “How can I help?” He was someone’s child… Continue reading

What is your Vision Plan for Recovery as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic? – Christine Beck

Adult Children of Alcoholics’ first promise states that “We will discover our real identities [our True Self] by loving and accepting ourselves.” Many of the other promises contain qualities that our True Self will attain, such as being playful and fun or learning how to be both vulnerable and intimate. These and other program promises sound wonderful, but how do we attain them? For me, the answer is much more than going to meetings and working the steps.  I need to carry program principles into specific actions in every area of my life, including my work, family and relationships. And I need to write down action steps, to keep myself accountable. I looked at my life and wrote a personal vision statement for how to become my True Self in ACA, but also at home, with family and friends and with the work I do in the world: I will… Continue reading