Just because Daddy and Mommy said so doesn't make it right.

So many alcoholics and addicts come from severely dysfunctional families. Yet, we have such a difficult time breaking free from the (1) the insane coping skills we have learned from dealing with insane childhood situations and (2) the prejudices that our parents have instilled in us. A computer analogy may help. Our bodies are akin to "hardware" and our personalities are akin to "software." Our software needs reprogramming when it interferes with our life, manageability, and serenity. The oldest and most harmful software malfunctions were created by parental programming. We need to look at that programming. This is done in great depth as a part of therapy and as a part of one's 4th step inventory. This search is not to create resentment against our parents. Rather, it is to rid ourselves of our own long-standing character defects that interfere with our lives. The first problem is that we have developed coping skills which may have worked in our dysfunctional family but do not work in the real world. For example, drinking alcohol may have worked with regard to our dysfunctional family, but it is causing us trouble in the real world. A more subtle example is the jokester.  Perhaps jokes may have worked as a coping skill to reduce family stress, but making jokes at work may be causing the jokester problems. Another example is the family hero who took control of all of the family responsibilities to cope with her parents' irresponsibility or sickness. This same hero's over controlling attitude may be causing her problems in the real world. Yet another example may be the child who ran and hid as family tension mounted. This behavior may be causing this person to withdraw and miss out on life.  The second problem is that we may have developed prejudices that our parents have instilled in us. Examples include attitudes about race, money, politics, morality, abuse and even concepts of what is right and wrong. Attitudes that may have worked for our parents may not be working for us.


Discuss with a therapist or trusted friend an attitude that may be causing you trouble. Are you keeping it just because a parent taught it to you? Tell yourself it is okay to change even though your parents think it would be wrong to change. Is the attitude instilled by your parents stopping you from accepting that you have an addiction and need to change? What is a coping skill you learned to deal with your family? Is that coping skill causing you problems today? Don't let this investigation be a cause for resentment against your parents. None of us are perfect. Rather, let this investigation lead to a more liberated you!