When I first realized and understood fully that I was “An Adult Child of An alcoholic Parent” it was mind numbing. How could it be? I was in my early 40s and felt helpless. My initial feelings was I now felt I had a something to blame for my shortcomings. Someone responsible. And it wasn’t me! But was it? I first wanted to fully comprehend what it meant to be an ACoA. So I read and tried to relate it to my life. So I decided to join a group that met at a local church. Without going into detail, my time there was uneventful. It was more about rehashing our problems from being adult children of alcoholic parents instead of ways to solve the problem. But one thing that did come out of a few of those sessions was Lake Despair.
When I first talked to the group I was a little emotional. I came up with an analogy of being in a boat in the middle of this lake. I was in, as I called it, Lake Despair. I had no paddles or means to either move or steer the this boat which also had a slow leak. I was just stuck in the middle of this calm lake. I was in this boat filled with all the issues and characteristics typical of an adult child of an alcoholic parent. Alone. On the shore of the lake were various spots that held lessons to all the problems I needed to heal. But how do I get there? I knew the problems. That was the easy part! I needed help! How do I fix things? Where do I start? I wanted a damn paddle so I could start the healing! I had been in the middle of Lake Despair for years and now I wanted to reach land and begin to heal.
Currently, I am still at Lake Despair but not floating aimlessly. I am now on the shore walking from one lesson to another around the lake. It’s a mighty big lake and also quite beautiful. It beauty grows as I reach each lesson and learn more about myself. As I hike from point to point, there are times my body aches, my mind wonders, and my feet hurt. I am often depressed and want to give up. But I want to see the all of the lake and take in its beauty! To see this, I must walk around it and navigate on land each obstacle in my path. Lake Despair is now a journey on foot. It’s a slow journey. When I reach that final point I will have circled Lake Despair. And at that moment I want to rename that lake. Lake of Hope.
I hope others find the lake earlier in their life that I did. And I hope once they find themselves in that boat, motionless without and means to move, they can see the solutions on the shore around them. I hope they can somehow reach the shore and make their own path around Lake Despair. It’s by no means an easy journey. But a certainly a fulfilling one. The journey to find the lake starts with knowing that you are an ACoA and accept that premise. Its not easy, but I promise, the lake is beautiful! Life is beautiful. Seek it.
Till we meet again. Good Day.
Mind of Shoo