Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"You guys are WAY more messed up than we are"

That's what Evan has been telling me quite a bit lately. He is, of course, talking about recovering addicts and recovering codependents. I have responded in an adult-like fashion almost every time. I have said something like, "You think so, huh?" and then changed the subject.

The other evening, come back from an Al-Anon meeting he said it again. This time though it was in the context of telling me that one of my favorite people at the meeting was "really damaged goods." I started off with my strategy of deflection and non-engagement, though it was more difficult because he was attacking someone ELSE. I can take it when he teasingly insults me, but it is difficult for me not to come charging in to defend others.

Anyway, after telling me about how damaged my friend was he said it again, "You guys are way more damaged than we are."

I am sorry to say that I said, "Well, maybe you addicts think you are not messed up because you think that once your are clean or sober you've done everything you need to do. Maybe we are just more honest about our problems." The conversational tone was one of banter and teasing, but it did get a little tense. He said, "I knew you would throw that in my face eventually."

I did change the subject then.

There were so many things I did not say. I really did not point out that he is a "double winner." He grew up with parents and parental figures who were users. He was surrounded by addiction. If the people around the addict are more messed up than the addict, then he is a strong candidiate for being "more messed up."

It struck me then what might be going on. Evan does not want to deal with his issues relating to the abuse of the parents who were supposed to care for him. All of that is stuck behind a door. When he keeps saying "YOU guys..." he is not so much talking about me and the other Al-Anon members, he just trying to separate and protect himself from problems he is not ready to deal with.

And that is okay. I have come to accept that he will have to handle his problems at his own pace.

Next on Evan

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