It Stops Right Here
One of the more powerful ideas I’ve come across in recovery is the idea of breaking the chain.
I know many people who come from generations of alcoholism, both vertically and horizontally (cousins, aunts and uncles, et al}.
Many of them have told me that they grew up thinking “I’ll never be like Dad (or Mom). And my older brother is a real fuck-up junkie. Not for me. No. Never.”
Cut to: “I became just like my Dad.”
There are a number of factors that lead to alcoholism, and one of them is it being hereditary.
There are cultural and behavioral factors as well, and neglect and abuse are major contributors.
When someone gets sober, and stays sober, and is able to model another way of life, and carry a potential influence to the family, it’s an incredibly powerful thing.
To Break the Chain is to claim a stake on new ground.
I’m honored to know many who have done that. I feel that they hold a flag, that they shine a light. And it can be lonely being the lone sober person, breaking from family tradition, fucked up as it may be. It takes courage, guts, and commitment. And it requires the making of boundaries, and resisting pushback to those boundaries.
All while trying to piece a life together out of the alcoholic wreckage.
Personally, my family history was not like that.
But to those who’ve broken the chain, I’m honored to know you. You’re an inspiration.
And if you’re from one of those families, and you’re considering breaking the chain…you can do it. If you want to with all of your might.
One of the world’s great symbols, the Statue of Liberty, is actually in a posture of striding forward, and there are broken chains at her feet. She is literally Breaking the Chains of Tyranny as she lights the way forward to a new, and free life.
One doesn’t choose to come from a lineage of alcoholism, just as one doesn’t choose to be enslaved or tyrannized. But if the opportunity is there to stride forward, to break those chains, then it is a valiant and powerful force in forging a new and life-affirming path forward.