Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Child is the Father of the Man

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

— William Wordsworth
One of the things we in ACA are to do as part of our recovery from our alcohol-tainted pasts is to re-parent ourselves, to retrain and repair our damaged, malfunctioning id called our inner child, creating a more stable and appropriately reactive ego or adult self.  The trick of this is that we are asking ourselves to do something that we have no real knowledge of.

We grew up in the dynamics that alcoholism creates, with drama, often rage, violent unpredictability, and a tendency for things to go wrong if at all possible.  There is an aloof parent, an overbearing parent, a perfectionist parent, a volatile parent, sometimes all in the same parent.  So we know how to chastise, stifle, disappoint, abandon, and frighten a kid.  But we don't know much about lovingly nurturing a kid.

Sometimes we make the mistake of indulging the inner child in avoiding the harshness that we know.  The inner child must be listened to, but the inner child is still a child.  And it does an adult inner child no more good to allow himself to eat chocolate cake until his stomach was about to burst than it would an actual child.

But what it is seeming to amount to as I begin to practice it on myself, is learning how to say nicely the things that have to be said regardless.  William Glasser in Choice Theory likes to say that ultimately all you can give another person is information.  In my estimation how you transmit the information can send another message other than the one intended.

I also have to admit it feels strange being nice to myself.  Almost like I am wearing shoes on the wrong feet.  But really, I have worn my shoes on the wrong feet for so long, it is taking me a while to get used to the difference.


The ACoA banked subject I have been skirting around without writing about it is Brian Wilson, the founder of the Beach Boys.  Since he recorded a song with this line in it, I present to you ahead of that post this excerpt from Smile.

No comments: