pt 3 Interview Shaking the Family Tree

Eric:  How hard was it reliving certain moments while writing this book?

Ans:  It was quite difficult.  I was revisiting a lot of pain.  Pain that is especially raw when faced sober.  Most of the time I keep all of that in the rear-view mirror; not to be forgotten but at a safe distance.

Eric:  One of my favorite parts of the book is the part where you talk about the collage.  What does the collage mean to you?

Ans:  Working on that collage was definitely a pivotal point in my recovery.  I had only been sober a few months and was enrolled in group therapy sessions for Adult Children of Alcoholics.  One of the assigned tasks was to create a collage of photos that expressed how we felt about ourselves and our lives.  Since I had been a flat-liner most of my life and had chosen to drown all of those scary, unwanted feelings with alcohol, I had a hard time wrapping my head around that assignment.  I gathered up all kinds of periodicals: National Geographic, Psychology Today and my art magazines, and began cutting and pasting.  The process was transformational.  I would work on it at intervals, and when it became too painful, and I could no longer see through the river of tears, I would set it aside for a few days, but never out of sight, and return to it when I felt strong enough to deal with what it revealed.  I discovered that I did have feelings after all.  And I began to understand why I stuffed them.  They were all negative.  The finished product was a huge poster-board full of fear, anger, and sadness.  The only sliver of hope was a small section dedicated to my grandchildren.  I still have it.  faded and tattered as it is I use it once in a while when telling my story.  And when I look at it today, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that it is a relic that belongs to yesterday.

Eric:  What can non-addicts take away from this book?

Ans:  Hopefully a little better understanding of the disease.  The knowledge that no one is immune.  That it can strike anyone, at any time regardless of social status, gender or age.  And that not everyone has to ride the elevator of addiction, which only goes down, to the bottom.  That some are lucky enough to get off on another floor.


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