Compromised relationships

Stanley Gitlow teamed with a brilliant young researcher named Lynne Hennicke in the middle 70s. They studied a decent cohort of people during that time and came back with two findings. They found that every alcoholic-drug addict (read compulsive) had a compromised relationship with their parent of the same sex. At [C-CAD?] in 1978, when I was one year sober, Gitlow told us, "Every alcoholic and drug addict has a compromised relationship with the parent of the same sex". After the presentation I said, "Dr. Gitlow my daddy is one of the finest people I've ever known". He said, "Tell me your story". I said, "I was born very poor in the middle 30s. The depression was still as severe as it had been in 1929, if not worse. Daddy always had at least two jobs and sometimes three for the first ten years of my life. So he had gone to work before I got up in the morning and he came home after I had gone to bed at night. I saw my daddy consistently for about 2 or 3 hours on a Sunday morning when we went to church".

My mother raised me. So, most of my communication skills are female. I listen better, I nurture better. Basically am a nurturer. I learned that from my mother. All my male skills I learned from dirty books and locker rooms. I played in my first football game when I was in 3rd or 4th grade at High School. All my male skills came out of that activity and the measuring stick of success in men's locker rooms is a completely different from that in the world outside.

Where do we learn our coping skills? Where do we learn how to live in the world as a grown up? Big brothers and big sisters often function well. So do twelve step programs. They give us sponsors. Ideally sponsors should have good recovery time, should have been through the Big Book and should be sponsored by someone who has been through the Big Book. But they should be virtually a surrogate parent too because we're all little boys and girls in grown-up clothes.