A Sense of Belonging

Anyone who has ever sat in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous is likely to have heard at least one or more individuals say that whilst growing up and as adults they never felt as if they belonged, with a fitted in.

They may not enlarge upon this feeling they had, they may not explain what they did not feel they belong to or what they feel they did not fit into, but most people who are alcoholics will understand and identify with the sentiment.

It is one of the perhaps unique features of meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, whether held in a rehab or outside the world of rehab, that individuals share certain character traits and beliefs which other people who are alcoholics readily identify with.

This sense of identification is often a key part of giving new, and often people around sometime, a sense of identity, and a sense of feeling they are in the right place in order to deal with their alcoholism.

This sense of not belonging, or not fitting in, is a felt sense that is often very common amongst children who grow up in homes where one or both of the parents are active alcoholics.

Often this growing up in what is known as an alcoholic home has many different side-effects, but one of the main ones is that the children will feel a lack of safety, a lack of permanence and a lack of any sense of adult control over their lives.

This sense of no one being in control often leads the children themselves to believe that they have to take a sense of control over their lives, and this leads to a completely disjointed sense of responsibility at an age where it is completely inappropriate.

One of the major side-effects of growing up in an alcoholic home, is that there is not this natural sense of belonging, a sense of which is more likely to be commonplace in a loving and secure home environment.

There is not a natural and unconditional acceptance of the children, instead the children will feel that they have to earn a sense of being loved and wanted and belonging to the family.

The legacy of this type of needing to earn a sense of being wanted and loved can have devastating consequences for the child, both at the time and in later life. It is probably fair to say, based on anecdotal evidence, that a large percentage of members of Alcoholics Anonymous grew up in homes that could be described as alcoholic as outlined above.

Acknowledging what the problem is, and where it has come from is a crucial part of recovery, and one of the first major emotional insights that a rehab should be working towards helping the individual understand and integrate into their adult life.