I knew it. I fucking knew it. It's a known fact that the first family night session you start with, is that same family night session you end with. IOP is an eight week class. Tuesday nights are family nights. Every Tuesday has a theme. Every theme has a speaker.-Maybe that's vice-versa, whatever.- Anyway, to ensure every client gets a chance to hear each presentation, the speakers are set up on a seven week cycle. Every seven weeks they come and present. Seven weeks ago-and my very first night at IOP-I listened to some guy talk about Genograms.
I picture a genie and a golden lamp, that when rubbed, out pops some fucking hologram singing "Don't stop believing" by Journey. The voice would be more Huey Lewis than Steve Perry.
The speaker tonight is tall, somewhat overweight, and before even speaking gives the vibe that maybe, just maybe, he got his ass kicked in high school. A Complete fucking dufus, nerd, dork. For the remainder of this evening, lets call him “Guy”.
To start the meeting, Guy asks the group if we've ever heard of "homeostasis", and that "it's probably not a word you've heard since the sixth grade." "I don't think I've ever heard that word." I say to myself. Then again, I went to school in Idaho. Guy asks the group what “homeostasis” means. Someone from the group shouts “Bad Breath”, another kid from the back says “Complacent with being gay?” I already know the answer. I know all the answers. My wife Candice who was with me seven weeks ago knows the answers. We’ve memorized the whole story. Guy stands on one leg and holds both his arms out. The word Guy is looking for is "Balance." While he begins his speach, I whisper things like "stress throws off balance." and "It's like a thermostat." Moments later, Guy says stuff like "stress throws off balance." and "It's like a thermostat." Tonight's conversation is centered around the idea that personalities, addictions,and even disease can all be traced back to your lineage. On one hand I'm relieved I no longer have to take accountability for my addiction. It's all my family's fault right? On the other hand, it makes me pretty depressed to know that I was fucked from day one. I never had a chance in hell at becoming a sober human being. I might as well of sucked Jeager Mister from my moms tit instead of milk.(Only if it was chilled of course)
To show us just how doomed we are at birth, Guy hands all of us a piece of paper with strange markings on it. At first glance, I thought it was hieroglyphics. Some strange Egyptian text depicting the anatomy of a junkie. Before I realized they didn't have needles in ancient Egypt, Guy explained the purpose behind this pictogram. The symbols are as follows:
Square/Circle with bottom half filled in=Alcoholic/drug addiction
Triangle with X inside=abortion
Triangle with Mustache=Went on Maury to claim "I'm not the father bitch..."
On the right hand side of the marker board, Guy writes a name to hard pronounce. I think it's Swedish or some shit. On the opposite side, he writes another name. I also think it's Swedish or some shit. Guy displays his lineage on the board, pointing out that from his family, comes decade after decade of addiction and abuse. Some circles were filled, some were left blank, but each generation had an alcoholic/addict in the family. This is were I should say things like "wow" or "that's amazing." Even a "I never thought of it that way." would do.
The point Guy tries to make is; Every family has their shit. Fucking Shocker right? If lineage were an ice cream, my flavor would be shit stained underwear, sprinkled with fumunda cheese compared to Guy's mediocre Mint Chocolate Chip slathered with redundancy. After generation after generation after generation of addiction in Guy's family, it now comes to Guy and his siblings.
" So just what do you think happened to us" he asks.
O' please no, the pandemonium.
He stands in front of the genogram, shielding his results. We hear the screech from the marker as he fills in the results. As the smell of permanent marker reaches the air duct, half the class takes a deep breath. After a few minutes, the screetching stops.
And his family's next top alcoholic is...not Guy. In fact he's marked every one of his three siblings except him. I whisper something like "I've never touched it, because I knew if I did, I wouldn't be able to put the bottle down." After a short pause Guy says something like "I've never touched it, because I knew if I did, I wouldn't be able to put the bottle down."