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Elspeth 
Posted: 11-Mar-2006, 11:18 PM
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I always had difficulty with the biblical idea of the sins of the father being visited upon later generations. Didn't seem fair.

But, I feel like I have stumbled upon that very anomaly when it comes to alcoholism's effect upon the family.

I grew up in a non-drinking household, in an anabaptist church that believed drinking to be immoral. There was no alcohol in our house, grandparent's houses, aunts & uncle's houses or those of family friends. Grew up in an alcohol void.

In some ways it left me ripe to marry an alcoholic. An enabler with no concept of degrees of drinking.

What puzzled me is why behaviors of the alcoholic/enabler relationship didn't seem odd to me. You'd think I'd be the last one to marry an alcoholic.

But, now in my forties the family stories have taken a different twist.

Turns out.... My great-grandfather owned and operated a bar and was no stranger to drink. He kept a bottle of whisky in his safe. Some of the male grandchildren used to climb on each other's shoulders so they could peak in the window and watch him open the safe. Spy until they got the combination, sneaking in and sharing the bottle between themselves. My dad will now tell stories of the uncles getting together after a day hunting, drinking and ending up brawling.
My mother now tells stories of her uncles on her mother's side of the family and their drinking ways. The one who lost the family farm because of the bottle. The ones who came to Thanksgiving drunk.

No wonder the ways of the alcoholic and enabler were familiar to me. I had been raised by people who had been raised by people who had been raised by people who had lived under the power of the influence.

Even though I never knew there was alcoholism in the family, I grew up tainted by its shadow.

The sins of the father visited upon future generations. In that light, it all makes a little more sense.




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haynes9 
Posted: 18-Mar-2006, 11:07 AM
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When we understand the principle and concept of the father's sins being passed down, we can do a lot to break the pattern. Having studied my family's past, I am keenly aware of the strengths and weaknesses we have possessed. I can go to the Scriptures and break ungodly patterns by submission to Christ. It is not always easy, of course, but what things worthwhile are?

It is my prayer that I will provide a Godly example for my children and grandchildren to emulate. If we're going to pass things down to our kids, we might as well pass down the good stuff!

By the way, I like your website, Elspeth! Very cool. I need to do that myself sometime!


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Shadows 
Posted: 18-Mar-2006, 11:54 AM
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Was this not called "original sin" at one point in time?

Did not Jesu die to remove this sin for all christians?

The biblical term "sins of the fathers" has deeper meaning then just direct relation to immediate family matters... much deeper.

Think about our origins from the animalistic world we started in to the animalistic world we now live in....





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Shadows 
Posted: 18-Mar-2006, 12:13 PM
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I will remove myself from this topic at this time, since when I do post here it sets off bells and whistles...

I will say this before I leave, I was raised catholic, had uncles and aunts that were priests and nuns. My mother is currently a minister ( priest as she prefers to be called ) in the church of england ( episcopal ).

I went to seminary school in my youth and I do have a very good working knowledge ot the faith.

I have found a closer way to be near god then this.
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Dogshirt 
Posted: 18-Mar-2006, 12:42 PM
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I too seem to set off the alarms, but I'll try to not do that.

Whether you call it sins of the fathers, a pattern, cycle, or tradition, we all tend to follow the same paths that we were raised in. At some point some of us stop, look around us and decide that this doesn't work for us. At this turning point you have to look at those around you and make choices to continue or make changes.
I grew up on a farm in the 50s. There were times when I was a kid that I did not see my father a week at a time because he was up before me and off to the fields, then not home till after I was in bed. Only to be seen on Sunday. Later, as a teenager, I did much the same thing, working the hay fields 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day. Then one day when I was 17 I took a look at how my life had gone to that point and made 2 decisions. 1; I was NEVER doing farm work again, and 2; That what ever I ended up doing for a living, that I would be involved in my kids life and NOT let work interfere.
And I have spent 20 years TRYING to be there for my boy, as Den Leader, Scoutmaster, and going to as many of his sports events as I could get too.

Sorry, didn't mean to ramble on like that, but point is that what we grow up with is not necessarily how we have to live our lives. thumbs_up.gif


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Elspeth 
Posted: 20-Mar-2006, 10:41 AM
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Hey Haynes! Let us know when you get a page up and running. Can't wait smile.gif

shadows and dogshirt - Didn't hear a single bell or whistle.

Shadows, what I'm talking about here is not quite the same as origional sin. It may be more the concept of we aren't punished so much for our sins, but by them. And the choices we make can haunt later generations through no fault of their own. Sins of the father. Not as a curse, but as a residual of choice. I think I'm skating pretty thinly on scripture right now, but I always bend over backwards towards grace. rolleyes.gif

Yeah, patterns can be broken, ds (if I keep trying to type your handle, I'm gonna mistype rolleyes.gif ) My husband made the same vow, and I think my brother as well. My dad worked afternoons and was never around when we were once we were in school. My husband's dad chose to be elsewhere. Both my husband and brother the choice to break the pattern and be very involved in all aspects of their children's lives.

But, patterns can only be broken if we realize they exist. I posted this as part of my blog on another site. A cousin of mine popped on and asked - why is it the family only ever talks about the good things when there is just as much to be learned from the bad?
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stoirmeil 
Posted: 20-Mar-2006, 10:57 AM
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OK. Ironically, this is exactly what I am studying quite formally now, chasing a credential in substance counselling. The present seminar is actually entitled: "Alcoholism: A Primary Disease?" (That's WITH the question mark.) I'm not going to wax details until they glow in the dark unless someone wants it, but I just want to say this: it's an old, old way of understanding the problem, this business of "sins of the fathers," and it has the validity of very shrewd folk observation that there are patterns of transmission that are very hard to kill. But to focus on what "sin" is, or more pointedly "original sin," and take it in that direction is to be wide of what the intergenerational pattern is really about. There is a genetic component, but it is far from a determining or causal element -- just one risk factor among many, and not at all the biggest one. The familial behaviour patterns that come down generations are far stronger, and they do NOT (not not not) include actual alcohol consumption in every generation or every branch of the family. But the heightened risk remains.

It's not just a semantic distinction, or a metaphor from another time that needs reevaluating. Talking about "sins of the fathers" stamps a messy and complicated intergenerational process as a characterological disorder, all fraught with guilt and disapproval. This does very little to help the individual who is affected, in fact it sometimes makes it harder for the person to make progress, and nothing at all toward understanding the transmission patterns in the direction of prevention.

I dunno if that was a bell or a whistle, or a big blasting honk. smile.gif In any case I hope it was relevant, at least with regard to that particular family problem.
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