stray cats and alcoholics

by Andrea Elizabeth

The other day a stray, skinny female cat showed up on our front porch. We have four cats already, so I told my daughter to just give her some dry food and water, but that we can’t do anything more for her than that. A couple of days later during the early morning, we heard lots of cat distress sounds under our window. My husband thought that the female cat will now have babies. Then the next day a big, mean-looking male cat strutted across our back porch and brazenly looked in the window.

At first I was filled with guilt for not taking Priscilla in and having her fixed when she had asked for help. I felt it was my fault that she now would have to fend not only for herself, but for her babies. I thought that Priscilla and I had lost, and that Bluto had won, and was triumphantly gloating in my face.

Then I thought of how perpetrators of crimes gloat. I guess they’re the ones that say Aha! Aha! in Psalms. But the Psalms also say don’t be upset when sinners prosper in their way. Being upset does a lot of damage to our souls. Reading Psalms is a nice way to work through it.

Monday I listened to the first half of the Diane Rehm show on new treatments for Alcoholism, and at first I was caught up in the terminology and the ways of determining the stages of admitting one has a problem. Then when Ms. Rehm cut off a guest and he protested, I started paying attention to the dynamics between the guests. I bet all of them are recovering alcoholics themselves, or were maybe children of alcoholics. I got the impression that they had worked hard to overcome dysfunction, but that underneath they were still upset. It seemed that when there was tension over the unfairness, that each also began taking on the roles that individuals in families take on to cope with dysfunction.

I think these roles are a perceived fix to being upset or panicked over not having supportive relataionships. They are quick fixes to prop themselves up when the someone is taking a wrecking ball to the family. They can’t let things just lay around broken, and they are very upset. They can’t cope with how upset they are, so they desperately try to fix it or some other exaggerated response.

So here are these adult, functional professionals who are still upset and acting according to their childhood habitual way of problem solving. They should probably admit they have a problem and read the Psalms.