TEN-STEP PROGRAM FOR GENEAHOLICS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS
H. David Morrow FuzzyGem@worldnet.att.net
(Previously published in MISSING LINKS Vol. 7, No. 46, 17 November 2002) http://www.petuniapress.com/
Sometime ago, I postulated that Geneaholics were the way they are because of a virus, probably contracted from a relative who is at least two generations older.
New medical research has shown that even if you cure the virus, the behavioral habits it caused still remain. So I have spent months studying how habits (addictions) can be changed. Using the most current pop psychology models, I have created a Ten-Step program for those afflicted with GhV (Genealogic Virus) and their caregivers. I call this program GhV-10.
Unlike the diet plans advertised on television, there are no required food purchases. There are no pills or patches. You don't even need a doctor's prescription. Further, I am giving it away for free. Not because I'm so darn magnanimous, but because the market for it is so poverty-stricken. Addictions, you see, have a way of ruining personal finances. After extensive survey, it is apparent to me that geneaholic caregivers (spouses, children, and other live relatives) have no money left to pay me for my ingenious solutions to their problem. They have already maxed out their credit cards buying genealogy forms; updated versions of genealogy software; copies of vital statistic records; etc. They have done this to support the afflicted relative, but to the detriment of their own financial status.
One spouse wrote me that he would be happy to spend any amount to cure his wife of GhV and had even developed a special way to finance it. First, he took out a full mortgage on his paid-up house. This gave him a large infusion of cash immediately. On the same day, at a different company, he took out a reverse-mortgage on the house which gives him a monthly check.
He calls this plan the Enron/MCI Dual Mortgage Package. He was going to call it the Jeffrey Skilling Plan, but he expects this financial vehicle to become very popular and doesn't want it to bear the name of a convict. But I digress.
In future articles, I will elaborate on each step so you may implement it effectively. I have noted who performs each step: GhVP = Geneaholic Virus Patient; CG = Caregiver.
What follows is an outline of the program caregivers will be administering and to which they and GhV patients must adhere.
1. (For CGs) CONFESS to everyone that you live with a GhV patient. This is the first step to correcting any addiction problem. After all, you can't fix something until you acknowledge it is broken. It is highly unlikely, however, that the geneaholic will recognize or admit there even is a problem.
2. (For CGs) ACTIVELY seek help. Join a GhV support group. You will discover such groups hold meetings on the same night as the local Genealogical Society. Remember a support group can meet anywhere. I recommend joining one which meets at the local bar. There are two reasons for this: first, it's fun! Second, when you get home after an evening of consumption, you won't mind the piles of paper all over every horizontal surface. Besides, when your geneaholic wants to tell you all about the Society's meeting, you probably won't hear a thing.
3. (For CGs) PUBLICLY admit geneaholism in front of other geneaholics. Accompany your GhV patient to a Genealogy Society meeting. Upon seeing a guest, the Society leaders will probably ask you to introduce yourself to the members. Practice what you're going to say AND how you're going to say it. Put on your saddest face and, in a frail voice, say, "My name is ______ and I am the spouse of a geneaholic." Then smile slightly and add, "But I hope s/he will recover soon."
4. (For GhVP) ANNOUNCE your intention to reform to your most aggrieved relative. This will usually be your spouse, but may include your children, too. Note to Caregivers: Upon hearing this announcement, your first inclination will be to celebrate. Do Not! Reformed geneaholics fall off the wagon so much they often break limbs.
5. (For GhVP) SEVER contacts with all genealogical associates (relatives, neighbors, friends, and members of the Genealogy Society). Run an ad in your local paper to find new friends who do not have GhV or its side effects.
6. (For CGs) COMBAT the sources of addiction. Get thee to the nearest office supply store and purchase a shredder. Immediately shred all genealogy paperwork and old photographs. Rearrange your domicile. Remove all plugs near desks or tables where the patient might be tempted to plug in a computer.
7. (For GhVP) CLEAN the computer's hard drive of all genealogy data. If you have the original installation disk, you might consider formatting the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. Don't worry about saving any financial programs as you (the patient) will not have kept them up-to-date anyway. Then contribute the computer to your local public school.
8. (For GhVP) BUY exercise equipment. Whenever you even think of going to the library to look at a census film, calculate how much time this would take (including travel) and run the same amount of time on a treadmill set at 4.5 miles per hour.
9. (For GhVP) CREATE a daily calendar on which you will list the activities (cleaning house, fix plumbing) you will do instead of searching for dead relatives. Those who departed this life long ago couldn't care less whether the toilet works or not, but the people you live with do.
10. (For GhVP) FINALLY, and this is probably the most important step: the best books on addiction recommend finding a new habit to replace the old one. So, adopt a new habit: smoking, drinking, quilting, woodworking.
Because the GHA (Genealogic Health Association) has not yet completed field tests on GhV-10, I cannot promise a specific success rate. However, the developers have reason to believe that for every 100 GhV patients who participate in the GhV-10 program, successes will be more than 0% and less than 100%.