I open the cupboard door and remove the flour scooping out a wee bit; making my way into the dining room, bending down sitting on my haunches, rubbing my fingers in the flour and with my right index and middle finger I lean forward marking a make-believe bunny trail on the hardwood floor.
The kids awaken each Easter to our annual family treasure hunt, each year the clues more challenging, and each year filled with love, laughter, happy and anticipation. The girls love it. I love it. The Sailor loves it…
it is a Family Tradition.
The making of family traditions in the house I grew up in were few, and the ones that stand out most were of the toxic variety and not Kodak making moments.
My Father a great provider of food, clothing and shelter, but that seems insignificant when compared to the meanness he possessed, especially when he drank, and when he drank he drank heavily, yet that never interfered with his work, he was as much enticed by money as drink and women…
She just looks at him, “We need the keys.”
Those simple words still with me years later or maybe it is her I see standing there before him and him looking at her, just looking at her. I’ve often wondered if those were guilty eyes looking back at her or if he even cared, I don’t know, I was too young to understand.
He hands over the keys and just sits there with his beer and companion.
We leave. He doesn’t follow…
Standing outside the pizzeria, across the street from the ball-park, where earlier we acted family like; dangling the keys, she wears a smile…
“kids let’s go home and get something to eat”, she says, as we begin to make our way towards the car…
Back at home; she smiles some more, she talks, she cooks… we sit at the table and the four of us eat our dinner, as if all were well with the world.
She tried to make it okay with a smile and for a moment she did, yet I can only imagine the emotional price of degradation she paid in a world of lets cover up the ugly.
I’ve done much work on letting go, reaching a place of acceptance with my past because I cannot afford the price I pay to carry the anger burden… finding closure and peace along the way, yet from time to time my past rears its ugliness and I react; I am grateful that I have an arsenal of go to tools to combat the negative… sometimes I come out of it quickly, and other times slowly.
“Resentment is like taking poison expecting someone else to die.” Unknown
“Whatever we write on the hearts or our
children is not erased by time.” –unknown
“I do think some people don’t really understand, but that’s okay, it would be impossible for them to unless they found themselves exactly in my situation. When it comes to someone drawing from their personal experience, which has similarities and also differences it’s just easier, I think, to tell people what they should do, without knowing all the variables. It’s not like I can sweep my kids up in our imaginary car and drive them somewhere to stay for the night and pay with imaginary money.” Anonymous
I no longer wonder why my Mom stayed; I did for years, since letting go, all I know is my Mom tried with all she knew, she tried, and she loved and she laughed… she tried her terribly best. But, she romanced denial and ignored the pink elephant in the room like a boss –it was her defense against the darkness that plagued our home; the part she played is hers to own.
“You never really understand a person
until you consider things from his point of view —
until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
To Kill a Mockingbird
I’ve concluded that our home was a less drunk home than the one she grew up in, especially considering the stories she shared about her father. The grand pops made my father seem a saint like in comparison.
My grandfather lived hard, and violence and booze were his way of life. In the late 20′s and 30′s, he ran moonshine behind the wheel of his mobile through the hills of Tennessee; the Dry Movement held little consequence for him… giving great validity to those with a want greater than fear of consequence really cares less to uphold right much less the law.
Maybe boozing it up is in my genes; leaving me pre-disposed a drunk, I don’t know. I honestly don’t care to know… not anymore.
I’ve known kids that grew up similar to the way I did and never developed a drinking problem, maybe relationship problems, but they stayed in school, graduated, went on to college and now have successful high paying jobs.
Heck, I had a successful job with a corner office, having my nails done, hair did, wearing expensive clothing, owned a car, my own three bed-room house and all during one of my worst ’bouts’.
My life out of control and unmanageable; addiction took me, all of me and eventually took my possessions. I quit my family and my friends. I quit my job. I lost my home. My life was dark, yet I had a physical craving more powerful than knowing better, family, friends, job, vanity, love.
I’d apologize for my transgressions and then for a moment they believed me because they love me, and they wanted more than anything to believe. And I tried; until the next time.
There was always a next time. And then they got mad. And then I felt justified. This vicious merry-go-round cycle of doing the same thing over and over expecting different results were insane, but we all continued to step back on the merry-go-round, over and over and once more.
One fall afternoon, I sat in my car as I was about to get out to go inside the store because I had the shakes badly and needed something to calm my nerves, I looked up and see these eyes, I did not recognize the person looking at me, and something I heard years earlier knocked on my conscience, a seed planted; “It is one thing to tell a lie and another to live a lie.” I began to cry.
I was living a lie. Everything about it seemed unreal; the intense realization hit hard and I just sat there looking in the rear-view mirror as the tears fell… I prayed for relief.
So, instead of getting out of the car I picked up the phone and asked for help… And just like that my beginning to learning sober living began.
I’ve heard people ask, “What is it going to take for you to quit?”
Every bottom is different –a drink obsession is incredibly cruel. So, what can you do if you love a drunk?! The only thing; take care of yourself.
Do you believe in God? I’ve heard some say, “there but for the grace of God go I” which, is my least favorite quotation, ever. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but I cannot imagine God, sitting in heaven charitably doling out mercy… “okay you, you and you get it, but you over there, sorry buddy, not you!
Yes, I believe in grace; I believe we are all blessed with sell-will. it just so happens mine has run riot at times. I am incredibly rebellious. I’ve learned how I use it is up to me; stopping getting the stuff that got me intoxicated was the beginning of turning that will over to something greater than myself.
What I do know with certainty anyone and everyone with a drink problem who seeks will find sobriety if they can get honest, work with others and stop the blame game; Whatever your spiritual or religious belief!
I got dry, and it was as physically painful as it was emotionally and mentally and spiritually, but I did it. I did it because I asked for help; I got willing to stop doing things my way… I became teachable.
I get to live my life free from booze, but I am still me, and no matter where I go there I am. I am a work in progress… selfish, self-centered as much today, as before, but the difference is that I acknowledge this about myself, and I strive for different. I do different; therefore, I am different.
I haven’t had a drop of booze in me or in my home for 11 years, 3 months, 25 days, but who’s counting… I AM. I AM. I AM incredibly grateful. I don’t ever, ever want my kids to smell booze oozing from me or see where it can take me.
I want sober for me.
I am a drunk… a drunk is always in me.
I will never escape what is me but what I cannot escape I can break because breaking the family tradition of drunkards is good…
Real good –I am sober!
Some people can drink alcohol with immunity from obsession. They can consume without causing havoc in their life or the lives of others. These people don’t spend rent money on booze or break their children’s piggy banks for a buck to get what their body requires. They don’t sit in their car all day drinking instead of going to work. They don’t spend their waking day with an uncontrollable urge to consume a drink… help is available, it isn’t easy, some times it is so hard you feel as if you might explode or implode or that your ass might fall off.
If you’re troubled by someones drinking help is available, and if you’re a parent with children help is available… if you are that parent and your child cannot have two healthy parents they deserve at least one, so let it be you!
About Al-Anon Family Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous : Is A.A. For You?