Dr. Mama has a post on her BLOG http://doctormama.blogspot.com/2006/11/i-didnt-mean-right-now.html about a former patient who just recently drank herself to death. It spoke about how this lady cared about nothing other than her alcohol. How she had no interest in her daughter nor her granddaughter. That made me think back (uh-oh)!
I have never considered myself to be a bleeding heart or anything like that. I believe we all pay for our choices in life and if my road is a little rockier than yours has been, then I just have to get over it. Regardless of that, I think about things a little differently as I grow older.
This lady no doubt hurt a lot of people, probably most of all her grown child. I know at 46, I still yearn for my mothers’ acceptance and love, although I have stopped holding my breath. With an alcoholic parent, you can just about say you have no parent.
What about the alcoholic mother? Who was she? What lived inside of her that her best option was to attempt to keep it smothered through the use of alcohol?
I have struggled with depression since 1992, and in the past year or two, anxiety has entered this vast “playground in my mind”. It isn’t enough that when my medications don’t work (and sometimes eve when they do) I spend the majority of my days wishing I wouldn’t wake up and crying for no apparent reason, now I can’t go out in public without my heart pounding and my chest feeling like it will explode while the sweat pours off me.
For instance, a few weeks ago my husband and I joined the church we had been visiting for some weeks. In our area, in our denomination, you join a church by walking down front and telling the pastor you would like to join the congregation. After he talks with you for a moment, he will have you stand there by him at the front of the church, while he announces to the church and God and everybody, that this "fine couple" would like to join, where they will then all smile and clap their hands or say, “Amen” or whatever.
Now I would NOT want to see a video of what I must have looked like at that moment. Not that our church videos it services’, but still. We stood there about 10 minutes while he introduced us and then afterwards everyone walked by us and shook our hands welcoming us to their church family.
Had it lasted one minute more, I can assure you someone in that line would have had to go home and shower, because I was doing all I could not to hurl. Sweat was pouring off me like a breastfeeding mother in a room full of hungry babies. (I'm sorry - my attempt at humor falls so short some days).
I was shaking and I could FEEL the red in my face where I fully expected blood to come cascading out of my pores any time. I felt so bad for the church folk, because though I didn’t look up at them while the preacher was introducing us, I am sure 90% of them were smiling at us. I’m standing there, sweating, shaking, and thinking, “Look at them!! You're being rude! Look at them!! Smile at them!!” but I just couldn’t. I looked up over the sea of faces once, for a split second, and the room started to spin. I figured whether I stared down at the floor the whole time, or puked on the folks sitting on the front pew, either way they’re gonna think “She’s a nut”.
Now I have not always had this problem. I am a former cop. I was a substitute teacher in our high school for several months at one point. Folks, neither of those are jobs for anyone with the severe anxiety I suffer from. Teenagers can eat a substitute alive and then ask for more afterwards.
I have no idea where this came from, nor how to get rid of it. Yeah I had an abusive sucky childhood and then married an abuser at the tender age of 15 and was immediately “discouraged” (spelled = forbidden) from seeing my family and friends and basically spent the next few years alone with a child and a husband.
I dropped out of school at 16. No prom. No dating or going out with my friends or normal phases of growing up. We had no phone, no neighbors, one car, and were five miles to the nearest pay phone. But even with all my baggage, I thought once you were old enough and mature enough, this stuff didn’t bother you; didn’t leave any lasting effect on you. If my problem is not from the warped life I had– I don’t know what caused it.
I will tell you this though; there was a time, a few years back, when I began to drink. It began when I first realized my marriage was over. I was 38.
Before I knew what I had done, I had slipped down that slippery cliff where I was drinking a couple of nights a week then driving 52 miles home – completely & totally wasted. When I finally left my marriage, and was living in a little unfurnished apartment (yep – I walked away with nothing after 24 years!), I was drinking every day that I didn’t have to work. Alone.
I never enjoyed the taste (does anybody really drink because they like the taste???). I never sipped either. I SLAMMED. Scotch, gin, whiskey. No little cute drinks with umbrellas, just pure straight alcohol. I drank with one purpose in mind...I wanted to be numb. I wanted the ugliness to go away, and it did for a while, even as I was worshipping the porcelain god at least the memories were far away. The voices that belittled me and told me how worthless I was my entire life ceased to speak at least for a little while.
I look back and cannot believe I risked other peoples’ lives by driving that way. I KNEW better! I deserve every rotten comment I may get on this one! I didn’t want to hurt anyone else, but every night I would drive down that interstate thinking how could I aim my car just right so that it would run into one of those huge pillar things and kill me without it looking intentional. I wanted to die so badly but I didn’t want to embarrass anyone doing it.
I am a middle age, white-collar professional. You would never have looked at me and thought of me as an alcoholic, someone who would leave work, get totally wasted, then drive 50 some odd miles home.
I thank God that He protected those around me during that period of time. I also thank Him for choosing to protect me through my stupidity, and allowing me the grace to not drink again.
Folks, I’m not condoning how that lady lived and died, I’m just saying I surely can understand it. Sometimes, you’ll do anything to get rid of those pesky little voices, even if it requires throwing up afterward.