Wednesday, July 21, 2010
OUT OF THE CLOSET
It's Mizmollye and Punkin Darlin all the way. But.........
what do we keep in our closets? Things we don't want to have out in the open. Right?
And there is a huge part of who I am that I don't keep out in the open and after much thought and prayer on my part I have decided to "come out of the closet" with all of you for one reason. I think I have a story to tell that cannot be as effective and maybe as important to someone out there if I keep that part of myself locked away in my closet to only be taken out for a choice few.
Now I realize that there may be some who are offended, some who may not want to be my friends and perhaps some who just do not understand. If so...I won't say my feelings will not be hurt, but I will understand that sometimes things are just not what you'd like them to be and after weighing the consequences, I've decided to get honest with all of you my blogging sisters who've I come to know and love like crazy.
And if the truth be known, I'll bet some of you have been affected one way or the other by the bug that bit me long ago.
I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. There I said it.
I have a sobriety birthday of July 14, 2002. And with humility and gratitude I just celebrated 8 years of continuous sobriety.
Now we who are recovering from an addictions are eager to tell "our story" to others in the hopes that someone who still suffers may be helped by hearing us tell what our life used to be like, what happened and what our life is like today.
And as you might imagine, this is likely to be a very long post so if you're interested and just can't hang around long enough to read it, I will post "My Story" on my sidebar and you can return to read it later.
From the time I was a very small girl I always felt "less than". Different and not as good as. I don't know why because I came from a happy family. There were only three people in our family who had a problem with alcohol. My grandmother, my grandfather (both my mother's parents) and my uncle (my mom's brother). I cannot remember being affected by them as I rarely saw them drink or saw the fallout from. But I always had the "izzms".
At the age of 18 I was a single mom and again at the age of 20. I felt that I was a huge disappointment to my parents, because in the early '60's this was totally unacceptable and very shameful. But my girls and I were happy and I had a good job as a telephone operator. I felt the only thing missing in our little family was a D-A-D-D-Y and I soon found one. He was cute, had a new car, lived across the street with his momma, had a day job and sang in a band. I felt at that age that he had all the requirements! He was the one. Yep he was the one alright (NOT) and without going into any details suffice it to say my life was anything but happy. We later had two sons and when my youngest son Jake was 15, I left the marriage and never looked back. I had spent 19 years in a very disfunctional marriage. As to drinking, we were not big drinkers and we could not afford it anyway, but regardless of the amount or frequency of our drinking, the outcome was always the same. BAD. It brought out the worst in both of us. Our children went through years of atrocities uncalled for.
After our divorce, I jumped into the fire again after only 6 months and once again, when nothing changes...nothing changes and I married a charismatic good looking barber from south Louisiana. A Cajun. And an accomplished daily drinker. So that is what I became. Our marriage was volatile. We loved each other but clearly both were sick. When you are sick and you don't know it, you don't know how to get well. My sickness in addition to a severe allergy to alcohol, was that I was of such a low self esteem and never felt that I deserved to be happy, to have anything nice, or for anyone to treat me nice that I always felt more comfortable being physically and emotionally, verbally abused. He also became sick as a direct result of alcohol and died a horrible death after 15 years of marriage.
Well I was a widow at the age of 56 and didn't even know how to start a lawnmower, or balance a checkbook. I had always had faith and knew God from a teen but certainly did not live reflecting that. However God indeed brought me through some very dark days following his death. After about 18 months, I realized I was still alive and had lots of living to do. I began living a very unhealthy lifestyle and hung around lots of sick people,unsavory places and again used alcohol to mask my pain, guilt and shame. A couple of my children turned away from me and I was not allowed to be a part of my grandchildren's lives. I felt dirty, rotten, worthless, useless and became very, very depressed. I thought more than once of ending my life. I believed my family hated me. I now know they never hated me, they hated my disease.
One morning I sat at my kitchen table and while drinking a cup of coffee God spoke to me with a mercy I did not deserve. He told me I did not have to live the rest of my life like I was living. I listened. Finally something had changed.
I called the local number of a 12-step program to recovery and they mailed to me a little schedule of meetings. I waited a few days and planned to make my first meeting on a Sunday night. I got lost trying to find the place and called and went back the next night, and the next and the next and I made a meeting every night and every weekend twice a day for one year! Then before you knew it I had been sober for two years. Then three and now.....................
Today my life is so very different that I sometimes pinch myself to see if it is really true. I met my husband after I came to know sobriety and we have a marriage that I only thought existed in fairy tales. He loves me unconditionally and treats me like a princess. He has so much respect and admiration for me. He also loves my children. They in turn all adore and love him. I love him more than I thought I was capable of. He is my soulmate, my best friend. He is not my past, but he is my present, a gift. I hope he will always be my future.
Today I am close to all my children and while I missed so much of being a grandmother, I still love and have a relationship with my grandchildren and have such joy in being a great-grandmother. Today I know how to be a friend. I do not take my sobriety lightly or for granted. I lost both parents while I was still in my addiction and I reacted badly. I regret my mother did not live to see me in recovery.
I got the nightmarish telephone call that every mother prays she'll never receive. That of telling me my youngest son had shot himself and was dead. He too was coming up on three years of sobriety for the same disease and was so grateful. Jake was just simply a Godly man. I pray it was an accident. I believe it was an accident though I have not been told. That was June 17, 2010. Just a month ago.
Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death each and every day since that phone call, I'm not alone for Jesus Christ walks beside me. He comforts me and restores my soul. I will survive.
I am doing well. I could not have endured this horrendous pain and agony if I were still a practicing alcoholic. I attribute much of my strength aside from my family to the loving friends I've connected with in bloggyland. You, my sisters.
I have learned to balance my checkcook and in fact I am the "bookkeeper" in our family. We even "save" today! I am active in my church. I do volunteering with various groups. I go to meetings to be with others who have found what I have and I try to practice the principals of the program daily. I have a good life. We're not well off financially, but my husband has a good job and is a hard working man. We bought a house. The house he grew up in. I feel blessed and think I am the "richest" girl in the world.
We get on our knees before we go to bed at night thanking God for another day and I go over the days events and when I realize I've not been the woman I should have been that day, I try to make my amends to whomever I have offended and try to work on the areas that crop up in my life that need a good overhaul. God delivered me of the obsession to drink and he gives me serenity one day at a time. My serenity is contingent to the way I choose to live. I have to continuously think of you before myself and when I put myself first, you can be sure there is a trainwreck around the bend.
I accept alcoholism as a disease and also a family disease. Everyone close to the alcoholic is affected. My daughters are active in the sister program which helps them take care of themselves and teaches them that they are not responsible for anyone but themselves as they did not cause it, they cannot cure it, and they cannot control it. "It" being the one with the disease. We're a family in recovery. A family that was sick and is getting well. We've learned how to be there for each other in a healthy way.
I hope by opening my closet and trying to be as honest as I have the right to be that I may help someone out there who is hurting and does not know where to turn. All I have is today and what I am asked to do in return for my today is to share my experience,strength and hope for a brighter tomorrow! We do this one day at a time.
So for all of you who have commented on my strength and are amazed at the peace I've been able to find following Jake's death, you now know from where it comes and how it came about.
I love you all!