You know, alcoholism is a really terrible thing. All addictions are really terrible in general of course. I'll always judge the chemical ones more harshly though. Its true that no addiction is harmless, but to me drugs and alcohol are just the worst. There are other ways to get out of your own head that don't endanger yourself of those around you. I can't help but think of those who abuse substances like that as total cowards. I do know that I'm no better. You know. When I feel like being honest with myself.
I also think I confuse being honest with myself with being self depreciating. Probably not though. I'm pretty much a mess at this point in my life. I've been depressed so long I don't know what feeling good about yourself is like. It really seems like a fairytale at times. The hell is happiness anyways? Fuck it. I don't need it you know. I just want it more than air.
I don't clearly remember being told as a child that we weren't allowed to tell anyone at school that mommy and daddy drank every night, but I know that we were. We weren't allowed to talk about the roaches either. They were Secrets. No no, not secrets, I'm talking about Secrets. The difference between a Secret and a secret is the heavy crushing weight it leaves in your chest when you think about it. The capital letter really doesn't do the feeling justice, but it's a decent start.
There are several coping roles that children of alcoholics tend to take on, and I just happen to be a pretty good example of the 'Lost Child'. That kind of means that I'm a non confrontational escapist hermit with low self esteem and a disconnect from my own feelings. I have learned to voice my complaints a little bit more over the years, but it's still all largely accurate. Learning about it as an adult was kind of like going through life missing a limb and not noticing. Then one day someone points it out to you and you're just like; Oh. Well shit. That kind of explains a lot.
I remember being in a parent teacher conference with my fifth grade teacher. I'll never forget what she told my mother. She expressed what a delight I was to have in the classroom and that she wished that she could teach an entire class of me. I was flattered of course, but at the same time the idea of a class room full of students who all felt the same way that I did horrified me. It's even more horrifying to know that a class full of little 'Lost Children' like me is actually possible.
My father died at age 47 because he ruined his body with his lifestyle. He was completely sober his last few years of life though. I was proud of him, and he really became the kind of man that I was proud to call my father. I'll...well I'll probably never stop missing him. My mother is a year older than him and has been a functioning alcoholic for as long as I can remember. She changed nothing after their separation.
I love my mother. I love her a lot. I just can't stand what she is doing to herself. My greatest fear is that her heart will give out just like his did and then I'll have nothing left. Every time she calls into work or sleeps in and I notice that she isn't up at her normal time I go into her bedroom and watch to make sure that shes still breathing. I wont be able to concentrate until I just know
Even if the knowledge is awful, it doesn't compare the the knowledge that I sat there unknowingly while she was dead
. Its not out of a creepy factor or anything, thought that would be horribly creepy. Its that no one knew that my father had died until it was realized that no one had heard from him for a week. His body had sat there for a week with no one the wiser. That wont happen again.
Occasionally my sister and I will try to talk to our mother about getting help. My sister took on the 'Family Hero' role. She is the embodiment of all that is good. She is the smart one, the successful one, the one who is our rock. I feel guilty that she has to carry that burden, its not fair for her to always have to be the strong one. Talking to our mother about her addiction doesn't help. She doesn't want help. She doesn't think of herself as having a problem. Nothing that we say will get through to her.
It's frustrating. It hurts. It makes me angry
. I bottle things up though and ignore the real issue. I lash out at people when I'm angry at stupid insignificant things and refuse to examine whats really the issue.
You know. Until I explode.
I exploded all over my mom one night. A big messy explosion of feelings and tears. I laid everything out on the table. I told her how each and every thing she was doing made me feel. How miserable I was watching her kill herself. How scared I was that she wasn't going to be there for my niece and her granddaughter. That she was going to leave us just like dad unless she changed something and soon
. I bared my soul out for her to see.
She stared at me where I was standing in bathroom the door way with and unreadable expression on her face, like she wasn't sure quite what she should be feeling at that moment.
"Well...thank you for telling me all of that..."
A sob rushed free from the back of my throat. It was like a slap in the face. I didn't want to hear the rest. I ran from the room ignoring her calling out for me to wait. My bed was a safe haven and curled up into the corner and buried my face into a pillow. Then I just let it all out. I let myself cry out all the pain and heartache that I'd been keeping inside. I hadn't cried like that in years.
Eventually she came and sat on the edge of my bed. She didn't make any attempt to comfort me. She didn't say anything. She just sat there.
At some point I stopped crying and sat there ignoring. I was a huge soggy pile of misery and I had no door to close her out of. My 'bedroom' is a sectioned off portion of the living room you see. It was about this time that my brother walked by and grabbed my car keys. Its funny you see, because I asked him where he was going, because I kind of wanted him to pick me up some ice cream if he was going to the store. Turns out he was just heading out to buy our mother some beer.
Needless to say I immediately started sobbing again and I guess this time my mother felt somewhat guilty since she called him on his phone to wait and then went outside to talk to him. I cried myself to sleep that night and when I woke up there was a carton of strawberries in the fridge that wasn't there before.
My favorite fruit magically showed up overnight. It was the middle of winter.
Guilt strawberries. They were guilt strawberries.
I ate them anyways.
They weren't very sweet.