Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The rise and fall of an alcoholic part 1

This post was brought to you by an idea from reading a post at Bricotrout's about drinking and not drinking. Several people have mentioned in comments that I'm a good Mom, and I am... now. That wasn't always the case for me, I am so lucky that my kids turned into happy healthy adults and that they don't hold my stupidity against me. It just goes to show you that no matter how badly one's mistakes in life are, children love their parents... Thank God.
Let's take another trip down memory lane...
My childhood was a bit non-traditional, my Dad was a very active alcoholic, my Mom was not physically around, through a turn of events I ended up in foster care and eventually reunited with my Mom and I moved in with her at the age of 15. A very difficult age to be, under the best of circumstances. At that age, in some ways I was very sheltered, in others I was pretty street savey, it was an odd combination. To my Mother's credit, she took on the responsibility of raising a child who until then had pretty much been raising herself. In earlier years, I had been overly responsible and when I moved in with my Mom, it was the first time I felt safe enough to just be a teenager... and I was, with a vengence. Some of this may come as a surprise to family as it was my job as a teenager to keep these things hidden... it was something I did pretty well.
Every family has it's genetic tendencies... Things that did not start with me, my parents or even their parents, some of these things are passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. In my family, it's addiction. If you add all of the family members on both sides, I can count the number on one hand that has escaped a personal battle with drug or alcohol addiction. Of those few not affected, fewer still are the ones that don't take a personal inventory occasionally just to be sure their habits are not getting out of hand. Because I was rather distant from family for many years... few had any idea just what my day to day life was like or how much I had lost control over my life.
I had always been surrounded by alcohol, it wasn't hidden from me nor was it kept out of my reach. I had seen my Father drunk on many, many occasions and on my Father's side, this was just all "normal" behavior. Alcohol was the center of every family gathering and drinking alcohol as accpeted at drinking water. I do not remember when I took my first drink, either I was too young to remember, or it was so accepted that it did not seem like a landmark in my life. While I knew I did not want to be like my Father on the one hand, the corralation between drinking and becoming an alcoholic completely escaped me.
I started drinking regularly as a teenager. Some my Mom knew about, lots she didn't. I so desperatly wanted to fit in somewhere with my peers, whom I felt seldom understood me that I tucked in with the first group who would accept me... the partiers. On weekends we played like many kids do, we were always at someones house drinking and smoking weed. I had made friends with some older guys, with their own apartment and it was party heaven as we never had to worry about parents. By my Junior year in High School, I was sneaking Mom's vodka to school for a little lunchtime boost. I'm pretty sure this is where I learned the skill of drinking just enough all the time to be buzzed and yet to function as though nothing was going on. I also learned how to hide things rather well. I loved the attention I got from my peers because of my ability to out drink almost everyone and still be functional, as a teenager, any attention is good attention... and I was (still am) quite competetive. I was very insecure, but while drinking I found that I was the life of the party, the focus of attention and of course my jokes were funnier, my antics more interesting, while drinking I was accepted and I thought that drinking brought out the "real" me, the funny me, the popular me that was hidden deep inside and that never showed itself when I was not drinking. I had every reason to continue.
At this point, I still don't think I was yet an alcoholic, I was just developing a problem... I did have a lull in my drinking in the following years and I really didn't miss it too much. It was the lull before the storm.
We ended up moving to Salem, my home today, between my Junior and Senior year of High School. I had calmed down some and was trying to settle in. Shortly after beginning my Senior year I met a boy, #4 & 5's father. He was a good kid and he thought he saw something good in me too. He went to church on Sundays and was a rock solid guy. He was quite the influence in my life and I was getting attention from this guy, positive attention, while I was sober. This was a good thing. He offered me the stability that I craved and potentially a future. Four months after my 18th birthday, we married. I looked up to him and did not want to disappoint him. We went to church together and I stayed sober. #4 came along after a couple of years. Soon I began to feel smothered. We had this child and his father had definate ideas about how he wanted this child raised. He had very "christian" ideas about that, many of which I did not necessarily agree with. I am not stay at home Mom material. I wish I were, but I'm not. As he got deeper and deeper into the the church, I began to pull away. I was rebelling I guess. He didn't want me to work, so I got a job. In hind sight, I realize that I looked at husband #1 as more of a parental figure than as a spouse, he looked at me as a project, something to fix. It was really doomed from the beginning. #5 came along and he really felt that with 2 children it was time to put his foot down. Three months after #5 was born, I filed for a divorce, my final act of rebellion.
By now I'm 23, a single parent of two and I have no local family or emotional support. I am emotionally back in high school, wanting to be accepted, wanting an escape from the difficult path I choose to walk.
Part two to follow...

posted by addict @ 9:27 AM |

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