but sometimes you made me smile so big I could hardly contain it so I tried finding a cure. I screamed at you and tried convincing you with harsh words.
sometimes a little sometimes a lot sometimes it hurt so bad I had to curl up in ball and just try to sob hard enough that I couldn’t feel my chest. I figured out deadlines, made boundaries and threatened you.
Somewhere in my journey toward recovery, I mustered up enough honesty, open-mindedness and willingness to find some degree of success. I am living proof that He is still in the business of miracles. She never drank until , "cocktail hour", but once she got started she rarely stopped before making us all miserable. We attended church – not regularly, but when we did, no one would have suspected a thing. My greatest efforts went into trying to make people believe (and also to make myself believe) that I was okay.
My grandfather died in his sixties, no doubt the result of years and years of heavy drinking.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a very long time. My head is swimming with so much I want to say and so much I don’t want said.
Some memories I think are important to share, while other memories I hope will fade away in time, but cannot if written in the ink of the internet.
Because of God's grace and because the Twelve Steps and support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery work, I had my last drink of alcohol on September 10, 1995. My grandmother's drinking escalated out of control after his death. Our family epitomized the adage, "There's an And I fell right in line.
Recovery from alcoholism is absolutely possible for anyone who is willing to be honest with themselves and open-minded enough to accept a whole new way of living. And before that I was surrounded by the disease of alcoholism in my family. That's a whole other story about the devastating effects of alcoholism that I won't go into here. My grandfather on my mother's side was a white collar worker – once a talented minor league baseball player, but he ended up homeless on the streets of Chicago at the end of his life. By all appearances to the outside world, she could have been June Cleaver - the perfect, respectable wife, mother, housekeeper, and community member. On the outside, I was successful in my career in the oil and gas business, college-degreed, a wife and mother – had 2 cars in the garage, the house was clean, the bills were paid.
I saw that I didn’t have to stay for any fear, but I did see what life would be like if we really did divorce. I don’t want someone else to enjoy a life with this recovered/recovering, stable, matured version of him. But its like being between a rock and a hard place.
I saw the big picture, and it was complicated, sobering. At first, the relief of reconciling was wonderful and I thought that the separation was really the last ingredient of moving past all this, and being happy again. And he’s a better man, father, and spouse for all that we have struggled together. Its either accepting this sadness and moving forward with what is otherwise good, or going through the pain, complication, and destruction of a divorce, a two-home co-parenting relationship, of introducing (eventually) new people, new family systems, into this increasingly complicated situation, a greater financial burden…
Now you may be picturing me a pitiful child, living is squalor, my mother sitting on a bar stool somewhere while I fended for myself as a child. My grandparents were known to have a few too many at the Country Club, and my father being the dutiful son would often come to their rescue and drive them home because they were too drunk to drive.
In fact, to look at our family in the small Midwestern town where I grew up, you would be reminded of a typical wholesome, happy, all-American family. My father and grandfather were both dentists, and I had a somewhat privileged upbringing (beautiful home, nice vacations, lavish Christmases, and so on.) But if any of you are from the Midwest, you know that the booze can flow freely in all levels of society.
He moved out for a few months, we co-parented our boys (now ages 4 and 6), we drafted a legal separation agreement. Given reality, given our children and our family and our professional dreams and so on, my life, as it is today, is better/easier/more supported with him than without him. And I don’t know what more to expect, or how to think about all of this.