Monday, September 9, 2013

It's Official....

God is stirring the pot in my life, digging deep and unearthing my "stuff."  Painful, scary, uncertain of how to proceed....but one thing I am certain of is that this is MY deal. This is not about one other person, not my kids, not my hubs, not my parents....this is my stuff that I need to figure out and deal with. There is no blame to be placed anywhere.

My most recent trigger you ask? A family wedding over the weekend. A beautiful and fun day, a dinner cruise around our beautiful Lake Tahoe...I was so proud of my adult kids and their partners and my little one who was so poised and friendly. My long time husband by my side...it really was a great day in every way. However, for me, the whole day of watching the drinking was too much. My two adult kids drank quite a bit, I felt. Of course anything more than the champagne toast is too much in my opinion.  There was no slurred speech, no poor behavior, no nothing. Nothing bad happened. They were beautiful and charming and friendly and funny.....but as the day wore on, I was counting drinks and getting quieter and quieter and could feel my eyes begin to water. It took a tremendous amount of effort (Herculean) to keep smiling and acting like everything was great! My sweet husband knew but graciously didn't say a word. If he had I would have lost it.

I spent yesterday crying, all day. It just was coming out of me. Even when I took a deep breath and willed myself to stop, the tears just kept squeezing their way through. I drove my girl home from her weekend pass....she did not attend the wedding, and I cried and cried and told her I felt ridiculous. Nothing bad happened. This is an irrational response. Her gracious and kind reply....."Oh Mom, its all just a deep deep fear trigger for you. Maybe you could talk to your sponsor about it." Then she laughed because the irony of her telling me to talk to my sponsor was pretty funny...and pretty great!

I went to a meeting last night on my way home from the city and I cried through the whole darn thing. I kept telling myself "this is a safe place to cry" because I was mortified! Finally it was my turn to share and I shared my upset and I cried through my whole share. The good thing is that everyone got it. I wasn't alone. Lots of nodding heads, lots of hugs afterward. One woman said, "Your safe now. Its ok to cry and let it all out." They understood my irrational response.

During the meeting a woman shared after me and she said, "Those of us who have lived with people who check out through alcohol or drugs have been in war zones. There is very real trauma associated with the experiences we have had. Its like being raped....you may never completely get over it."

I hate to compare what I have been through to what a soldier in combat has gone through. I really don't believe that can be accurate and it feels disrespectful to our soldiers. However, I have seen and lived through years of violence and fear and chaos and anger and threats and that has quite obviously left its mark on me.The last half of her share....being raped and maybe you never get over something like that...did resonate. Rape is a terrifying and dehumanizing act of violence. I have not been raped, but I have lived through and with terrifying and dehumanizing acts of violence many times. My heart is pounding just typing that sentence.

As a young adult I did some "adult child" work....but I really couldn't stomach "the poor little wounded girl" deal or the victim mentality that went along with it. I skipped that part of recovery for many years. About 27 to be exact. lol I think the difference now, is that I had the privilege of walking with my mom (my very first alcoholic) as she left this earth. A lot of healing took place there for the both of us. A lot. It was a miraculous time for she and I....not because we had all of these hard feelings, but it was just a beautiful time of tying up loose ends, sharing our hearts, giving and receiving forgiveness, acknowledging that she could leave this earth free and in peace because her slate was clean. *Our* slate was clean.

What I am currently going through is not birthed from anger. It is not about blaming or writing letters to my dead parents, its about healing those scary ghosts that I have buried and avoided looking at, its about digging those roots out so that I can be free and at peace. It is scary as all hell... I am not too afraid of feeling it all, I don't think at least, but I am afraid of crying for days and days and not stopping. I am upping my meetings, but I am also thinking of finding a new therapist to talk to. I don't know that I can do this by myself.

I am amazed that one can be walking along with everything going just fine, relatively speaking, and WHAM! God decides, "Today is the day Love! We are digging in!"

Lets all keep praying....
Annette


21 comments:

Mary Christine said...

If you have lived through terrible experiences with loved ones who drank and behaved badly, I think it is natural to be uncomfortable about loved ones drinking. I certainly wouldn't compare it to being raped though!

Dad and Mom said...

It's PTSD. I have some of the same feelings when I meet parents of addicts especially when they are new to the experience.

It brings out things I have put away and thought were covered up. I don't know how to throw away the box so I just accept that when the box is opened it is something I must deal with and carefully put it away again.

Anna said...

I absolutely agree with your daughter. It was a deep fear trigger. It was also a flooding of the grief you feel for the lost years with H and the dread that it could happen to another one of your loved ones.

A big loss always dredges up past losses. Let it go my friend and start a new day. You have many blessings that come from your own good work and good decisions.

Annette said...

Mary I think this woman's point was that there is terror often associated with the violence that is carried out by our alcoholic loved ones while they are drinking. I would agree with her there.

Annette said...

Ron, thank you. Thanks for getting it.

Annette said...

This wasn't about H. This was about years ago and things that happened. I have battled this battle since i was a little girl. I wish it were so simple as to let it go. I would have done so already. I have often thought how I have learned how to let go of the life of my child when it is at real risk of ending at any moment....but this has its claws dug in and firmly attached deep into my soul and I can't shake it loose.

SoberMomWrites said...

Please seek out a therapist to walk this path with you. It's so so so hard to let go of all that shit we go through as children of alcoholics. Like you, I refuse to take the victim role AND I refuse to place blame.

I won't blame my father for his drinking, my mother for her narcisstic absentee parenting that made me have to act as the adult at around 9 years old, my grandmother's boyfriend for molesting me or my grandmother for practically pimping me out to him. All of those people were broken and reacting to things that were done to THEM.

By the grace of God I was given the fortitude to put an end to all of the brokeness and begin a healing. But it's hard. It's really, really hard. You want to keep it gone, not dig it up and create more...more. But when you don't dig and examine, you end up being triggered by your adult children drinking responsibly at a wedding (haven't had to watch that yet - I'm not looking forward to it), or a book you're reading over the weekend.

Reach out and let someone help you through this. You've earned it.

Namaste my friend.

Sherry

Lolly said...

"Tears are God's gift to us. Our holy water. They heal us as they flow." ~Rita Schiano
I love this quote. And it feels like it's true too, doesn't it? The feeling of relief you get after a good cry becomes the gift from God.

Signe said...

I think we all have a breaking point. It's different for everyone and seems to 'burst' when there is a time of quiet or happiness. It's not irrational. It's human and healthy. Holding it in is never good. So, with all due respect, Annette, and out of love I say this, I'm glad it's happening to you. You are strong and wise enough to pace yourself through this experience. To paraphrase Bette Davis, "Hang on it's going to be a bumpy ride."

Anonymous said...

It very well could be PTSD. Even though I haven't received an official diagnosis, I'm convinced that's what happened to me. I'm in my early 50s and experienced a total physical and mental breakdown as a result of a crisis in January with my 80-something year old alcoholic parent. It's a miracle that I wasn't hospitalized. I thought that I had the situation in hand for almost 50 years and the crisis just blew all of my denial and coping mechanisms out of the water. I started attending al-anon in March and have cried all the way through many a meeting, and many days when I wasn't attending a meeting. Five months on, lots of therapy, working the program, and receiving the gift of a sponsor have helped. I have a long way to go, but I have hope. Be gentle, so gentle with yourself. Cry in the meetings and wherever else you need to that feels safe. Meetings are the right place, the safe place to BE. Thanks for "listening."

beachteacher said...

Oh my dear Annette -- you're right,..as tough as its been to be a POA - you're right,...this is about YOU,...the little girl Annette. From one little girl with a drunk & angry dad to you -- I get this. Have you ever been to an ACOA meeting ? Same 12 steps - of course,...but may be much more healing to that little girl. And yes -- you certainly do deserve that. Much peace to you. I always always appreciate your honesty. Please know that it really helps so many others.

Hattie Heaton said...

Annette, you should go back and read your post through the eyes of the Annette who hadn't even met the 12 steps! Imagine how afraid she would have been. She probably wouldn't be able to see half of what you do. You have progressed so much. Also, I think that fear is Satan himself. One of the things that helps me is to really look at my fears. I look to see how rational they are. If they aren't and most of the time they aren't, I can know that they did not come from God. That knowledge alone allows me to get pissed off and tell satan to head straight back to hell. Then, I can really unearth the cause. Meetings and therapy have saved my emotional life....probably my life too. Be thankful for the courage and wisdom you have found to deal with this problem. You are modeling for H and the others that you don't eat, drink, or use your way through your problems. Good Job, Mom!

Dad and Mom said...

Annette,

This post caused me to do a lot of thinking last night. So much in fact that I wrote my own view on PTSD as a parent of an addict on my blog. www.parentsofanaddict.blogspot.com Hope you don't mind I ask people to come to your page and read this post.

madyson007 said...

This scares me on so many levels...I like stuffing shoving feelings down. I go through great pains not to unearth them. The thought that they can be be dug up and I never even held the shovel is not such a good feeling.

You are such a strong woman and so intuitive to recognize this for what it was...I am hoping it rubs off on me if I just keep reading your blog

Dawn said...

I so understand what you are saying Annette...I feel the same way in this situation. I am having a harder and harder time with being around alcohol and sadly it is at every family function and I have a hard time keeping it together no matter how hard I try. I don't drink, I'm not in recovery - I just realized one day how much destruction it had caused to many around me and from that point forward I could not enjoy one more cocktail myself. Unfortunately my husband happens to like his cocktails. It's hard for others to understand how we feel and perhaps I too need to understand why I feel as I do.
You are strong Annette and you are working your way thru it. I hope today is a good day for you!

Mrs. Dubose said...

I have been following your blog for quite some time. I found it by googling blogs for parents of addicts. I cannot believe I am a member of this club. I relate to so much of what you write. My daughter is 23 years old and is an alcoholic and drug abuser. She was rushed to the ER over 10 times and was hospitalized for a total of 50 days last year. There is no pain quite like trying to parent an addict.I tried repeatedly to get her help but she refused until I finally, after a year of soul searching, "uninvited" her to live with me. Within two weeks she agreed to go to a treatment facility far away from here and she remains there in a halfway house. She is walking the walk but not talking the talk, as she remains in denial.
I also have been diagnosed with PTSD. I feel like I have been surrounded by people with drinking issues since I was a child. See to me, it is perfectly reasonable that you wouldn't want to see your other children drink. It is like watching someone you love play Russian Roulette with a loaded gun. I have been getting a lot of counseling support and go to twelve step meetings but my anxiety persists.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I wish you and your family peace, love, and health. Many blessings to your girl!

http://upontheheart.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-one-in-mirror.html

dawn said...

"Those of us who have lived with people who check out through alcohol or drugs have been in war zones. "

She's right, ya know. Yes, I realize I speak as the addict, but I can only imagine. Today Annette, my husband's life has to be as though he is wandering (some days) in a war zone, cautiously, strategically, and fearful of those IED's those land mines. I mean, one could detonate at any given moment. Without warning even. Terrifying.

Thank God for the rooms !!!!

Syd said...

I get what you are writing--it is traumatic to have the feelings of fear come up and the flashbacks to terrible times when I was a child. And then having that carry through into a marriage. Alcohol affected my entire life. But I have to say that doing a thorough fifth step and making amends helped me. I no longer am feeling the anxiety that I once did around alcohol, although seeing someone completely messed up makes me anxious still. If it were my wife drinking again, I would be having a terrible time. It is a deal breaker for me. Not again will I live with active alcoholism. Maybe doing another fifth step with your sponsor and also a fourth step on fear around drinking will help too. You have defined here what it is like to live with the fall out from drinking.

Annette said...

Syd, good idea about the step work. Thank you. I hadn't thought of that.

John Burns said...

Anette, I agree with Ron with his diagnosis. It definitely sounds like PTSD. I hope you work things out and overcome your fear around alcohol. Good luck!

Cathy Taughinbaugh said...

Hi Annette,

I'm new to your blog. Came her via Ron Grover and am a fellow northern Californian. I can relate to your feelings and being sensitive to the amount of drinking that goes on these days. I feel our culture promotes drinking via advertisements and the continue social pressure, especially for the young people.

My daughter became sober at 20 and it was an awakening for me to realize the subtle and not so subtle pressure she would be under to drink, from the men she dated, to her friends, to the atmosphere at work.

As a parent it is hard to watch and know what our kids who are trying to stay sober are up against. Thanks for sharing your post. Know that there are many of us out here that share your feelings and understand what you are going through.