Self-Inflicted Frowns: In memory of my father (bless his soul)

by Guest Post on February 16, 2009

Tomorrow will be 2 weeks without a drink and it hasn’t been getting easier yet, a fact which is starting to worry me. I am trying to eat a lot of raw foods and drink teas and lemon water. I bought some ginseng and am trying to figure out other ways to help my adrenal functions and nervous system. The stress load is huge right now and the cravings intense at moments. I don’t know what my body needs to feel better or if this is normal. I do searches on the web but not all of my questions are answered.
Emotionally I feel frightened at times and pretty sad. I have been wondering exactly when and how my life got to a stage were two weeks of not drinking would be seen as an accomplishment! I feel like I have gone longer periods dry without noticing, but perhaps this is an utter lie.
I see a common thread in the AA discourse about the importance of recognizing the source of one’s emotional problems that led to alcohol abuse and cannot find it. How will I heal if I don’t know what caused my illness?
I have an easier time seeing (in vivid technicolor) all of my harbored resentment, anger, sadness and regrets. I was a drinker who hurt herself and not other people. Actually my drinking did hurt other people, but passively, in the sense that I was often unavailable or less-balanced than we want our loved ones to be. Of course it is “normal” for me to be experiencing so many horrible alcohol-related memories now that I don’t drink, and the subsequent emotions of terror and sorrow left unnumbed by alcohol,, but being “normal” isn’t really making it easier. I feel as if I am standing before a veritable mountain of problems, fears, unpaid bills and deferred dreams and rather than take action to treat them individually I am finding myself paralysed before them, inert, and out of control.
On a positive note I am feeling a sort of inner strength emerge. It is not physical or emotional so much as intellectual. The simple fact that I am proving to have a modicum of self-discipline is helping me to remember how strong I have been in the past, and it reminds me of how desperately I want to feel that way again. I was very athletic in my youth and I long for that physical sensation of purity and force but I still feel so far away from that sort of vibrancy.
Even as I write this blog entry I am remembering, am putting two and two together. I guess I see where and when and how I was derailed enough emotionally to become at risk, and yet there have been so many other painful things since (and prior to) that earlier trauma. I suppose what I am a dealing with tonight is how to cope with mountains of remorse and regret and loss as well as finding ways to forgive myself. I think it was around age 18 when I fell off balance, but I didn’t immediately hit the bottle, rather the bottle sort of got the best of me slowly, over a long period of time. I’m 34 today.

My biological dad, who did not raise me but whom I got to know as an adult, died of acute liver failure seven years ago at the age of 49. After thirty some years as a heroin (or meth and alcohol) addict he was fortunate to have lived that long. How he died (the gory and the spiritual details) is a story for another post, perhaps, but it did break my heart to see how poorly he was treated by most of the hospital personel. I imagine they figured that they didn’t have to respect him with proper care if he didn’t respect himself. The wounds that eventually killed him were mostly self-inflicted. How do we come to grips with this? How do we realize that we have done this to ourselves and then forgive ourselves for this awful treatment–forgive on all levels, spiritual, emotional, physical and otherwise?

Although I am at peace with his death I will never understand how he never found the strength to heal. His prison journal–my unique inheritance from him–shows that not a single day passed when he didn’t think about and miss his children, but even that love did not give him that missing link to recovery (relapsing everytime he got out of jail it seems).
So I’m afraid of that thing that enables some people to stop and others not. This site illustrates those who have found that certain je ne sais quoi to be healthy and sober which reassures me a lot. My father was an intelligent man. Handsome and charming–I have been told–in his youth. I really hope his weakness did not get passed down. I hope I find the strength that my father never did. The strength to admit defeat, attend to the details of the damage done, forgive and move on.
I feel that this post may be a bit incoherent and long-winded but I felt like I should write tonight. Peace.

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