HERE’S TO YOUR HEALTH

This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Polly’s story: At the beginning of my drinking career, alcohol seemed like a magic turn-key, whenever I drank it, I experienced confidence and a marvelous sense of ease and comfort.

 

The Strategic Air Command transferred my pilot husband to an AF base in Maine during 1962. I had two little boys, but none of the necessary tools for being a good mother. It was often fifty below zero outside, the boys were driving me crazy and I was having a nervous breakdown about every twenty minutes. I went to an Air Force doctor, who gave me pills, and said, “Take these.”

From 1962 until 1977 when I came to Alcoholics Anonymous, I took Valium, Librium, and other so-called “mother’s little helpers” and mixed them with alcohol. I’m here to tell you that if you drink alcohol like I did and mix it with pills; you won’t be very active. I became a couch potato, alcoholic Mom, who was dieing on our living room sofa. I watched Soap Opera’s and when Soap’s weren’t on, I listened to Joan Baez records. I felt sorry for myself, poor me; pour me another drink.

Inside my mind is not a good place to be and if I spend more than fifteen minutes there, I would start feeling sorry for myself. Self-centeredness and self-pity is my real disease and it manifested itself through alcohol and pills. I laugh about it today but when I hear hilarious stories about people partying in bars that was not me; I was a couch potato.

I don’t talk much about my drinking because I slept through most of it. I could not suit up and show up for life, I just couldn’t do life without lots of chemicals to help me escape.

I believe with every fiber of my being that alcoholism is a family disease. Anybody who lives with a practicing alcoholic is affected by it, I had a family illness and it affected everybody in my family. My ex-husband is also a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I’ve heard him speak since he’s been sober but when he talks about his mother’s alcoholism, nobody laughs because it’s from the perspective of a scared little boy. He speaks about his mother being passed out on the family sofa, in a black-out; he’s pacing back and forth in front of her still body wondering what’s wrong? He’s certain she’s dead, his daddy is gone and that’s but one of many overwhelming fears which traumatizes children. Alcoholism traumatizes the souls of innocent children, that’s exactly what it does.

During my sobriety, I’ve honestly looked at what alcoholism did to my family. A.A.’s 12-steps have taught me how to tell the truth about my alcoholism to my family and for that, I’m eternally grateful. My sons were 14 and 16 years old when I got sober and we’ve had several sit-downs during the time God and my sponsor walked me through the steps. The disease of alcoholism traumatized my children beyond anything I ever imagined, but thanks to the 8th and 9th amends steps, I cleared away some of that wreckage my sons witnessed. I honestly told them how sorry I was for being a child abuser; things like that shouldn’t happen to little boys. I will be forever grateful the 12-steps made it possible for me to be honest with my children. I didn’t sit there and tell my sons, “You shouldn’t feel that way towards your mother.” They, by God, had every right to feel that way towards me and for that I am truly sorry. Today, I know the greatest amends I can make to them are living amends and never again act that way towards them. Alcoholics Anonymous taught me to be the best Mom I can and gave me the courage to validate my children’s feelings; they no longer wonder why they felt the way they did while society, religion, counselors and therapists said they shouldn’t. To be continued…

The Waynedale News Staff

John Barleycorn

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