I pose a question to you….Do alcoholics realize the pain and anguish they cause? I struggled through the first 3 years of college working and raising a child and taking care of everyone else. When he was sober he was supportive but he was drunk more than he was sober! When he was drunk he got down right abusive. I wasn’t a good mother, wife, or I wasn’t smart enough to have a college degree. Yesterday, I got my grades in three classes…all B’s or better! On the way home, I got to analyzing the situation and how it was different. Different in so many ways. First off, I don’t care what he thinks any more, I am still taking care of everyone but not working, Kristen is grown, and John isn’t drinking any more. BIG DIFFERENCE!!
Now that I don’t care what John thinks or says, he is encouraging. I came home this week to a new back pack and a new computer case. I came home this week and the man that has never cared whether I had help around here or anywhere else had written a note to the children on the white board that I was carrying as many hours as they were and driving 200 miles while doing it and I was doing it in only 3 days as opposed to their 5 days. That they needed to step up and help even more. Who is this person????
John and I started down this path when I was 6, we were best of friends. Maybe we would have stayed that way if marriage had not come along. I think you can accept the alcoholic better if you don’t live under the same roof with all the expectations that go with being married. You know the simple ones….bills paid, taking care of the child, making sure the car runs….just simple things. Not including the harder ones of respect, not chasing other women (or catching them), setting an example for the child and not embarrassing the snot out of them.
In the past year I have learned a very important lesson….open your mouth and speak your mind. Good, bad, or indifferent. I am learning that when telling someone the bad, look for something good too. For years I just wouldn’t say anything at all. Yesterday the hardest person to tell things to I did open up to. I looked him in the eye and said, “thank you. The past 5 weeks you have been very supportive of me going back to school. I wish that you would have been that way years ago.” For the first time ever I told him how he had acted, what he had said and how it made me feel. I told him that is why I never went back to school. OMG…who was this woman that had no fear, no hurt, no remorse?? Who was this woman that stood up for herself? That told it like it was not out of anger any more, not out of spite? The anger is gone only to be replaced with pity. I pity him for much of what he lives with is his own rewards. His medical condition is his own doing, his lack of friends is his own doing, the feelings his daughter and I have for him are much his own doing…..yeah it has been replaced by pity.
It is also a very vivid lesson on what goes around comes back around. It has made me see that I have to take care of my own health, that I have to be a true friend to those I cherish, and that maybe there are things that our friends and family should tell us.
The past year has been quite the learning experience. I am thankful for the friends that have encouraged me, both new and old. I am thankful for the new found strength that I have found in myself. I had a friend ask me the other day if I thought that I could let go of the past and move forward with life. As of yesterday…..the answer to that is Oh Hell Ya!!! Without a doubt and without ever looking back!! I owe a debt of gratitude to some very special women in my life…..for seeing something in me that I had hidden years ago. For holding their hands up and teaching me to look beyond and see that there were more than 5 fingers there. I have always loved that part in Patch Adams, and at this juncture in life it is even more powerful than before. Thank you ladies and one very special brother that has done it for years!!
People keep asking me if I will use this degree and teach. I teach everyday, I learn everyday. No, I do not want to teach in our public school system. I feel that I have more to offer. Unfortunately, I do not have the calling to teach at that level. Sorry, I know that there is something else I am supposed to be doing. It is funny the twists and turns that this old life takes……but I can handle them with grace and poise now and smile while I do it! 🙂
God does answer prayers…but you have to open your heart to them, give it to him with absolute trust, and take that first step!