The inspiration behind this post is the article “Why didn’t I step in?” in the August issue of Glamour Magazine. It’s about a woman who’s friend was an alcoholic who later died of liver failure. At a certain point in this article the woman wonders if she shouldn’t have prodded her friend to rather talk about her suppressed feelings instead of turning a blind eye to her constant partying her and taking refuge with a bottle of booze.
Mom & Dad got divorced when I was 12 years old – not a very easy age. He used to get drunk and he would get violent – really scary stuff. For the sake of our safety Mom decided that it was time to get out. I saw Dad cry once after the divorce and it was because Mom refused to let us go out with him to the beach. He stuffed a box of Astros in my hand, looked away and walked off to his car – a broken man – not the man I feared. This happened years ago but it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.
He never talked about losing his family and we thought it didn’t bother him at all. We never pushed the subject either. We always heard stories of how he ended up at a bar having the time of his life and then leaving with some skanky woman. Yes, our relationship with our father is weird, but to me it is normal – it is MY normal.
Not too long ago (about 3 months ago) Dad booked himself into rehab for treatment of alcohol abuse (second attempt at a new life) and we decided it’s time to step in and support him. A month of emotional torment, having to work through feelings and coming to terms with Dad’s disease, was exhausting to say the least, but if you didn’t know me, you wouldn’t have known about my personal problems. I had to be strong for Sis. I had to fight my urge to break down along with her when the nurses at the centre treated him like a naughty 5 year old when he got booked in. That’s something I don’t wish upon my worst enemy.
It was only when I read the article in the Glamour mag that I realized that I, too, repetitively deny my feelings of sorrow and anger to surface, and lately, more than ever, dealing with different personalities and people around me at work, and in my personal life, I find myself struggling to restrain an outburst. Ultimately, I slap on a labour-intensive smile and pretend it’s OK. I wasn’t going to post this initially, but after crying and breaking down like a baby over spilled coffee on my clean floor and after reading a not-so-harshly worded email, it was evident that my emotions needed an escape.
We’re fragile beings and our minds are like delicate porcelain dolls – TAKE SPECIAL CARE of how you deal with situations that are out of your control. Are you going to resort dishing out the silent treatment instead of addressing the problem at hand? Are you going to “unfollow” or “unfriend” the people who’ve upset you, thinking that it will make them feel bad? Are you going to make like a swan and look pretty and graceful but paddle like crazy under water to keep afloat?
Be wary of the monsters under the bed of your mind. They become bigger the more you delay the processing of your feelings. Working through your deep routed issues and feelings and handling conflict and hardships might not be the most jovial consumption of your time but part of being a grown up means acting like one. In my father’s case, he owned up to the fact that he destroyed his family. He is now trying to make amends for being the worst father ever and after what I’ve seen him do and how he treated us, I’m still willing to help him and love him and give him a 100th chance. No, I don’t have a particularly good heart… I just realised that I’m one step away from BEING him.
I’ve lost and gained so much over last couple of months and I’ve experienced the ecstatic and the miserable but for each of those I would want friends and family around me. If they weren’t there I would also resort to another means of processing years and years’ worth of suppressed feelings and the everyday mayhem.
Anyone can fall victim to an addiction so if you’re concerned about someone close to you… step in… no matter how hard they try to fight.