1 out of 37 will make it. That was the sobering statistic heaped on me when I found myself in rehab in 1983. I was 15 years old. There were about 20 people in the room so either someone was going to get incredibly lucky or we were all doomed, math doesn’t lie. Which one would draw the lucky straw? Loser, burnout, whore you don’t have a shot kid. Give up, accept defeat……or maybe not.
It was lovingly suggested that I go to rehab…..that’s a joke. I was told that if I didn’t go to rehab I would be taken to court, ruled incorrigible and sent to a less desirable location. I took the bait, part of me must have been ready. My mother was newly sober having about six months dry. She thought the world was riddled with alkies and that her daughter had succumbed to the disease. I wasn’t convinced at this point but I thought it was better to go willingly than be dragged somewhere worse. But wait….how did I get to the point where rehab was even in the family vernacular?
I come from a long line of drunks. My gene pool is polluted, very polluted. Both parents, at least two grandparents and other assorted relatives on both sides share a a common thread, alcoholism. My parents divorced when my brother and I were toddlers. My mother drank in excess from my earliest memory. My father was simply not around but I have heard from numerous reliable sources that he is quite the drinker. As an adult I have witnessed that for myself.
Alcoholism is classified as a disease and the “ism” refers to the precursors of alcoholic drinking. These are the behaviors and attitudes that can start before alcohol is consumed. The “isms’ for me started at a young age. I was a bright child who had a good grasp on our dire financial situation. I have been told that I stole money from family friends and gave it to my mother. I don’t remember that. I do recall sneaky devious behavior from early on when I would hide candy and go to extremes to consume sugar. Lying was second nature to me and so was people pleasing and enabling.
As a kid I cleaned up after my mother. I would hang up the corded beeping phone wrapped around my mother on the many times she passed out during late night drunken phone calls. I would nudge her body from the bathroom floor and coax her into bed. I memorized my way home from outings as it was not uncommon for our mother to drive drunk and forget the way home. I also routinely searched our apartment when I got home from school. I didn’t connect the dots on this behavior until I was an adult. My mother spoke of suicide so often that I subconsciously looked for a body every day when I got home from school.
From age 8 until about 28 my father was pretty absent from my life. There was a custody case which he lost when we were 8 years old and shortly after my mother, brother and I moved to Florida with our mother’s boyfriend. We only lasted there a year but when we returned my father pretty much shut me (and my twin brother) out of his life. He was remarried with the first of what would be five children with his second wife. So add absent daddy syndrome to the alcoholic mother and my own personality deficiencies and I was a disaster waiting to happen. I don’t remember my first drink….I was probably under the age of five and I am sure the adults thought it was cute. Managed to steal a few sips from left over cans and bottles from 12 on but the real fun started at 14.
To be continued……………….https://wasthatmyoutloudvoice.com/2015/04/