Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hello, My Name Is Maryfrances And I Am Not An Alcoholic.

It's true.  I'm not an alcoholic.  Never have been.  I am the child of two alcoholics.  I am lucky; I'm not a statistic. I beat the odds.  My father always told me he was an alcoholic. He knew it.  I knew it. Mom knew it. I knew it when I was in elementary school.   What we didn't talk  about was the fact that my mother was one, too.  She was.  Worse than my father.  Still, growing up in my home, I didn't ever see it that way. Never would you see my parents stumbling around, and passing out.  They just drank.  I guess it was just something I saw as normal;  all parents drink, right?  Cocktails on the patio nightly after 7:00pm was a daily occurrence, but it was during the day that my mom drank shots all day. My childhood was never abusive or scary.  Never was I in danger.  I only realized that my parents had drinking problems after I left home.    More so for my father after my mother's death.  He now lived alone, and hardly went anywhere, so why not crack open your first beer at noon?  He was 61 years old,  wasn't hurting anyone, and I surely I wasn't going to stop him.  My parents were good people and I had the best childhood;  know that.

I was a heavy drinker when I was an older teen, but I think that's because I was so new at it. Stealing my mother's Seagrams 7 (My stomach still turns at the sigh of it now) and playing Fuzzy Duck with my best friend in my bedroom at 16 would most undoubtedly result in two 16 year old girls vomiting outside my bedroom window.   I got good at it in my early twenties;  I taught myself to recognize my limit;  I'd drink enough just to feel really good, then stop.  Otherwise, I knew I'd be sick, and I hated not only the act of throwing up (still do), but I hated when things spun around.  I'd say to myself, "Self;  if you stop now, it'll be okay.  If you drink another glass of wine, things will get really ugly, really fast."  It worked every time;  I loved my little inner voice and I always listened to her when it came to drinking.  Other things...well, that's another blog.

Then, I got married and had kids.  I drank, but not much.  Sure, there were times when I just wanted to get shitfaced;  A bad day at work.  An argument with my husband.  Kids acting out.  I wanted to drink and sometimes I would.  Usually after the kids were in bed. I never -- ever-- drank in front of my children.  I just didn't.  I wasn't comfortable.   Not that I wanted them to think that drinking is a bad thing;  it's not, if done responsibly.  I just didn't feel like I was being a good parent by drinking in front of them.   Get off my back; that's my opinion.   I guess it's because I always wanted a clear head when I was caring for them... which really is 24/7. Funny, isn't it?  I didn't want them to think it's bad to drink, but here I was, beating myself up for doing it.    I never got that drunk... just a good buzz to blur out my troubles, if only for awhile after they were tucked in for the night.   Meh.  The only time I did drink in front of them was when we would go to family gatherings.  Even then, they would look at me and I could see their unease; or at least I thought I did.   I'm sure it was all me.  Even as recently as two years ago, I still felt weird doing it.  Again, just me, and that's just fine.  As far as I myself am concerned, I don't think drinking in front of my children is a good thing.  No real reason.  I just don't.  Maybe that's why they hate alcohol? 

My father used to tease me incessantly about my inability to finish a single beer.  It used to really piss me off, too. Sure, I'd laugh about it, but dammit;  I could hold my alcohol when I wanted to.  Except for the time I got so shitfaced at age 17 that I fell asleep in bed with a lit cigarette in my hand,  and proceeded to burn my mattress down to red hot coils, I don't think my folks ever saw me drunk.  I honestly didn't want to be drunk in front of them.  
(Oh; I ended up with a second degree burn on my right hand, and an even more painful feeling when my parents looked at me. I truly did feel how ashamed of me they were, but more than anything, I felt how horrified they were;  What was their baby girl  turning into?  I never could convey to them just  how sorry I was when they had to shell out rent money to buy me a new bed.  I know, I am a very lucky person.  I could have burned to death.  I still see the horror and humiliation on my parents faces and it's never left me).

Why am I writing this?  I don't know.  I don't have to tell you how much I have been through physically in the past five years.  Frankly, it's embarrassing.  I get teased quite a lot, and for the most part, I laugh right along with folks.  Still it hurts to hear some comments.  I never asked for any of it.  It was not something I could have prevented.  Any of it.  I am my father's daughter, but I am the total opposite of him;  where he hated to talk about such things that hindered him,  I almost need to.  I need support.  I don't mind telling the truth.  I take all the shoulders that are offered.  I still do, but now feel almost ashamed.  Okay, here it is:  I may need another major surgery.  I don't know. I lie awake thinking about it.  I'll find out in April after some testing.  Ah!  There.  It's out.  More surgery... possibly.  God Dammit.

No, I don't feel sorry for myself.  I do, however, worry about my dear husband.  That man... he works his ass off.  He always has.  And he's been though more stress than anyone dare imagine.  He never complains.  Ever.  He just keeps going and wouldn't have it any other way..  If there is one man on this Earth that truly deserves a break, it's my husband.  He's cared for me and our children well... very well.   

Without even thinking about it... without even trying...  I have not had one drop of alcohol for over a year.  Like I said, I do not have a problem with alcohol.  I never have.  I have wine in my fridge.  I have Vodka in my freezer.  I have Frangelico in there, too.  I love all three.  I just don't want it, anymore. No, I don't want a medal.  I'm not looking for applause.   The only thing I can honestly say is this:  My body has been through so much.  So much.  It's had to endure many infections.  I nearly died of one of them.  You know, when your own physician sits down on your hospital bed, takes your hand and tells you that you're on top of their prayer list -- because 'you came this close to dying' -- it kinda hits home.  So, to say my body has been though the mill is an understatement times one hundred.  Not to mention the countless incisions I have had.  So then why would I want to make my body work that much harder when it doesn't have to?  It's just ridiculous.  Silly, even.  I kinda love my liver.  I kinda love my kidneys. 

I'm not saying I'll never drink alcohol again, but today, I'll pass.  Tomorrow?  I'm not there, yet.  Probably won't then, either.  Champagne on my 25th Wedding anniversary?  Perhaps.  My son's wedding day?  Probably...  or maybe not.

I am not knocking anyone that drinks.  Hey, if you can do it, rock on!  I just don't think my body  appreciates having to work that hard.  It's time to give it a break.  And yeah,  I know I could eat healthier.  One thing at a time.  I quit smoking... and now drinking;  two things that went very well together;  If I drank, I wanted to smoke.  Now I don't want either.  Hooray! 

Again, why am I writing about this?  It has been on my mind, lately.  A lot.  I write what I'm feeling.  It really is therapeutic.  Maybe writing it out will seal it, so to say?  Whatever.

PS... My mom and I did come to terms with her alcoholism the year before she died.  We had a long talk about it.  I won't divulge what was said, but it was a great conversation.  I know she's up there smiling.  Dad and I always did discuss his and again, we were good.  ♥

Thanks for reading.


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