The Descent of a Lady

Mama Tried

I was born in 1950's Los Angeles, California, where everything seemed oh, so, perfect. As I aged, I grew used to the unique palm tree-lined streets around our home once I was allowed to visit childhood friends. The neighborhood we lived in was what is now called the Wilshire District, and was kept immaculately by the homeowners who had come primarily from the Midwest at the turn of the century. My family owned two of these homes on Wilshire Boulevard, and pristine maintenance was a priority. The pride my family took in their respective residences was evident inside and out, and family gatherings were held with joyous regularity. We also enjoyed the bustling downtown area; Bullock's Department store I recall from my very first visit. I was four years old, dressed primly in a maroon velvet dress, and cast my unblinking eyes on the most beautiful toy department imaginable. My mother had also insisted that I wear my white cotton gloves, however, thus I was cautioned against touching any of the irresistible playthings. I would never have considered handling such objects of beauty simply because my mother had instilled in me the importance of being a lady. Mama was a woman of high society, enjoyed her Country Club bridge games, and golfed as often as she wished.

My mother had been a 'Delta Delta Delta' in college, a sorority known for beautiful young ladies, had been a beauty queen and model in her life-thus I felt much pressure even as a child.

Mama took me often to the Wilshire Club and allowed me to roam both the grounds and the clubhouse while she socialized and enjoyed her cocktails. That's exactly what was expected of women at the time.. I spent many hours in the Ladies' Locker Room with African-American women who allowed me to pester them rather than be a bother to my mother and her friends. I have never forgotten these kind women-my caretakers.


Before the Storm

As a budding young girl, I was eager to learn of the subtleties of womanhood, and in so doing, I came to understand that alcohol was an essential part of female conviviality. While many of my father's kin declined second and third drinks at gatherings, I began to notice that my mother did not. Nor did some of my aunts. The womenfolk thus cheerfully retired to the kitchen to drink far from judgmental eyes. These times were particularly precious to me as I grew, for, even before I took one sip of alcohol, I belonged.

Womanhood, though, threw me an unexpected curve at the age of nine. The pain and shame of the experience I remember to this day. No one had thought to teach such a young child about menstruation, and I bore the experience alone as long as I was able to hide it. Given my upbringing and pristine clothing, I was loathe to admit such an unthinkable occurrence. But I had heard of a 'period,' and knew I had to reveal my now stained status. At nine, this was not easy, not ladylike to talk about, but I was fortunate to be in the home of one of my aunts, who thankfully provided me with the necessary pads. She also handed me a bottle of pills.


Lady Pill-Head

My aunt said that I would be needing the medicine-Darvon-for the pain.  I had no pain,thankfully, but my substance-abusing career began there and then.  I remember the feeling to this day as I took my first dose, and it was glorious.  In the years that followed, I learned to acquire these drugs through doctors.  

As the daughter of two alcoholics, my addiction was in full swing before my aunt handed me those medications.  But as the daughter of a lady, I found it more 'civil' and 'proper' to go to the physician's office rather than to score off the street.  For many years I found it quite simple to doctor-shop, getting drugs from 3 or 4 doctors at the same time.  Needless to say, my addiction and tolerance were at their peak many times-the need for more became increasingly hard to handle.  

Ladylike...with a haze of weed surrounding me.
Ladylike...with a haze of weed surrounding me.

And All the Rest

My romance with prescription pills had its limitations, however, since over a period of 10 years, doctors were becoming more aware of behavior such as mine. Cut off, I turned to both marijuana and alcohol as substitutes, although I did not have a great reaction to weed and had swore to myself I would never touch liquor as long as I lived. So many years have passed since I last went looking for doctors who would prescribe to me that it actually stuns me.

Alcohol and I said our final goodbyes on June 24th, 2008 when my pancreas hit its own agonizing bottom.


I relapsed in 2010 at a funeral

I finally had to give up all of my ladylike wiles and become a woman.

More by this Author


Comments 47 comments

lyricsingray 6 years ago

Wow, honestly, wow! How beautifully written and thank you for sharing your story with us. Lorlie that last line I will never forget, thank you, I needed to read this right now and I hope a lot of other people read it too, Kimberly


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

Incredible honesty. This took guts lorlie. Congratulations on taking the necessary steps to recovery. All the best as you continue on your journey as a woman!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Lyrics and Duchess-thank you both, I am happy to have written about this part of my life at last!


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

Great hub,remarkable honesty,well done.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks so much, itakins, sometimes this all has to come out, and HubPages is the perfect venue!


conundrum profile image

conundrum 6 years ago

Very well-written, and VERY honest.

Thank you for sharing your story. Keep on Hubbing!


Drifter0658 profile image

Drifter0658 6 years ago from Carlisle

Laurel....you always be a lady to me.

Wait??!!?? Was that Billy Joel? Eh.....still true ;)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks, Drifter, and conundrum, you're a doll!


Tamarii2 profile image

Tamarii2 6 years ago from NEW YORK

Thank you for responding to one of my questions.When you did that it brought me to your site.I enjoyed reading about your journey of survival.When you get a chance read.. "For I know the plans I have for you,declares the Lord,plans to prosper you and not to harm you,plans to give you hope and a future".NIV BIBLE(Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11-14).Enjoy your new journey with God's peace.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thank you, Tamarii2-My God has seen me through!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hi Lorlie,

Alcohol is the great leveler, isn't it? No matter what social strata you come from, you can fall hard and fast if you've got the "ism" in your body/mind. I hope both your parents also found sobriety. But am thrilled that you did! That's awesome. Glad to have you as a fellow traveler on the road to happy destiny. MM


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

MM, that 'ism' is so ingrained in my brain, sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Glad you're along, too!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

MM, that 'ism' is so ingrained in my brain, sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Glad you're along, too!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California

What a brave and wonderful person you are to let us take a peek inside your world. I understand venting is cleansing, so continue to do so, and we here at the "Pages," are here to listen. Please keep them coming. Very good hub.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks so much!


keira7 profile image

keira7 6 years ago

Hi Lorlie6, you are a great person, beautifull hub. Take care my dear Lorlie. :)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks for stopping by, keira7!


jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 6 years ago from Delhi, India

wish you all the best


BEAUTYBABE profile image

BEAUTYBABE 6 years ago from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA.

You certainly have had a most interesting if not challenging time growing up. I see you got your period at 9 yrs of age. My memory of nine is a little more traumatic, I was sexually assualted by the boy next door's Uncle. I just was reminded of how it was back then, because you try to put these sort of things out of your mind, just like you with your addiction. Keep fighting on Lorlie6, because you are still winning BIG TIME in my eyes. BB


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks, jacobkuttyta!

Thank you, BB, I am so sorry to hear of your abuse.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for sharing your story. The photo of you is gorgeous! You are also a fine writer.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

James, your compliments mean much to this aged woman...thank you so very much. :o)


liminal 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this very personal story. You may have lost your wiles, but you're still a lady. You're also a product of your times; give yourself the credit you deserve.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks, liminal, I appreciate these thoughts!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Wonderfully written, Lor. You're a phoenix!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Bless your heart, habee, and how on earth did you know my husband has a phoenix representing our relationship tattooed on his forearm? You are magic, sweetie!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

You have shared in a beautiful way some very painful and unpleasant things, with honesty and grace. Thanks so much. You are an inspiration!

Love and peace

Tony


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Tonymac-your words mean much to me. Thank you.


ralwus 6 years ago

Wonderfully written bio Laurel. I think you have another hub similar to this one? Anyway, I saw you picture before and told you how beautiful you were and still are. I am glad you shared this and are now a woman. Much love sweet woman. xox CC


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks for your comment, CC. Yep, there is another one quite like this-back when I began this gig, I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about, so it all became kinda slobbered together. Aww, hell, I STILL don't really have a niche, but thanks for reading anyhow.

You're one swell dude!


RecoverToday profile image

RecoverToday 6 years ago from United States

Honest and heartfelt! Thank you for sharing such a difficult subject.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thank so much, RecoverToday. As you know, recovery never ends!


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Very touching and intimate story to share. I'm glad you gave it all up. Thanks for sharing, it will inspire lots of people.

Your photo is beautiful. :)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thank you Lady_E. Ah, to be 17 again!


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida

Wow Lorlie, this takes such courage to share and I am so proud of you. After all you have been through, you are now able to help others. There is no ego in that kind of loving act. Thank you.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

brightforyou-thanks so much for your visit. As Dorrie says in "Finding Nemo", "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!" When things get rough, it's best to move on.

Good to see you!


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

lorie6, it must have been incredibly difficult for you to write about this period of your life. Yet your honesty in the writing conveys that you could have ended up in a much darker place than you did. Good luck and my best wishes.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

I really appreciate the visit, D.A.L. You're right, the place I am now is quite a bit lighter-in so many ways!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

Your courageous decision to reveal this sad part of your life has set you free, that I can glean from your life as a hubber. You were lucky to have been part of a social class of a family, but unfortunately, as a growing young lady, you were immersed into alcohol and medication abuse. All along you were silent about your feelings. That was truly painful for a young girl.

Without help from adult kin, you found the right path at the crossroad of life. You are braver than you think, only it took years for you to realize that. I wish you well always.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks so much, Lita-writing provides much needed expression that I used to hide at all costs. At this point in my life, most everything begs to be revealed!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

Lorlie - God bless you, dear. We like to think that people who live country club lives, brought up in nice surroundings have it all easy. Those secret lives ruin lives. That must have been one tough dragon to slay.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Hi Dolores, it was one HUGE dragon, that's for sure!

Thanks for visiting.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Deeply touching Lorlie. It takes courage to bare one's soul and face our demons. This was Beautifully expressed here. All the best to you. PS You are beautiful.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Hey there, Peg! I thank you for such a compliment, it means plenty considering this is the ONLY photo I really like of myself!

Thanks so much for the visit.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago

Lorlie , I read most of your hubs and never knew quite how to deal with this one, You are inspiring in your honesty and openess , And For one , just one of many ,I have missed seeing you around here . Is this a test somehow for us? LOL......:-} Be well sweet woman.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

I missed this one as well, and I agree it's time to release the demons that haunt all of us, I write about mine and my abuse and living with alcoholic parents, mothers boyfriends, etc etc. As I enter my senior years there is no holding back, my legacy is penned in my poetry.

That is a beautiful photo of you and one that reflects back to you I'm sure and the choices you made. We all made choices in our lives some were pleasant and many were ugly, believe me I made detours on my roads and the obstacles and forks on them were plenty.

Nice to see you let it all out, it's something you can do at the hubs without any shame, as many here have tales to share and many have done so and are at peace for sharing. Hugs to you and blessings from this Saddle.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

AHB-A test is something I'd never considered, my sweet friend! :)HAHA...Life has been getting in the way of my writing recently, thus my 'absence'. Actually I've been doing lots of reading here on HP (but not properly commenting :() between diaper changes and feedings-my 10 month old grandson, Quinn. Light of my life, but time consuming! :))) Love you and thanks for coming by!

Dearest Saddleman-The demons are so very strong, or seem to be, that writing for us is the best offense. We mustn't resort to a defensive position, though it seems the only option at times. I think I've spent most of my 54 years resisting the world that seemed to envelope me at every turn. YIKES, such a sense of helplessness. Well, I am giving assertiveness a try these days without resorting to regret!

Thanks for your words, my friend.

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