- Mental Health»
Sending out an SOS/Time in a Bottle
Sick and tired
When its time to relax?
It started out so innocently; as a way to relax, a reward for a job well done, no harm ... perhaps?
That was what I learned as an adult, but this started back when I was a youth. Why, why did I abuse this, this alcohol?
Estranged from my father at a young age, my mother went on to re-marry. The days spent living in tight quarters and the awkward feeling of trying to embrace, relationally, a man who was not my birth father, so hard, nearly impossible actually. He was a hard man, a man dissimilar from his average peer. He was not from this country, from Italy, and he enjoyed his drink, many times excessively.
My own father, when a time arose to be with him, I jumped for joy and that chance. Meeting him at a local beach, him with friends and I sans mom, I was ready for playtime, but dad was ready for a different playtime. His ideas and mine were totally out of sync, he was with friends and consuming beer and I just was enjoying the sun and surf, but longed for his attention.
A trauma I can remember from my dad during this outing ... I spilled his beer. What ensued afterwards was to be rebuked boldly, in front of his friends, because of my running around outside and knocking it over.Sad really, when I think about it; I know his mind was gone, as was his body, given over to the desire and the impulses of alcohol to escape his own failures and to quell his inner voice. You see my dad had schizophrenia and fear being a major symptom of that disease, he surely tried to elude anything frightening, including responsibility, that came his way.
That thing called beer; what was so important about it, to become so upset over the spilling of it? I recall a softball game played on the diamond and grounds of my elementary school, the teams were comprised of older boys/young adults, who happened to be the siblings of my classmates. One classmate in particular, his father worked for a distributing company that suppled Anheiser-Busch products, more specifically Budweiser. Well these fellas were working up quite a thirst playing in that bright sunshine and us younger kids were just watching as they would occasionly grab from the cooler and chug a Bud beer. We were the ball and bat boys impromptu I suppose and as the game wore on, so did the drinking. After a bit, the game had ended and the older guys in all their wisdom had decided to offer us youngins a brew, Hmmmm ... what is it like, only people I see drinking it is adults, OK, sure, I'll have one."Split it" they said and threw one at me, I dropped it, we opened it and spewed on us. That was sure good for a laugh. They threw us another and this time I caught it, we cracked it open and smelled it , kinda funky I thought, and the drink shaking my head Yuk, try again, weird taste and again, then someone shouts "share."
Further along in years our family prospered through the labor of my stepfather, yes he was doing his part to provide for us and I am grateful for that to this day. Our new digs came with a bar in the downstairs family room. This bar and room, came in quite handy for entertaining family and friends, of which we had a few. On some occasions the contents of glasses would not be emptied and if no one was around I would try and I found some of those drinks to be really good tasting, like ice-cream or fruity.
My teen and rebelious years had just come into their prime and stepdad and I were not hitting it off so well. School was becoming a drag and I was looking for excitement, of course I found it, but in all the bad ways. I had just recently started a job and had money, with this money I bought and used alcohol. One day I thought it pretty smart to ride my bike to school. twelve miles one way. I thought it also really cool to take vodka with me, bad idea. When I got near school, I downed the bottle, a pint, and entered school. About an hour later I was sick to my stomach and went to the bathroom, I never returned to class. I found myself limping, as only a sight to behold, back towards home on my bike.
Never too young
This kid pictured above, well that could have been me. I mean I was in that same circumstance by age sixteen, I had drank more than a couple times. Things were not going well for me at home either, getting into fights with the stepdad was just becoming a hassle, so I devised this great scheme that I would drop out of school and join the Navy at seventeen years of age, all I needed were the signatures of the parents.
Well mom balked, but stepdad thought this would be a great idea, a chance to earn respect and learn discipline and to an extent he was right.
There comes a time in one's life when they realize how far in over their heads they may have just gone and this turned out to be one of them for me. Yes, good old boot camp was surely no picnic, but the training schools that followed were not too bad. No Sir and Mam, the show began when I entered service for this country at my homeport, but that is another story, check out : http://noturningback.hubpages.com/hub/Shitty no that was bad enough, the real story here is how a kid of seventeen begins to experiment with alcohol at an unprecedented level for few peers of his age.
One night in particular, by way of New London or Groton, I went on a spree of several drinking establishments. By the time of an unremembered early morning hour, I had devoured nearly my entire paycheck and everything put in front of me, I was out of control and headed for the big crash. When it hit, the spinning and nausea, I had emptied the contents of my stomach across two tables. Not understanding anything of consequence in that condition, I was rescued by several other servicemen before finding my face attached to several knuckles. How fortunate for me that these guys, Marines, thank you guys, had even gotten this guy back to the barracks.
Throughout my shortened service-time, I would find myself inept and ill-equipped at dealing with the various personalities encountered abroad and compensated for the shame, anger and regret by drinking away my reality. There was no one present to console or condemn me, except those who were intent on taking advantage of naivety, and so the drinking continued till I found a way out.
How low can you go?
After being discharged from the service I found myself wanting to do nothing else but party and have a good time. Several years passed like this and in one unforgetable moment, I wish I could forget, I almost did not make it to the point I am now. Hanging out with older guy friends, we went to a house and I got real drunk, I got real fresh with the lady of the house and awoke at night on lawn and tried to rise.But I found I could not get up, due to the fact that I had become frozen to the lawn! I really do mean frozen, as in ice. Who the hell was I becoming, my old man perhaps? I was scared, but could not seem to break free of this grip that alcohol leveraged over me.
There was a time between these times of selfishness and no self-control, when a wonderful event happened in my life and that was the birth of my daughter. I did, at least for a while gain some degree of independence from this substance of abuse, but that lasted about as long as ice in the sun. Once I was able to figure out how to work alcohol, at the rate I was acustomed to back into my life, I even felt a false confidence about being able to manage my intake.I even began a business on the side,doing menial tasks at first and then working on home exteriors, to supplement my income and fund my habit and without regret due to finance.
I would reward myself, with beer, after every days work and then more frequently after every job and then morphing to during jobs, this had to stop.
Jack on the Rocks
It's all over ... when I go out drinkin
Insane and I like it? Yes, I must have liked it that and all the inglorious results that came with drinking. I was not slowing down at all, in fact I had stepped up my drinking to a form of covetousness and I had a couple fellows eager to share my religion.
Now, what every adult needs is for someone to tell them, repeatedly, "you drink too much" or "you need to stop drinking." This has about the same effect for someone who has no control over drinking, as to say to someone "you need to stop breathing." My usual reply was the not too subtle "I'm a grown @52 man leave me the hell alone," I know, very intelligent rebuttle and sure to garner from anyone a disgusted look or an equally abrasive comment.
In all fairness, I know she meant well by suggesting what should have been obvious to me, but I was literally oblivious to any such remark and with a short fuse. The only thing that was lacking, was violence, abuse yes, but violence not yet.
Jiminy Cricket can't even help now
Let your conscience be your guide?
Conscience be your guide, I suppose you have to come out of your stupor and become conscious for that to happen. Alcoholism is only an outward symptom of an inward-usually suppressed-feeling, too many rehab centers only treat the symptoms, it is up to the individual to withdraw from the usage. And left up to the individual, they who use will continue to use until they have found pain and discomfort from using.
That is why I feel that alcohol abuse is a selfish addiction and there are many more, addictions, like it. I never let how others felt about my using or what others needed, influence my decisions on how much or when I would drink, unless I foresaw immediate repercussions for my actions. As this illness continued to develop, my ability to make sound judgement receded.
Maybe this will help
When you become sober, please hear
I don't know if I had truly hit bottom, but some of these episodes of shame I have shared with you could qualify, and especially if they had been of longer duration or slightly more intensity. Through all of this, I know I was being cared for, by family and through divine intervention. When I had finally had enough of the physical agony found from withdrawal and the mental anguish from remembering my episodes or from being told of them, which is a far worse feeling, I was building up the courage and asking for the strength to overcome this monster.
My life was not my own, but I did not realize whose it was, until I started to live. I found life, again, and through Jesus, it was He who gave me the hope and continued courage, and strength to become forgiving. I needed to forgive many, including myself, to be able to stop hurting. It was this hurting that had caused my continuance in drinking, the first drinks, at the younger ages, were more of a curiosity, but the adolescent and adult drinking were roads of escape.
My only hope in the writing of this hub and others like it, are that some, perhaps if only one, will hear and consider what they have, and what they stand to lose. Addictions cause more than just loss to the user, everyone loses, in fact your chidren's children could end up having loss of hope, due in part, to their grandfather or grandmother's addiction. If you are currently reading this while using, you will have to re-read this, and that is due to your possible depressive or angry emotional first feelings in response to my statements. I want you to stop using, your family and friends need you!
Please contact me if I can be of ANY help. God bless you and keep you, Amen.