In staying with talking about addiction this week I got to thinking about the addiction I witnessed as a child and it’s affects on me.
My mom was every bit of an addict. Her addiction started when she was 14 years old. Her grandmother would let he drink wine when she would go visit her, which was often as her own mother couldn’t “handle” my mom. Some would argue that if her grandmother never gave her that drink that she wouldn’t be an addict today. Some would say that it’s in the blood and she was destined to find addiction somewhere down the road of her life. Or how about the sins of the father being passed into the next generation? I can’t answer any of those. I can’t say I have a strong opinion on any of those I mentioned but I can say addiction is a lie from the pit of hell and it’s purpose is to kill, steal and destroy.
Addiction doesn’t just slowly destroy the addict-the family and loved ones of the addict pay dearly. My mom was the kind of alcoholic that would show up drunk anywhere. Banging on doors, yelling and demanding, then lying and conjoling when the former didn’t work in her favor. She was downright nasty in her dealings with those around her as she had one goal in mind. I know I sound cruel and even more cruel that she could read any of these writings at any time. But I’m tired of being silent for her sake. I’m also quite sure she wouldn’t take the time to read anything I write. And for the first time, that’s ok.
This series is titled fragments because not anything about my childhood was predictable that I could sequence the events. They were more like one mess to the next mess.
One of my first memories is sitting in an igloo my dad made for my sister and I. I had brown boots on and my feet were very cold. It was a good memory.
My next memory is, in that same trailer, being in the livingroom watching my mom take the family photo off the wall and cut my dad’s face out. She then put it back in the frame and hung it back up. I can still see the shape of the cutout and the cardboard behind it. So sad, looking back. So mean and cruel. But I think we’ve all been at that point with someone in our lives like she was then. I try to remember that. My thoughts are like this, “Man, she could’ve just taken the picture off the wall. She didn’t have to do all that. Didn’t she think about us and how that would make us feel?” But then the next thought is this, “She was angry at him for something and she wanted that last word. I’ve been there many, many times. She probably wanted him to walk in and see that and be sorry for whatever he did or didn’t do.” How many times do we parents get so involved in our feelings and emotions that in the heat of the moment we’re creating these kind of memories for our own children?
But some of the stuff she did from that point on would inevitably take that grace in my eyes away. My next memory is still at that trailer. (My memories run on which trailer we lived in, what grade I was in, and who I was living with) She had all night parties. There would be strangers strung along all the furniture, loud music, and smoke filled air. I remember her giving me shots of JackDaniels whiskey in those little juice glasses. The ones that jelly and cheese used to come in. She would pour it and tell everyone to be quiet. I would drink the shot and not whince. I remember the burn and always remember the taste, but I did it the very best I could because she was smiling and she was giving me attention. They all were. My 30 seconds of fame, I guess. I was in kindergarten or 1st grade at that time.
So here we are right back to addiction and it’s nasty cycle. The same questions can be raised. Did she do it to me because it was done to her? But wait she was 14 years old not 6! Did I become an addict because of that and what the attention felt like? Did I become an addict because she was, and her dad was and her dad’s dad was? Or maybe I was doubly cursed since my dad’s dad was an alcoholic and a pill addict too. Makes you think doesn’t it? This kind of thinking takes the blame off the individual that’s using and abusing drugs, and puts it on their parents, on genetics, on curses, on circumstances.
I blame her for her decisions. The decisions she made, that I will unfold over a length of time, were what she decided to do. And yes they hurt me. I am staying on the path towards forgiving her, which I hope this series as I write it, will help me with that. But I don’t and won’t look further and say she did this or that because this or that happened to her. Because then I could look back at my own mistakes and decisions and point my finger at her and say it’s her fault I ended up at a methadone clinic pretending to get clean so they would feed me more. No one made me walk in that door but me.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that no matter what when or where or why, an addict is an addict and it has to stop. I spent so many years trying to figure out why she did what she did. And why I did what I did. It’s sin. Sin can happen to anyone, any family, any young girl. Look at those you may have heard of that came from fine families that had great upbringings. They get a certain age and boom they’re out the door and living on the streets begging for money. Sin is sin. Lesson #1.