Friday, July 12, 2013

Everyone Has a Story....

Henry  was my fraternal grandfather.  He was a raging alcoholic who died in his recliner with a bottle resting on the floor beside him.  His disease affected all of the members of the family.  My dad was unable to get an education because my grandfather provided for his drinking habit instead of his family.  Henry was a great source of embarrassment for my dad.  In the 1940's they didn't talk much about alcoholism.  They probably hadn't studied the family disease concept.

In the 1980's I was in high school.  My oldest brother is seventeen years older than me.  He was my favorite.  His wife is now a recovering alcoholic but during that time she was an actively drinking.  I remember saying to others that my sister in law was an alcoholic and my brother's drug of choice was her.  At the time I didn't know the term codependency or understand it but I knew what it looked like.  I was so angry with him for such a long time.  I could not understand why he didn't get it and just get out. 

My sister's husband is a recovering alcoholic.  He has been sober for a very long time now but before he had his spiritual awakening, my sister did what many of us do early on....she became a bit of a lunatic pouring out beer, throwing out his supper.....locking the door.  They have a son who is a recovering addict which only ratchets up the insanity to new levels.

It was easy for me to judge others in those days.  I was perfect you see.  I knew what not to do.  Those kinds of things would never happen in my life because I would not be that stupid.

Dr. Phil says that what you fear, you create.  I guess he's right.  I remember going to my very first AlAnon meeting.  My son was in rehab and there were two ladies there from our small town.  One lady went to my church and just a few weeks earlier her husband had blacked out right there in the pew and the Hubby helped to get him outside and call for an ambulance that he later refused.  The other lady had some mental issues from a childhood trauma.  In small towns we know a lot about our least we know enough to label them.

When I saw these two ladies at the meeting, I thought to myself, "oh my goodness, I am in trouble here...I need professionals and look who is here."  That was a long time feels like it anyway.  I am a bit ashamed of that judgmental girl.

But, life has it's way of taking care of most things.  I've had a slice or two of humble pie.  And, quite frankly, I am thankful that I have.  I am a much happier and healthier person now.  The best advice that I got from Al Anon was to mind my own business.  I learned that what others have going on is not my affair.  I was a bit shocked to learn that maybe I was sticking my nose into all of their problems to avoid my own.   It is true.  I do seem to have enough to keep me busy right here in my own back yard. 

And, who am I to judge the choices of others in their journey?  What do I know about Henry?  Well very little.  But my brother who stayed with my sister in law.....I guess we have a lot in common.  My sister in law grew up with an alcoholic mother and her parents divorced.  I never had to deal with either of those things.  I can't judge her.

My sister got married at eighteen years old and had a baby at nineteen.  I can NOT imagine that and the fact that she has hung in there worked her whole adult life, raised two kids and respected her marriage commitment is quite commendable.  My brother in law lost his mother to cancer at a very young age and then watched his father drink in an effort to cope with the loss of his wife.  Today I am humbled by these two. I think the saying about it's not where you are but from where you've come certainly applies to those two. 

The one lady from Al Anon whose husband passed out.....the one who I thought was clueless...she has started more AlAnon groups than anyone I know.  She volunteers at the local jails and is leaps and bounds ahead of all of the "perfect" families that I know.

The lady that was traumatized as a child....Her father slit her throat as a child and left her to die.  She always has a hug for me and asks about my son.  She always has something wise for us to hear. 

Everyone has a story.  Everyone.  This journey has taught me to start to look at souls and to ignore the packages they come in.  They are only an indication of how difficult the journey for them has been. 

I wish that I knew Henry's story.  Instead, I will pray for his soul and for those of all of our addicted loved ones. 


Terri said...

Bless you! You are so right. Judge not least ye be judged!

Annette said...

Everyone DOES have a story. I love to hear people's stories....which is probably why blogging has been so meaningful for me.
I have often thought about your Dr. Phil quote. I had a truly paralyzing fear of my kids going down this path, becoming addicted to any sort of a substance... I couldn't fathom any of their precious little souls struggling the way my parents did when I was little. But here it is.
Our stories can bring us together if we can bravely share them.

Kelly Bea Rutherford said...

So true...