Born in August over a couple of decades ago, I would have considered my life quite ordinary as it was the only one I knew at the time. From an adult perspective I now see I was ripe for the hell I would swan dive into.
Early Childhood til 5
I do not remember being born. People say I was, so that’s the story I tell. But I do remember bits and chunks of my early childhood. It was good. I remember Mom’s spaghetti. I remember laughing with her. I remember loving smelling her and watching her when she did stuff. I remember no judgments and only love. I remember Daddy. He was my first love. He was handsome and I loved when he rode me on his motorcycle. He’d fill the plastic pool for me and my sister and we’d play. He’d buy us gum at the little country store. He’d speed down hills and I’d giggle crazily as I stood in the seat of the car. These were my good memories.
The Five Year Old Event
My parents separation/divorce would cross hairs with an event that happened at 5 years of age that had me feeling rage for the first time in my memory. I needed a surgery and several nurses held me down, stripped off my panties and gave me a shot in my bottom. It was the first time in my life I remember feeling humiliation, embarrassment, lack of autonomy, rage, and powerlessness all rolled into one. And when the doctor grabbed a crying and screaming Samsara from my mother, it was the first time I remember feeling aware that my Mother could not save me.
When I awoke from the surgery it would be the first time in my memory I became aware that “adults use illusions.” They said I could have as much ice-cream as I wanted. What they did not tell me is that my throat would hurt so badly I would not want any. I also for some reason expected to see my Dad there and he was not. In my memory, again, was the first time I remember feeling disappointed and heart-broken, though I did not know those words at the time. I did not need to know the words, in order to have the feelings. And this hospital event – I feel safe in saying – is what gave me my first education of this world I’d been born into 5 years earlier.
Mom and Dad#2 divorced 8 years later when I was about 13. It was at this time my story would really take off. I’d already had a few issues with fitting in and being shy and trying to not be and plus we’d moved to another state when I was 12. Now that my one stable Dad was gone, so was I.
At age 13 I started skipping school trying to fit in and fighting with fists when I didn’t. We’d moved to another state before the second divorce and I was the new kid so I attribute changes and a sense of not belonging to these new developments in my life. I never fought, at this point, to prove anything but to defend my sense of self that I seemed to have lost. I started smoking regularly and experimenting with pot and alcohol when Mom was seemingly absentee trying to have a career and meet a new man at the same time. My sister and I, left to our teenage devices, took advantage of being alone.
From a kids perspective I was doing what I felt I could get away with and from a _now adult_ I was just lost. A divorce, a new school, old friends left behind, a new state, a new culture, new accent… and teenage hormones coming into focus. I did not know who I was. I started drinking heavily. Mom met and eventually married Dad #3 who brought a fully stocked liquor cabinet of which, he himself, took full advantage of and quite frequently at that.
I was popping Dexatrim at age 9 or 10 and drinking screwdrivers as I practiced piano at age 9 or 10. This I attribute to coming home after school to both parents working. After exploration and recovery, seeing the 5 year old event, I see that refusing food was the one area I could exercise with complete authority. This thinking would eventually drive me to emaciation, not eating, anorexia, etc. The drinking of screwdrivers at such a young age was probably seeing adults drink them, knowing I was not allowed, and yet viewing ‘being an adult’ with bodily autonomy coupled with the genetic predisposition toward alcohol love on both sides of my family.
Mimi, my awesome grandma, took my sister and me for the summers where we’d enjoy an awesome beach life. I remember being 9 or 10 and sneaking diet pills into my camp bag. I wouldn’t start getting into her liquor until I was maybe 13, but by that time I was able to get my own from kids older than me.
To speed things along, I was entered into an alcoholic rehabilitation facility [which is an entirely different story since it used abuse as its methodology] at age 15 after being caught by my parents with alcohol poisoning for the umpteenth time. My Dad would find me naked and covered in puke he revealed to me after I got sober, and apparently he was the one who would cover me and shut my bedroom door. It would be when they went out I’d drink the vodka and add water to the bottle. I would be 13 and to get courage to be around people, I’d drink my Dad’s VO. To have this boyfriend my parent’s liked a lot at age 14, I’d drink VO. This particular time I went to a friend’s house, drank and forgot to come home until really late. They took me to the hospital and even today I can’t fully remember what the sequence of events were.
After rehab, I tried to not drink and was successful for several months. I made straight A’s trying hard to be the perfect daughter. I did adopt anorexia and bulimia full on, to help me cope with this illusion of perfection, as well as a boyfriend – my first puppy love – who disallowed me to wear wake up, who told me what to wear, called me names, choked me, kicked me, and terrorized me. Almost a year later, summoning the courage to finally end it after his suicide attempt and worsening physical and emotional abuse, I started drinking again and used alcohol as the courage I needed to end it.
Thinking a change was in order I moved to another state to stay with Mimi where I would enter college. Mimi’s drinking and the demons from her past began to catch up with her in her retirement and I was the one who seemed to absorb it. I turned back to drinking and after a secretive drunken suicide attempt – only the hospital who pumped my stomach and the psychiatrist would know – I would move onto campus. Here, in my own I would prosper in my own alcoholic way. I would stay drunk more or less when not in class and overachieve while sober in order to minimize any chance of alcoholism. I would fail. Again and again.
Sobered Up via A.A.
I finally got sober after many attempts at trying to stay stopped drinking failed. When I went to AA I met some people who seemed cool so I stuck around. I’d been sober several times without AA but the codependent dis-ease in these rooms was exactly what I needed in order to realize I needed more help than any AA fellowship could offer. These people – some more than others – were my saving grace through times I knew I would otherwise have to drink to survive my emotions. Other people, however, were Zen Masters that spurred me onto further recovery.
There are some personalities in Alcoholics Anonymous who really love telling people what to do. It’s almost as if they put down Alcohol and picked up Ego.And of course with my being an (unrecognized) HSP at the time, I didn’t know what was going on but I did know that I was a freaking mess. In other words, coming face to face with so many people claiming to be recovering from alcoholism while I knew they were popping pills, actively engaging in bulimia, smoking pot, or having sex with newcomers or carrying on affairs, I was like, “Oh is this sobriety?”
It hit me a few months after not drinking, this thought: “I finally remember why I preferred drinking over not drinking; The Illusions.”
Saned Up via Codependent Recovery
So that when my sponsor had suggested earlier she’d love for me to get into Al-Anon after a year of sobriety, sometimes that thought was the only thought that kept me not drinking. I had faith in her because she was not under the influence of illusions. In Al-Anon I felt like I’d come home. It was about getting back to myself and learning to take care of myself despite what the world was doing. Of course in this particular meeting they were still focusing on ‘their alcoholic’ so that I enlarged my recovery to Codependency in general. This is when my paradigm shifted on its head.
Er, “About Me?”
I have a lot of stories cause, “It’s all about the Story.” Who I am without my story is a spiritually woven and personal tale because there are no words for who I Am without my story. Literally and symbolically, there are no words. This is one reason I dislike “About Me” or “Biography” sections of social media or website profiles. I really do loathe them to death. What are my choices in that? Tell you a version of my physical body’s ‘herstory’ so you can see me in a way I want you to see me? And that’s a lie. And if you answer, “Just tell the truth” well then, which truth and do you care anyway?
This entire life and even the stories of this body I call ‘myself’ are beautiful mythologies that can symbolize or point to Truth but in the end and in this moment they are not even close to being ‘About Me.’ There’s the Truth. The closest I could ever say in Truth of an ‘About Me’ would be: “Yes.” My stories about me are all around me. My stories about you are still ‘about me’ cause you will never be more than my own perception anyway, just like I am to you. So Yes. I loathe About Me to death.
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