Posts Tagged alcoholism
I can hardly believe it’s been two months since Tarzan’s funeral. The last thing I wrote about him was our discovering his alcoholism. His stay at rehab was followed by a blackout drinking binge after just four short days of sobriety. Tarzan returned to rehab again. I don’t believe he went back because he wanted to, I believe he went because we all begged him to try again.
When he returned home he was clearly not the Tarzan we all seemed to know. I think we just never knew him sober. He was not the kind of drinker who smelled of booze. He was always upbeat, and busy. No one in our little circle ever once had even a single clue that he had an issue prior to the incident before his first rehab stay.
Tarzan committed suicide two weeks after his return from his second rehab stay. It’s been two months since his funeral, and it still does not seem real.
Drama everywhere I look these days. Jane could have never guessed that Tarzan’s secret daughter would have been the problem she wished for instead of his problem with alcohol. I myself come from a long line of alcoholics, and I truly didn’t see this elephant in the room. To be perfectly honest though I have been wrapped up in my own menopausal woes here lately. Like most addicts Tarzan is masterful at hiding his addiction.
I hold no superior judgement on this subject. Alcoholism is no different from having any other disease in my opinion. I would not judge a person harshly for having diabetes, or any other illness in spite of a rather horrifying childhood of having an alcoholic father.
Jane herself is no stranger to life with an alcoholic. Her story differs from mine though. Her mother died from sclerosis of the liver when she was just three years old. Her father did not drink so she really doesn’t have any experience with detecting the symptoms.
So you can imagine her great surprise of finding him passed out cold on his back doorstep completely unresponsive. Having him rushed to the hospital by ambulance, and having the doctor ask you how long has he had a problem with alcohol?
Jane’s response was that he does not have a problem with alcohol. The doctor looking at Jane with an expression of great belief replied that his blood work results showed otherwise. He then strongly suggested that rehab should be the next consideration.
Spawn has just me.
I have no siblings, a cousin whom I only get along with for three day or less periods, an absent dad I flipped off once over thirty years ago, a dead mom, no living grandparents.
On the other end, there is a shitty biological donor with mental and drug-related problems, one dead sibling, an absent dad, absent half-siblings, a dead mom, no living grandparents.
Don’t get me wrong, if you dig past that, I have a couple aunts and some more cousins, but we don’t see each other much since we aren’t close. I’m the evil black sheep of the family and I’m to be kept away from the straights lest some of my bohemian lifestyle wear off on their offspring.
My BFG is like the only second parent to Spawn. They seem to be kindred souls in many ways, they both have an addiction to bacon and pasta that is unmatched and often, BFG’s presents to Spawn kick mine’s ass. They just “get” my kid.
Spawn’s other donor and I met in art class in high school actually. Then we parted for years because, life, and when I met them again, they were able to put on a reasonable facade of the person they used to be, but the cracks showed up pretty quickly and the whole thing ended.
When Spawn became exclusively mine, legally and otherwise, I figured that the questions about the other donor would be better if I made them up. We split a long time before either of us knew Spawn was a factor and its a miracle they came so healthy.
However, the other donor actually asked if they could be a part of Spawn’s life. I told them the door was open but if they pulled any shit, I reserved the right to end it immediately.
At first, this was a weekly pick-up from daycare and they would go for a walk at a park or something until dinner. It dwindled over the course of a year or so and then it would be nothing.
Almost annually, usually around their birthday (they couldn’t be bothered to remember Spawn’s), they popped up for a little while, want to see Spawn, then disappear like a bad dream. Once they decided popping pills and driving were a good combination, Spawn was no longer allowed to be alone with them, much less in a car.
I tried very hard to work things in such a way that Spawn had a great memory of their other donor without becoming aware of just how messed up they were. I would pick them up, schedule a “them” focused day and kind of linger in the background. Spawn had a great time, the other donor earned some points, and I didn’t have to deal with the shit for another year.
Example: Spawn wanted donor to watch them at karate class, I dropped them off, went down the road to run a load of laundry, to come back and find out donor has taken off across the street to a place that, not an hour before, they told me they used to buy drugs.
The last one was about five years ago or so when the other donor, who is currently ordered to pay a pittance in child support (seriously, $40/week is the order, I agreed to whatever would get me out of there fastest since they originally ordered $80) decided that in order to get out of this monetary infringement so they could pool their resources for better prescription drugs, they needed to get married. Apparently, they assumed that being married would automatically grant them half-custody and they would not longer have to pay child support.
So the other donor decided to disappear for a month and brought back a spouse from… god knows where. They lived like a recluse so none of us could figure out where they found this person. The donor has a house (paid for) and car (paid for) they inherited when their mom died, plus some actual monetary inheritance. I don’t know the last time they actually had a job, so I have no clue what the hell they thought they were doing. Usually I get a fat lump check whenever the court threatens to toss them in jail, since they’d already done so once.
The marriage didn’t last a month, despite the fact the spouse was apparently at least slightly crazy too. Friending me and Spawn on facebook and gushing about the “happy family” and “fast friends” they hope will be kind of made my stomach lurch. I ran interference before Spawn saw any of it often.
I watched the crazy sort of run its course, talked to a lawyer, found they didn’t have a leg to stand on, and just waited to let them run it to exhaustion. The only thing I had to say about it was to keep their crap away from me and Spawn. There would be no further visits for now.
This was the catalyst for them to release apparently a lot of pent up vile they have been holding onto against me. They couldn’t have their way, so I was the monster. I won’t get into it too much, it makes me rather ill, but when they decided in their drug-addled brain, to send my grade school kid this long facebook message about how I raped them and that was the only reason they existed,and I also apparently orchestrated the goings-on of the entire world with my genitals, being nothing more than a devious puppet-master.
I saved it. I blocked them, blocked their number, and sent everything to social services and family court, along with my only response. I told them if they thought they had a leg to stand on, they were welcome to take me to court, that they had no visitation rights, I had full custody and they had nothing, including the three bottles of prescriptions meds they ordered online, which I listed by name, by quantity and how many were left during the 10 days they had been in their possession before they had their stomach pumped (I was friends with their mom, and their mom’s best friend. The last time donor went to the ER for a stomach pump, the friend did some housecleaning and gave them to me as a backup plan).
That the true problem could be known quite clearly by simply pulling their medical records for the last twenty years and talking to the only person(s) who would still have anything to do with them, since they only did so in honor of their mother.
I told them if they ever wanted to see Spawn again they would have to submit to a mental exam and a rehab program, and only after an extended time of passing both, with court supervision.
It wasn’t long, a couple months, for the silence to end and I get a text from a number I don’t recognize with an apology. I respond with “too late” and block that one too. So far, they have tried to reconnect only twice. A few days ago, marks the third. Spawn and I both got a friend request from yet another account they have created, since I blocked all the others. They are convinced I’m just going to forget and forgive just because they play nice for now.
I only know because Spawn asked if I wanted them to block it. Spawn remembers when I told them the donor was no longer to be around us, that they had gone too far but I wanted them to keep the few good memories they had so I would not be getting into the details of why, but to please trust me that I was doing it for good reason. Spawn cried of course, but eventually figured out over the years that I wouldn’t do something like that with half-assed feelings.
Donor gave Spawn a ball once, one they’d shoplifted. Other than that, the other donor spends their time inhaling copious amounts of prescriptions and alcohol, spewing word salad and trying to pass it off as poetry and making shitty art. Even Spawn said “all there is on their facebook is badly taken photos and crappy poetry.”
The donor’s birthday is a little over a month away. I had always tried to acknowledge the big gift-giving occasions on behalf of Spawn. Of course, that stopped years ago when I noticed that the reciprocation was never there. As usual, this is a test to see if they can eek back in. I don’t know if selfish acknowledgement is the only motivation.
I’d like to think there is one tiny speck of humanity in there that realizes Spawn is their only living family left. Unfortunately, my very next thought is the only reason why any of this would matter to this particular piece societal garbage is for what exploiting Spawn would get them. They are a taker, they give nothing.
So my response was simple “pull something like this again and I will involve the police.”
Is it bad to wish they’d just die?
I am a personal assistant so when someone hires me it’s usually because they are trying to juggle their family responsibilities along with their career responsibilities, and the demands that come with both obligations have my employers stretched almost to their breaking points. Hiring a personal assistant is an intimate decision much like choosing a nanny, or a housekeeper because you will be required to share parts of your private lives that you generally don’t share with people who are not your family,or part of your inner circle.
I have to be able to blend into the background of someone’s personal life, and find a way to help them meet all the demands in their personal lives without actually being a part of their inner circle. It’s a delicate balancing act, and I absolutely love what I do. I love order, organization, setting my own schedule (for the most part), and the satisfaction of being able to help my employers live a much less stressful existence. I have done the 9 to 5 schedule, I absolutely hated it! I prefer to be on the go, and never in the same situation day after day.
Being in the background of someone’s home life also means that you will inevitably also be privy to family secrets. For the most part it can be arguments between family members, the private, but spoken aloud commentary that is not meant for the ears of the general population. The range of issues can vary depending on each family. Addictions, alcoholism, special needs, your family may be dealing with having an aging parent who has moved in with them, so it is an incredible leap of faith for a family to have to trust a total stranger to keep the family secrets, and remain nonjudgemental about their personal lives. This is a part of my job that I take very seriously, and another great reason to have an anonymous blog. 😉
Some people learn quickly from their mistakes. I am not one of those people. I would love to tell you that after my first experience with drugging, and cutting class I learned my lesson. That I never repeated this behavior again. The truth is that for the next decade I partied like a rock star, and showing up for classes wasn’t exactly a priority for me. If your parental mindset has kicked in, and your thinking to yourself things would have been different if I had never met Wynn, well that is a mistake a lot of parents make. Which leads us back to the argument of nature versus nurture.
Just as a reminder I think both play a role in a person’s choice to experiment with drugs/alcohol, but I definitely lean more towards nature in this argument. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had not met Wynn in the bathroom that day. If it had not been Wynn it would have been someone else. As disappointing as it may be to all the parents out there, the only one responsible for my choice to experiment with drugs/alcohol, and various other juvenile delinquent behaviors was me. Blaming someone else for my choices would just be wrong. Convenient and enabling, but still incredibly wrong!
This of course does not mean that family influences (the nurture part) are completely absolved from any wrong doing, whether unintentionally or with intent. The environment we grow up in plays a major part in how we approach life. My father’s undiagnosed mental illness’ symptoms, and severe alcoholism certainly played a part in how I approached my life choices in a major way without a doubt. However I was also surrounded by even more good influences from the other adults who played major roles in my upbringing versus my Father’s singular influence. On life’s scale this should have pushed me over to the good choice making side. Yet I chose to make poor decisions in spite of that fact. I would also like to point out that I am the oldest of 4 children, and 2 of my siblings raised in the same environment have never experimented with drugs, and were exceptional in their behavior at school.
Now let’s go back to the nature side of the argument. I firmly believe that some people carry a genetic predilection towards addictive behaviors. I come from a long line of alcoholics, way too many to consider it a coincidence. Alcohol is not my personal demon, my preferences lean more towards pot, and prescription drugs. I have been drug free for 27 years, but I still carry my addictive tendencies. I have just replaced my drugs of choice for different addictions like coffee and food. I will admit to you though that there have been many days when I do wish I could revert back to my old habits. Particularly at times of extreme stress, sometimes just because I miss the feeling of being buzzed. I also believe that some people who have certain forms of mental illness use both alcohol/drugs as a way of self-medicating.
The road to self recognition is a long one. Realizing or being willing admit to one’s self that you have a problem is a pretty major moment in a person’s life. Understanding that your behavior not only impacts your life, but the lives of those you love, and share your journey with is a sobering thought. Deciding not to repeat the bad choices you’ve seen other people in your life make, or the ones you yourself have made well that’s maturity. Making a commitment to hold yourself accountable for your own actions, well that’s enlightenment. 😉