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Thursday, April 16, 2015

A New Day

In my defense (which I make only as an explanation and not an excuse) I was operating this blog under the assumption that people who had blocked me were not reading it.

I want to take just a moment to explain my journey of the last 22, almost 23 years.  It may help anyone who is on a similar path and it may give others a better explanation of what my personal demons have been all my life.

I am the child of divorce.  My parents' divorced at a time when it was still considered socially unacceptable to do so.  People got married and took vows and my parents were of the generation that understood the difference between a vow and a contractual agreement. 

When my father left it was during an unsettling time (though I do not think a man or woman can leave their child behind and not have it be unsettling).  My mother was pregnant, I was 5 years old and we were scared.  I in particular was deeply frightened because I had come home from kindergarten and found my father packing his suitcases.  When I asked where he was going he said he was going on a business trip and since he made his living as a salesman this seemed reasonable.  Unfortunately, it was the first of a series of lies.  He never returned, except in fits and starts and usually to attack and scream at us about how we were not being good enough or smart enough.

Thus one of the biggest demons I have fought is the idea that I just do not measure up - I do not know how to talk to people, how to laugh appropriately or carry on a conversation.  I am not pretty enough or smart enough or loveable or good enough for a friendship.  I have overcompensated most of my life - getting the best grades in school and trying to be the good girl that Mommy needed during her toughest times.  I took the obligation of protecting my baby brother to such extremes that I fired babysitters and then took him back to our house when my Mom was at work. 

Someone asked me recently if I started drinking to escape and I told him I didn't think that was the reason as much as wanting to fit in with the crowd.  Until I went to college I had my acting and music and writing to keep me on the beam.  Yes, I was a nervous and unhappy child.  I did not fit in at grade school and felt awkward in high school but that is not unusual. Most adolescents go through such awkward stages and most of us survive.  I loved God, I loved my Church and my biggest want was to have a boyfriend and be thought of as popular.  I was two years sober before I found out I was considered popular in high school, which makes me laugh at myself to this day!

No, drinking was a kind of dare.  Here's the bottle, Leslie, have some.  What I did not expect was the effect alcohol would have on me.  It filled that hole in my center.  It made me not care that I would not pass muster in the regular world.  From the first slug of Southern Comfort I found paradise and acceptance and feelings of independence and dang, it was FABULOUS!  Who would not want to repeat that, and often?  Add to that mixture the various drugs of the time and kerPOW - a solution becomes a problem in no time at all.

Getting sober has been a journey not only of trying to negotiate the world sober but in finding out that I do matter.  I am loved - not so much by humans but by God.  Coming back to The Church helped me find my center and in the beginning of my reconversion I was too forceful in my preaching.  I have found such joy and happiness that I wanted others to have it too.  I overstepped my bounds.

With my birth or blood family, I tried to shield the children from hardships and I tried to teach them that I would always love them no matter what they did, thought or experienced.  What they see, however, is someone who thinks they are better than everyone else because they are sober, Catholic and finding acceptance at a deeper level than the human.  They see me as overbearing.  I have only myself to blame for that and can not apologize to them for being that way anymore.  They have had enough of my apologies and I do not blame my family for not accepting them.

I do believe in objective Truth and I am sorry for those who have rejected that Truth.  I know that, while I have not been very successful with my family, my witness has helped others.  I know this because those people have told me my witness and my enthusiasm and my ability to transmit the teachings of The Church have inspired them. I don't think they are lying. I am grateful that they are in my life.

I also believe I am loveable today and while I miss the interaction and sharing with the ones I love I am truly more dependent upon the love of God than the love of creatures.  My cross is a cross of my own making, but I know that Jesus is helping me carry it.

The people in my 12 Step family as well as my Catholic Family (Dominicans, RCIA Catechists, others) has all shown me a love and forgiveness that the regular world is not real great at demonstrating.  There is a reason for this and it is a simple one:  they have all seen their own mistakes and how those mistakes have harmed others.  They have grown as a result of falling down.  They know the power of forgiveness, not just when they receive it but when they give it.  They are willing, more so than the average person, to forgive.    They do not, however, expect forgiveness to wipe out responsibility and so they are helping me now accept my part, my responsibility in the breakdown of my personal relationships.  They are helping me carry my cross.

I have forgiven a lot.   Because I was urged and guided to forgive, I have experienced relationships with people I would have just walked away from and that is priceless.  Those people did not change - my father, for instance, really did not change.  He continued to lie until the day he died and some of those lies I did not discover until after his death.  That does not matter.  I forgave him.  He was in my life.  When he died we were at peace with each other and that gift is amazing.

My promise to God and to my readers is that I will continue to be transparent in my life.  My promise to my family who reads this is I will try my utmost to not hurt you with my transparency.  My hope to all is that, if I do, you tell me and show me so I can correct my errors.  Do not, please, assume any malice on my part.  If I stumble it is because I am blind.  Help me to see.  Do not just leave me in the dark to find my own way.

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