Monday, May 15, 2006

No Way Down

Even though I had it made (I had the best wife and partner any man could ask for) I didn't realize it. Instead of running away with Beauty I stayed and fought battles. Life was chaotic and uncertain. We had 3 children of our own before our 4th anniversary. The middle one, a son, we lost at birth. All this while we both worked 6-7 day weeks, countless hours, and raised the 2 older ones.

We did the church-on-Sunday-thing. Wasn't that what you were supposed to do? I was raised in the First Baptist Church from the time I was born so I was used to doing church. During this time of work I was able to go about 1 out of 3 Sundays when I wasn't working. Eventually the pressure piled up, though. We hadn't taken time to grieve for the child we lost until about a year later. When it finally caught up it wouldn't be ignored. We had a spiritual breakthrough then and moved on to a new level of how things work.

Eventually I got tired of being looked down on at church because I wasn't coming every Sunday so I said to heck with it. I wasn't there to please people. I wasn't sure at that point what the use of going was. Thanks to your average-every-day-Baptist and to my hard-headedness we quit going. I wasn't going to waste my time at church with a bunch of hypocrites and bigots. Those types of people weren't supposed to be at church anyway, were they?

About this time I thought that if we quit the Family Business and went away...WAY away...like Vermont or Colorado or Arizona...that would change everything. Life would be a dream. But every time we made plans to move something would happen that sucked us back in.

While the business grew steadily during these years every gain meant a heavier toll extracted in pressure and obligations. I had always enjoyed a brew now and then but during these years I found myself enjoying it a little more than usual...too much maybe. During this time I didn't realize that Brother had fallen hard into alcohol addiction. It happened for him at college, actually. Brother wasn't one of those that drank a couple or three a day. He could go days without but would spend the weekend making up for it. Eventually it got to the point that when he started he couldn't stop until he passed out...even if that was several days down the road. Once he woke up, he'd start again. This pattern would go on for weeks or months until some sort of 'intervention' (to use the clinical word) would happen. Then lives would be evaluated and promises would be made until the next time. Then the whole cycle would start over again. This went on for about 5 years. By this time his wife decided to end it.

Who knows why he chose this path. Was it pressure for success? From Mom? From the Family Business? Maybe. He made his choices. Eventually it cost him his marriage. It cost him his children (he couldn't go a custody weekend with his boys without going off the wagon). Alcohol crept into every corner of our lives. Anyone who says substance problems only affect the one person has never been through it. This almost killed Mom, it almost killed my marriage, and one September night at the age of 37 it killed my brother.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Azazelo said...

I know that feeling. I have been around alcohol abuse. It kicked me out of the house. But I'm glad I'm gone; I don't have to deal with that any more.

11:05 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Cory said...

My mother was an alcohol abuser, and did pot as well. Luckily se's gotten out of it, but it helped scar her, and by extension, me. I also went through a phase at the top of the decade where I was good friends with a guy who was very interested in the drug "culture". He loved dredging up net articles about weed and other drugs, and he always talked like a sophisticate about beer, which he enjoyed in spades, and got me to enjoy similarly. Luckily, we had an argument over something I posted on a BB that I thought he'd appreciate, and to my surprise didn't. We never recovered, and I think I began to realize that alcohol was at least as big as any other reason I got drawn to him in the first place. I sure think about him a lot still. He was a very smart guy. Had the potential to earn lots of money. He just loved his alcohol too much. I wonder if he's cleaned up yet or not.

12:30 PM, May 19, 2006  

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