If I tell what is true for me, how will I be judged? Aren’t we suppose to be forever sucking it up? Aren’t we suppose to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and do the next right thing? YES. The answer is yes. But can’t it be possible that sucking it up and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps could be telling our truth. Rather than acting out, getting drunk, hiding our feelings, hiding our past and acting like it all never happened.
After having been in recovery for many years, twenty-one, I have known many people to kill themselves. I wonder how great their pain must have been. I have felt suicidal, but I have never attempted to kill myself. I want to live. I want to continue to have the long periods of good days that I now experience. I want to enjoy my life. And I will.
I know that I will always be plagued by the past. It will always haunt me. How could it be any other way. But it doesn’t have to destroy me. It can get better. I am sure of it. These are the attitudes that he didn’t have. Or maybe he did have. But he sought his freedom in money, whiskey, women and power. He died at fifty four. He looked seventy.
Some would have said that he was a successful and self made man. Unfortunately, I will never be able to share that viewpoint. I am suppose to stick to my story. I can remember the last beating that he gave me. I was sixteen. A friend was there to witness it. I stood there and stared off and tried to not look at my friend. The belt was not a surprise and I was numb to pain. I don’t think I even flinched. I think that is where my story truly begins.Where does one go from there. My life started out shattered and numb.
At sixteen I already was dependent on alcohol. Maybe not physically but certainly psychologically. I had a love affair with drugs and a habit of running away from all of my problems. And every problem that I had was unsolvable and insurmountable. I would try. I would put my best foot forward. I would ask questions and inevitably be confused and confounded by life. People would tell me to do my best and that would be good enough. Nothing would hang me up intellectually, more, than the thought of what is my best.I had Catholic rules and Catholic guilt emblazoned on my brain like a ranch brand. I had family loyalty. All of the don’t do, don’t say, don’t tell. I had secrets of which I had practiced burials. I was shot-out from the beginning.