My Sobriety

Introduction

This past week has been emotional rollercoaster for me.  I willnot go into details right now about why it has been a emotional rollercoaster for me.  I just need a distraction so my mind will stop thinking about it and pass time.  So I will write about being alcoholic and getting somber again.
I will warn anyone reading this that it will contain subject matter that some people may find really sensitive like sexual, physical and mental abuse, alcoholism, suicide and other things.

Childhood

I guess to properly understand what was going on I should start at the beginning.  Some parts of my narrative may not make sense.  For tthe longest time I was in denial about what really happen in my childhood after I finally manage to get out of it.  Even now when I am no longer in denial about it, the memories seem all jumbled up and out of order.  So I will just do the best I can.
I can recall the first time I was sexually abused by my father for the first time.  I was six years old and came home from school to have it happen.  There was a time when me and my father would be alone that it would happen.  My mother was working now since my father’s work place accident and he stayed at home to take care of us.  
That went on for about two years until it stopped all of the sudden.  One day I came home and nothing happen.  That didn’t mean my father didn’t abuse me in other ways.  It wouldn’t take much to set him off and he would find reasons to punish me.  Either by slapping me or just putting me down.  I spent my childhood not really being active in anything.  Knowing that if I came up with an idea or did something he would put me down and say I was stupid. So I learn to keep my mouth shut and keep my ideas and dreams to myself.  
My father was not always like that.  I have memories when I was younger when I felt loved by him, but that changed with that workplace accident.  A stupid accident that should never happen but it did.  An innocent choice and next thing you know tragedy strikes.  Then to make it worse make even more bad choices after that.  That was one of things I learned as a kid is how bad people can change.  How life make someone who loves you into someone that sees you as something to take their angry out.
That made me scared of people.  I didn’t want to put myself in a vulnerable position again in case it would happen again.  But there was something stronger that drove my feelings toward people and that was angry.  Angry at the indifference people had toward what I was going through as a child.  But also the blame that people on me for what I was going through and trying to deal with it.
One of the problems I had when I was a kid was bladder control.  Since the sexual abuse happen in the bathroom at home, I saw bathrooms as a place not go in.  Even more so if there was an adult say in the school bathroom.  I would try to hold it as much as I could until I was in suitation where I felt safe.  Like being in the bathroom by myself.  That didn’t always work and I would pee and crap into my clothes.
This was a source of embrassment for me in those early years. I try to face my fears and go to the bathroom to avoid the ridicule and blame but I just couldn’t do it.  Dealing with the ridicule seem easier than facing the fear.  But what bothered most of all what really was that the adults didn’t seem to what to understand why I should have problems with the bathroom.  I should just go to the bathroom and I was being bad for not doing it.
That just one thing from my childhood, but there was often other things.  I grew up not trusting people to help me with what was going on for me.  Only time I allowed people to help me was when it the problem was out of my control and somebody had to help.  Usually helping came with more blame.

Start of the End

As I grew up into my teenage years life just became something that seem overwhelming.  That it some ways didn’t seem worth living anymore.  What was the point of getting up and putting up with another day of the crap.  One of the ways I dealt with was to stay awake during the night.  Lay in my bed listening to the radio.  There was no one abusing or blaming me for anything.  The dark was peaceful to me.
But the emotions I felt inside as I grew older became stronger.  Wanting me to do something about it.  Especially the angry I felt inside especially toward my father.  I probably should have seek counseling or talked about it.  But who could I trust.  Besides they would just blame me for what I was feeling and I should just do better.
The angry grew to the point that I was considering radical things.  One of them was to take my revenge out on my father.  To get him to stop.  Even killing him seem like a good choice and that time came to me.
My father was a heavy smoker.  All the dangers you hear about smoking well they finally hit my father.  He spent his days hooked up to an oxygen tank.  Dragging his oxygen tube behind him.  One day when he was being particular abusive, I thought about stepping on that tube and cutting off the flow of oxygen.  We where alone and it seem like a fitting payback especially for the sexual abuse he put me through.
I really debated with myself with killing him.  I was alone with him.  No one would suspect me of killing him.  After all he was just another smoker that died.  I knew killing him was very wrong but I wanted to be rid of him.  I didn’t go through with it.  I hated myself for not going through with it.  I had the chance to get rid of my abuser.  But would I do anything about it?  No I just sit there and let him speak those vile things to me.

Hitting Bottom

I did realize that I needed to do something.  That with the oxygen tube always there, I would be tempted.  One day I may actually go through with it.  How could live with myself killing someone in cold blood like that even if it is my abuser.  But what to do?
I was at my senior level.  I could go off to college and move out of the house.  But I had no money for that, my parents would not help me and didn’t have confidence in myself in getting scholarships.  So I did one thing I could do.  I joined the military specifically the Navy.
Those last few months brought some stability to myself.  In a few months I would out of the house.  I would no longer be tempted to kill my father.  So life finally seem good.  Well reality would come crashing down on me.
To make a long story short, me and the military didn’t get along.  Also I felt anger at the military because I believe they screwed me over on my enlistment.  I was always getting trouble until I went too far.  At that moment was demoted and sent out to the fleet in disgrace.
Shipboard life was bad enough along with my shipmates not trusting me because I was demoted.  I always got the crap jobs in the engine room and always had my work checked by another person.  Even though my control in life was being pushed to the limit I manage to keep things in control.  Not that was particular strong or courageous.  Just started drinking alchol when we where in port to give myself a break.
My drinking was not something my shipmates knew about it.  While they where hitting the bars, I was going to a hotel room to get drunk.  For the simple reason I didn’t trust myself being drunk.  Being out of control while drunk was not good.  Somebody may say or do something that tips me over the edge and I do something I regret.  Besides alone in a hotel room seemed great.  Not having to deal with people.
This system worked really good for me.  I managed to keep myself under control because I knew eventually we would pull into port and I could be alone to get drunk.  That is until something happen tip me over the edge hard.  That being my abuser finally died.

The Funeral and Wake

I was deployed at the time when the news came in.  They airlifted me back to the mainland and gave me leave to attend his funeral.  To be honest I was happy.  He was finally gone.  He would no longer be a part of my life anymore.
Even at the funeral I had to act like I was sad over his passing.  I had to play my part.  But inside I was so happy.  That is until I had to return to the ship.
We had six hour watches in the engine room.  Most of the time there is nothing happening so your bored.  Being bored I started thinking.  There was two main patterns of thinking
“It was wrong to be happy.  He was a living being and his passing should be mourned despite what he did”
“He was abuser and desrved the long agnozing death from smoking.  Now you can go home and not have to put up with him anymore.”
These two contradicting lines of thought upset the mental balance I had.  I would drink more.  But also realized that maybe I wasn’t worth living.  Someone who thinks about killing a person and is even happy over their death.  What kind of person would I become?  Maybe it is better that instead of killing someone I should just kill myself.

Recovery

After that when I was alone in that hotel room, I would bring the knife to my wrists.  But never went through with it.  Hating mysefl again for not taking action.  What could be worth living for in life that I wasn’t doing it.  I was just a waste in life but I never did until I came up with a new way to kill myself.
I decided that sleeping pills was the way to kill myself.  Drink them down with the alochol and just slip away.  I felt inside that this time I would go through with it.  Again that calm came over me again.
I bought the booze and pills and did it one night.  I cannot recall how many pills I finally took before I passed out.  But I do recall some really heavy dreams.  In those dreams time seem to slow down to almost a crawl.  I cannot recall much else about those dreams.  But reality came crashing down on me when I woke up.
I was still alive.  Now I really felt like a failure.  Couldn’t even get killing myself done properly.  No one knew what I did so I just walked out of the hotel room and just keep walking.  Trying to figure out what I was going to do now.  But mostly really being depressed.  That I was stuck in this life and I might be a monster like my father.
I came across this park and went through some trees to this picnic beach to sit down.  That was when I saw a bright light and someone was talking to me.  Telling me that life was worth living.  I may not know right now what it would be worth living for in life right now but I would will.
I don’t know what I experienced on that bench.  When I tell the story to some people they say it was angel speaking to me.  I don’t know.  But whatever it was it gave me strength.  The strength to go back to the ship and keep living.

Giving up Drinking

If life was like the stories and movies then everything would be alright, I would clean up my life and live a productive one.  It was not that simple.  It was more like a very gradual thing.
Even though I had my mental balance back and thinking about what I saw and heard in the park gave me mental strength it was still hard to keep living.  The main reason being that there was still a big part of me that didn’t believe what happen in the park.  There was nothing to base hope on in life that would become better.  Nearly all my experience showed me that life wasn’t worth living.  
I still had thoughts of killing myself but those thoughts never had much strength in them.  But I still went to hotel rooms and drank alochol.  In fact it was the only thing I did when I wasn’t on the ship.  But I had serious rethink of drinking after my mom came to visit.
Me and my mom had for the lack of better way of saying it, a complicated relationship.  I hated her for denial and inaction when I was kid.  But the last few years she had been more supportive of me and I really appreciated that.  But when she came to visit it put me in a difficult suitation.
I wanted to drink so bad, but mom didn’t know that and there was no way I was going to do that in front of her.  So either I go visit with my mom or go drinking.  I made the wrong decision.  I called the firend she was staying with and told her I couldn’t come because I had stand watch on the ship.  Proceeded to get the hotel room and got drunk.

More Denial

The next day I went to my supervisor on the ship and told him I needed help staying somber.  That was meet with disbelief.  I was not your typical drunk in that no one ever saw me drinking.  But most of all I didn’t suffer from hangovers.  I could wake up the next day after drinking and continue on like nothing happen while my shipmates where nursing hangovers.  A lot of my shipmates thought I was faking it.
There was a few half hearted attempts with groups on the ship to help deal alocholism.  But after doing two six hour watches and a six hour work period, the last thing I wanted to do was stay away.  I wanted to sleep.  
I could have attended civilian AA meetings ashore but the idea of talking to strangers about my drinking problem why I had one seem so wrong.  It would just be like childhood where people would blame me and tell me toughen up.  So I never pursued that avenue.  
So what did I do remain somber?  I did the same thing as before without the alcohol.  I would rent a hotel room and watch TV, maybe go out to eat or see a landmark or scenic place.  As long I didn’t have to interact with people too much it was fine.
I also went cold turkey.  Never drank alochol again.  I thought about maybe weaning myself off it.  But that would never work, I just go back to my old drinking levels while bullshitting myself that it was fine.
Those last two years in the military where extremely long.  Anyone who has ever given up on addiction can relate.  Your mind knows it is wrong but you still feel the need.  The need is strong and feels like you cannot resist it.  Time slows down to a crawl where each minute without a drink is a milestone, now do another minute.  
As time went on the need to drink eased.  I also found new ways to cope with life and what happen to me.  Found people I could trust and feel safe with in life.  So needing alochol to cope with life became weaker and weaker over the years.  But it is never gone.
I liken it to opening a pandora’s box in my mind.  Once the mind is exposed to something it cannot be rid of it.  The memories are there.  Memories of how drinking eased my troubles.  Memories that I could commit suicide and solve my problems.  So the need and thoughts are always there.
They just don’t have any power over me like before.  I know there are better ways of dealing with life than drinking and suicide.  But that doesn’t mean I will never drink again.  There could be things that once again throw off my mental balance and I start drinking or commit suicide.  Which is possible. 
As the pain in my joints becomes worse with age (not arthitis but something else) I am having a hard time dealing with it.  I have to be careful about what pain medication I take because the addictive nature of some of them so I took up smoking again. 
That is the thing I have to watch out for in my life.  That they are still there ready to tempt when the right time comes.  Nothing wrong with that.  Just who I am as a human being.  Some of my faults but also another source of strength.  Just depends on how I choose to use it.  That is the important thing is that I choose that way not let it rule me.

EPILOGUE

Well I could end this post here and ride off into the sunset.  But there is one part that should be told.  I wasn’t drunk but somber but it had to do with my drinking.
My first partner who I only married because I was desperate for partner (instead of bullshit lets be brutally honest here) wanted to be married in the church.  As part of that we had to attend marriage counseling.  It was like being with my mom again.  Passing judgement on me and letting me know if I should get married.  Yes thank you very much. 
So my mindset was not in the right place at the time.  But I soon came to attention when the issue of my somberity came up.  I am not even sure how it came up.  The priest wanted me to tell him about becoming somber.  I did and then he said something that soon regretted.
He told me because I never attended AA or a 12 step program and wasn’t saved then my alcohol addiction but must be overplayed.  Without even thinking I got out of my chair and belted him.  While he was laying on the floor I told him not judge me or minimize what I went through just because my actions don’t fit the mold.  
To be honest it actually felt really good to do that.  It was not the proper way to deal with it, but I didn’t let someone minimize me or look down on me.  I wanted respect for myself and I did get it.
Like I said it was not the proper way to deal with the situation.  It was something I had to watch was my reactions to people when they do disrespect me like that.  There was times from then on that I didn’t handle it properly.  I didn’t hit anyone but being disrespectful while demanding respect is not the way to deal with it.  But I have learn better ways although I stil slip from time to time.
I think that is the proper way to look at ourselves.  Not as someone who needs to be changed.  We cannot be changed we are molded by who we are born as is in life but also our experiences in life.  Those will never go away but we can look at ourselves and learn about ourselves.  Learn about our weaknesses and strengths as a person to deal with life in a better way while being the person we are in life.  Sometimes it can take a long time to learn that but I have faith it will happen.