Monday Musings: Choosing

I am the child of an alcoholic. I think that's the very first time I've written that sentence. It's funny because as much as we all know that this is the truth, very few people have spoken the reality that we have to live with. I guess admitting it really is the first step. And if it never happens perhaps it's not true. Ah, if only that were true. In my time on this earth, I've come to understand many things. These past few weeks have led me to yet more knowledge that will help me grow. But with growth comes growing pains and I've been feeling those as well.

My father is two people in one body. The loving man that wants to feel needed and loved, that is willing to give you the shirt off his back and has helped so many in his lifetime. And then there's the ball of pent-up anger looking to unleash itself on anyone that it can grab a hold of. It's never been physical but, I happen to think that at times, the psychological effects of an emotionally abusive engagement can be just as damaging.

With mami gone, the buffer this family once had has evaporated. We are left raw to the wrath of an unhappy man made even unhappier by the loss of my mother who looks to alcohol for courage, resolutions to issues in the distant past and a perfect weapon to make others feel his pain.  He is not communicative unless he is drinking and even then, his passive aggressiveness is a sight to behold.

I have some decisions to make. Some closure to give to myself because I know now that I won't get it from him. It saddens me but, at some point in time, as adults, we have to realize that just because it's not right doesn't mean it won't happen. We need to understand that sometimes it's best to throw in the towel rather than get beaten to a pulp with no tangible result. So many times I've thought that we'd come to a resolution, a happy medium where tears are shed and kind words are exchanged. I open myself up to the relationship but eventually, it just means that I open myself up to hurt and disappointment as it gives him a better look at my heart since I don't have it guarded.

I've bottled up my feelings and shut down my responses to life at times because it's learned behavior. That will stop. The thing that hurts the most is the fact that he doesn't know who I am. That he doesn't know who any of his children are and he is missing out on some pretty awesome people.

But we deserve better. Deserve to feel that we are enough. Deserve to be looked at as productive members of society full of compassion and love which is how our mami raised us. We deserve to no longer be upset because of hurtful words that are thrown at us out of a deep-seeded hurt having nothing to do with us. Deserve to not have to worry about his decisions or have to pick up the pieces after his decisions blow up.

I will not feel guilty. I will honor the memory of my mother by being strong, supporting my loving family and letting go of whatever is causing pain, discomfort and distrust. I won't put up with negativity or put-downs.

Today I was able to find forgiveness in my heart for him. But, like Pastor Hunter has said, forgiveness is like buying a home. You signed the papers but every month you have to make a payment to really own that. I know this will be a journey for me. But I welcome it.  I will continue to love him but loving someone doesn't mean you allow yourself to be hurt. If he ever chooses to find help, I will support him.  Until that time comes, however, my interaction with him will be limited and restrained.

I am the child of an alcoholic. And, although it has shaped the woman that I am, it does not have to continue to weigh me down or warp the shape of my future. I write this tonight because I know that others have gone through (or are going through) a similar situation. If you've read my blog in the past, you already know that I believe there's no such thing as coincidence and so, I put my story out there in hopes that someone will find some comfort in knowing that they are not alone.

I am the child of an alcoholic and today, I choose to no longer let someone else's addiction affect my life.