I am very grateful to have met my next guest author, B. Her blog, “The Happy Quitter” is about her journey to quit smoking after 35 years! I found her writing very real and honest, and witty. We also seem to have several things in common, except she is not an alcoholic. She offered to write a guest post for my blog but was not sure if the topic was appropriate. As I read the draft of her story I was overwhelmed with emotions. My memories started to surface. We had even more in common than I thought… a painful childhood. It’s hard to heal, forgive and move on after experiencing such pain. Nevertheless, a huge part of recovery and healing is working through that pain and finding forgiveness. Thus I felt that this story could also be healing to others. Thank you B!
More than one scar… A story of forgiveness.
Written by B, The Happy Quitter.
Whenever I write or talk about my childhood I always talk with lots of love about my Grandmother. She gave me wonderful memories, that I will always treasure, but there were years before that; years that I don’t mention.
People always automatically assume that my parents might have died young and I hardly correct this assumption. Why? Because I don’t talk about them, so for the first time I will write here, in a guest post, openly about a part of my life that haunted me for a very long time.
I spent my early years with my parents and things in our home were different. On the outside we pretended to be a normal middle class family, but it changed behind closed doors. Nothing was normal! There were days, when I had to be quiet and I was sent to my room, because my Mother was not feeling well. I always thought she was sick, because some days she was normal and bought me presents, even baked cookies for me; problem was that was often in the middle of the night. She woke me up, smelled funny and asked me to come with her in the kitchen, where she showed me the burned cookies. She was furious with me when I didn’t want to eat them, so I learned to play her games very early.
Some days she stayed in bed until the afternoon and forgot that I had to go to pre-school. She was often violent toward me, slapped me for little things or yelled at me for things that were out of my control. One day she actually sent me off to school and forgot to give me my jacket. When I asked for it she told me not to be a baby, so I went without a jacket. It was winter and it was snowing. My teacher had a fit and she told him –in front of me- that I must have run off. I was in deep trouble at home after that.
My Mother was an alcoholic, I learned that later. Her mood depended on the booze she had or didn’t have. She didn’t drink every day. She had clear moments that lasted for a couple of days, then I was her “Baby” and her “Sunshine” and every time when I was happy about the fact, that now things were normal…they changed again. My Father was a coward. He drunk as well…but not as excessive as my Mother, he was afraid of her. He taught me early on to walk on eggshells in the house, because Mother wasn’t feeling well…again. They had terrible fights and they ended when Mother passed out…or was closed to. Then, I had to go into the bedroom (order from the Coward) and apologize to my Mother. I asked once what for and he said, it doesn’t matter, just say you are sorry…and so I did. One day she was very violent, yelling and throwing things and she hit me. She hit me on the head with something and I was bleeding and they brought me to bed. I remember the next day, I felt miserable, the pillow was stuck to my head and I was hurting. Then, because they were sober, they decided to bring me to a doctor. All the way they told me not to say anything. When I repeated what had happened, they told me that I must have dreamed it all. They told me I fell and hit my head, it must have happened in the night. I was 6 years old.
The doctor called an ambulance and I was rushed to the nearest hospital. I had surgery and was brought to a adult section after I woke up. I had to wear a helmet and was suppose to lay still. The women there were wonderful and treated me like a princess. Everybody asked me about my fall and I didn’t say a thing. I was brainwashed, well prepared and although afraid. My Grandmother came to the hospital and she asked me about it as well and I told her “I never want to go back home again”. I told her everything…more than I share here.
And so I moved in with my Grandmother until I was an adult, I owe her everything and still after so many years think about her every day.
I have no idea what strings my Grandmother pulled, but it must have worked. It was in the 60″, child custody hearings or child abuse cases were pretty much unknown, everything was hidden and not openly talked about. The picture of the perfect family had to be protected…even though almost everybody knew the truth.
My parents had a kind of visitation right once or twice a month. At the beginning they came and visited me…then the visitations stopped, they didn’t even come on my birthdays or Holidays anymore…what was fine with me.
When I was older, somewhat around 14 or 15, my Grandmother and I talked about my parents; she told me that my Father was sick and dying and that my mother wanted to see me. She asked me to go to see her for a few days and since it was her wish, I went.
My Mother seemed sober, but was highly nervous. She didn’t care much about my Father, it was all about her. How would she go on, if something really would happen to him? How she would finance everything she needed, that was her main concern.
Quickly she got angry and we had an argument. She told me her drinking wasn’t any of my business and that it was my fault anyway. I was shocked by that, didn’t know what to say or what to believe. It hurt…still after so many years she could hurt me that much.
My Grandmother died when I was 18 and that was the last time I saw my Mother. The last thing she said to me was that she never wanted me in the first place and the last thing I said was “I didn’t want you either”. She got pale when I said that and for years I asked myself if I really meant it.
Years later in my 20’s I was terrified. I enjoyed a glass of wine now and then, but it scared me. Would I be an alcoholic too? Would I be like her? I had so many questions, needed answers and there was nobody to ask.
One day I went to an AA meeting, I wanted to hear what they had to say. People got up and talked about their life as an alcoholic…some had stories that made me cry. Somebody asked me if I wanted to introduce myself and I said “I am not an alcoholic” and he didn’t believe me, he just smiled. I started talking, right there in my seat. I talked and talked about this part of my childhood, the things that I didn’t understand. They listened and after the meeting a lot of people stayed and talked to me. For the first time somebody –strangers- told me it wasn’t my fault. Her drinking, their drinking had nothing to do with me.
They asked me to forgive her and I said “NO”….”Never” and I meant it. Over the years I realized I had to let this part go and I had to forgive her/them somehow. One night, not long ago I found the peace and strengths in me and forgave them…and I actually meant it.
Will I ever forget? No, it left more than one scar.
You can read more about B’s life without cigarettes by visiting her awesome blog The Happy Quitter.
If you would like to share your story on this blog, to help inspire and support those still struggling with addiction and/or alcoholism, and those currently in recovery, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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