27 September 2011

The Power In Our Relationship

Another story from 2004... it is amazing how what I wrote over seven years ago still are things I struggle with today...

Where this ends, I don't know. I do know that I NEED to write. The last couple of days, I've been battling my own personal demons. This started after posting a poem and getting "ripped" for it. What I was getting ripped for wasn't the message of the poem, nor my intent. I sent the reviewer a message apologizing for the poem and what I did mean. Later, that same night, she responded and also apologized. That was it. For awhile, I'm just going to look around the den and see who I like and see what they write about. As another day past, I began wondering why did I apologize? I did nothing wrong, I wrote a simple poem, with a simple message. It wasn't liked! I pulled it off and began working on the old "I hope they still like me." I felt like a scared little boy, hoping someone would play with him.

I brushed it off and began my journey, searching for authors and poets, and reading. There are a few, that hit home. They had the life I had. Raised in an alcoholic home, some were raped, others watched the abuse. I knew what they were talking about. While I read, I felt their power, and I realized how much strength they had. With the upcoming release of my book, I have let some of these secrets go, but certainly not all. What I did say, I have said many times before, to friends, spouses, and co-workers. These events no longer have power or control over me. I also realize, I need to say the rest, to finish my healing. But the shame runs deep. My mind races to brothers, I haven't seen in decades, thinking they will disown me. Does that make any sense? By writing it down and "letting it go," am I helping any one besides myself, or am I just looking for pity?

Everytime, I'm totally honest and try to let people in, I end up feeling guilt and shame. "You shouldn't feel that way." Why? They're my feelings, are they wrong? If they are wrong, then I most be wrong! The biggie for me is God. I still struggle with Him (or Her) because of the events that have ruled my life. My Mom was a drunk, my Dad was a drunk, they were both out of control and they were in control of me. As a child, I couldn't say "Hey God, this family is sick, please put me in another one." I still can't find any reason why, I'd come home from school wondering what terror lurked within our house. As a sixth or seventh grader, I came home from football pratice, all excited because I was going to be the starting quarterback! I ran in the house to share my joy, when my eyes seen my Mom with black eyes and cigar burns, performing oral sex on my Dad. Dad seeing me, "Get the fuck out of here!" Where was I going to go? Being a "mans man" I won't go into detail about my life with my father, but it wasn't a healthy father-son relationship. I firmly believe, Mom knew what was going on but was powerless to stop it. Some odd events, she even blamed me for. This relationship added to my own "sickness" by making horrible choices as a teenager and a young adult.

Closing in on my 30th birthday, I couldn't handle it no more. The only answer for me was suicide. Like everything else I tried in my life, I failed. But you know, those after life experiences, people talk about? How serene and warm it is? Mine was anything but serene. It was a nightmare. There was no light, just a deep, dense fog. I could see my Mom crying, "please, not now." In the background, my Dad yelling at her, saying how she screwed up my life.

You could argue that I did have choices as a young adult to change my past. But my family was proud. No one failed! I couldn't do it, I didn't have the strength to say "help me!" So I ran, first physically, then spiritually. And anybody who ran with me, was destroyed! By 1994, I had no choices left, I had to quit drinking. You want to know what loneliness is? Its reaching a point where you know you can't have life with alcohol, but you can't imagine life without it! That is a fear and a terror, which I had to face. For the first time in my life, I faced the pain. For the first time in my life, I cried... and cried... and cried. The more I cried and I faced the pain, the more I realized how much I was hurt and how much I had hurt others.

Early in my recovery, at an AA meeting, a man offered a simple definition for the alcoholic. He said that if your drinking caused one tear to be shed, then your an alcoholic. I shed a lot of tears. Enough to fill many five gallon buckets. As my recovery progressed, I made amends to the people I had hurt. Some were skeptical, to say the least. While others, didn't want anything to do with me. And I understood and accepted their behaviors, because I needed to prove myself, to everyone, that I was sincere.

Ten years later, I'm still sober and there are still people who haven't forgiven me. But now its different. I look at my own ability to forgive my parents, which took close to 20 years, and realize that someday, somehow, I will be forgiven. I just need to remember it will happen "In His Time," not mine. And its "Thy Will Be Done," not "my will be done." Why I'm still here, I don't know. Why my Higher Power wouldn't let me commit suicide almost 20 years ago, I don't know. Now, I'm just along for the ride, trying to enjoy the journey. My Higher Power and me, still fight, still argue, and we're still friends. I know I am at, where I am at, because of Him. What the future holds? We'll find out together! I do know this relationship, has given me a family, that has never seen me drink. Whose mouths drop open when I share a story from my past. I know this relationship, has help me reach for my dreams, and just sitting here typing this and having you read it, is a dream, I never thought would be fulfilled.

I recently signed a contract for a second book and more of my secrets will come out. Its kind of scary, because I don't want to hurt anyone. I just want to feel "good" about myself. Its hard to believe something I enjoy (reading) would turn into a passion (writing). Something that 20 years ago, when I was homeless, meant nothing to me. Believe me, I know the strength of God! I also know if it wasn't for the Grace of God, I wouldn't be here. I'm thankful for the chance to share with others, and I'm truly grateful that God has given others the power, through their written words, to help me. So for today, I'll continue to read and I'll continue to write...

1 comment:

Dave Harm said...

thoughts from Authors Den

Reviewed by Angela Contreras 10/4/2006
Congrads on your books, I sure can relate to your expereinces you have shared. Writing is healing don't give it up. You not only help us but yourself. Writing is one tool that I use a lot. I also made a book free online book about my life living through abuse so it sounds like we have a lot in common with our expereinces in life. Thanks so much don't ever stop writing.

Reviewed by L. Figgins 3/17/2005
This is some powerful writing, Dave. I envy the openess in which you share your past. The person who "ripped" your poem may have been disturbed by it because possibly it "hit home"? There are truths that we don't want to face or deal with. Or it may have been read after a bad day. Don't take it personally. Keep on writing, you have a natural talent and it seems a destiny, also...

Reviewed by Sue Hess 2/6/2005
i very much enjoy your writing...i can relate to much of it although i did not come from an alcoholic family...i was the alcoholic, and drug addict...the only thing i can thank God for every day is that i never abused my children... although i can't thank myself for that, i left them with my mother till i straightened myself out and she was a Godsend, she raised them during important years and never turned them against me so that now i can emjoy a relationship with my kids that i don't deserve. anyway, please keep writing, you are one of the good 'uns.

Reviewed by Tami Ryan 10/17/2004
I found myself nodding throughout the first half of your story. Abuse - particularly childhood abuse - attacks our sense of self-esteem and worth. It is an incredibly painful place, and it is quite difficult to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and pull yourself out. However, with the support and encouragement of those who understand, it is not only neccesary for survival, but also, absolutely possible. Of this, I'm certain, because I have lived it. We all seek acceptance. As a Survivor who's been there, I encourage you to surround yourself with positive people.

Guilt and shame are our enemies. I no longer own the guilt (I didn't do this to me, he did). However, shame is a much more difficult struggle. Writing is incredibly cathartic. Don't let another dictate what you write; if your words are unacceptable to them, so be it. Perhaps your words cause them personal pain; if that's so, then your words have had purpose. Additionally, if what you write has personal meaning, it is worthy of having being written. Take things with a grain of salt and toss the rest away. Power and strength come from within; I urge you to continue to seek light. Be who you are. Period.

"Seek for that which is within and, surely, you will find it." (~Eileen Caddy)