Wow. Did you really think I hit the punchbowl that young? Look at that face of earnest concentration to get all that punch in the cup. Look at the left hand holding me up straight so as not to lose my balance now that I am about 3 or 4 punches in. I am making light of my toddler years but just the depth of my determination in this picture reminds me of every time I was determined to pick up a drinky-poo.
10 days from 90. As I wrote in Part I, dealing with the memories and rebuilding my sanity is more eye opening than I ever imagined. In the book, Gentle Path it discusses the rebuilding of the brain and I am simplifying but I am terrified of what is rebuilt. Will I feel more shame that I thought I was over with? Will the raw reality of the wrongs I have done in addiction will bear full weight when all I want is to be at peace and happy in the now? How about just feeling like this little girl? When I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol. This is me when I was probably 3. We start out pretty clean. Brains are as they say little sponges. Then those brains turn into little alcohol soaked rum cakes of uselessness. I pray for my child. I will follow him around until the day he dies. Yes, I will live that long! (dramatic Italian mother has surfaced for a moment)
Now when I was young and my son is now 6 years old we have experienced and still are what would be the starter packs of life. These come in the forms of mini-iPads, kids smart watches, kids mini everything and suitable for age groups of all sizes. Mini-cars, mini-bikes, mini-sports apparatus, you name it. Remember candy cigarettes? That was a recipe for disaster. I even looked to see if there was a kids beer toy and apparently in Japan there is a real beer (non-alcoholic) for kids. What a road of success and expectations we are paving.
Now my experience growing up isn’t obviously much different from a commercial parallel than my sons but his emotional upbringing will be. I had two very clear imprints put upon me in my formative years:
- I had to succeed. I had to look good. I was easy to abuse. I was insecure, anxious and ready for a rebellion.
- In order to rebel, I needed a tiny seed to cultivate that would create the security I needed to be an individual. Usually people use college as their out. I had that as my excuse for rebellion but the choices I made were based on other inputs.
Seed: easy one. Cigarettes
My dad had me try a cigarette when I was entering high school. I asked him why he smoked. He said “it relaxes me.” DING! DING! DING! I smoked until about 10 years ago and successfully quit.
Drinking? Easy. Once I tried it, I was relaxxxxxed.
My starter kit was complete. I knew how to release my inhibitions. The minute I went to college I didn’t do anything really great either. It did lead me to my career in NYC for sprint and that taught me how to lead, never say no to a challenge and strive to be a high achiever BUT with that kit, I built my alcoholic self. I was also so sick mentally and all the pressure and abuse built up inside of me. I was angry. That anger and confusion sustained itself until my later 20’s.
I also had the angel. The angel that somehow prevented me from:
- killing myself and everyone on the road while drinking and driving
- overdosing on a mixture of alcohol and marijuana or at a minimum some pretty good poisoning (I achieved that later)
- lawsuit; I broke a window in a club while being kicked out for being underserved. I was asked to pay the damage. I told them I would no longer promote their club on the radio that I was working at. They went away and I went back to the club apology in hand. (those were some serious beer balls I had)
Overall, those formative years were rough. I believe they had to happen. It is unfortunate that in my life and Jen #2 I didn’t calm down after that but now I am reliving it the way I only know how which is sharing the experience. Next blog: Part III(a) and Part III(b) (the post New York) years are revealed. What a prissy young lady.