Darkness. Dread. Confusion. Sadness. Anticipation. Nausea. Pain. Confusion. For the last several years those words up there are the enduring vocabulary words that stand out the most in my blurred memory. It’s not hard to imagine actually. I would bet that every adult, hold one or two would admit that they have had mornings consumed with the same emotions. And the questions… “How did I get in my bed?”, “What did I say last night?”, “Did I hide the bottles?”, “How did I get home?”, “Did I hurt someone?” …I don’t need to think hard, they’re on total recall & Deeply engrained in my mind. Those are the same questions that I asked myself and the same feelings I’ve had about myself 98% of my mornings these last 8 years or more. It wasn’t always that way. I also remember a time when I didn’t have as strong of a conscience. A time in my mid to late twenties when all of those words were okay while sewing my oats and all. Was it then that the neural connections of addiction set in? Was it then that the trigger was pulled back? I made a lot of things okay back then. Nothing was in vain, everything was a “stepping stone” to the full life experience and selfish wasn’t a word in my vocabulary.
As kids, my sisters and I lived an adventure. Aside from moving multiple times, our Mom did her damndest to provide a stable home and food on the table with $7 a week. By all accounts the early part of my childhood was fairly traditional. Mom and Dad, two girls and a boy, two half brothers, dogs, pancakes, a backyard and sprinkler…Christmas tree blah, blah, blah. There did come a point however that my memory kicked in. I can still close my eyes and taste the air in that living room…smell the cigarettes and hear the hiss of the television and before long, what was warm and comfy became scary and epic. I will never forget the fights between my parents…loud and passionate fights. Mom in night gown Dad with a slur and bulging eyes. There was one particular fight that holds special meaning to me you see, it was when I learned the phrase “Cocksucker”. I had to be 6 maybe 7 at the most and after work one summer afternoon my dad was supposed to take me for a haircut. Not soon after his deadline came and went he finally arrived but alas it was too late. He had one chore to do out of the many that he ignored and when he didn’t show, my mom was fit to be tied. She read him up one side and down the other and eventually ended up walking away screaming that sweet moniker that has endured. I think back all the time and wonder if thats when the trigger was cocked. Destiny had already been written and the memory serves as a place holder, a reference for me to compare to, presently. Replaced were the dreams of getting a pet rooster for my birthday by smoking cigarettes and drinking beer in the basement at age 8 while watching Donahue. You see, like any kid I learned early to model myself after what I saw. No shame to my mom or dad at this stage in my life but when smart doctor people say “Kids see everything” they mean it. Presently, I can recall a handful of times that Duane and I have fought in front of Jonah and on more occasions than I can count we fought behind closed doors and I was the slurry, bug eyed drunk and it started in my house when our boy was much younger then memories of my parents. Smart Doctor people also say that life repeats itself and if that’s the case I rhetorically ask, what have I done? Did I pull back a trigger for my son? Did I set in motion the inevitable ticking of the alcohol binging, belligerent time bomb for him? Time will tell, but in the mean time I’m starting from scratch. I’m going to talk about who I am and what I am with my son. I won’t let him stand behind the curtains to hear hateful, drunk criticisms from me or disappointment filled defense from his other dad. I will do what I can to reset, to un-cock the trigger for Jonah. What lies beneath in your mind? I hope my recollection and memories help you unpack your demons so that you can look at the horizon and feel hope.