Saturday, January 8, 2011

God Grant Me The Serenity..

Hello, my name is Holly and I am the sister of an alcoholic.

There are many reasons that people take the first drink. It's a mystery to me how people that grow up in the same family and have the same life experiences can turn out so differently. I do know there are things about Brittany that changed her view of herself from very early on in life. A grandfather that molested her, an elementary teacher that told her she was stupid, boys that teased her and taunted her. You just never know what events in life are going to leave their mark for all of time to see. What memories will stick and what ones will disappear?

My sisters drinking started in junior high. She told me the other day that she remembers one of the boys that she liked telling her that he didn't understand her , and asked why she drank everyday. She didn't know how to answer him, it was her normal already. During those first few years of her drinking she pushed our family to the edge with running away, jumping out of my car as I drove down the highway, sleeping around, getting in trouble at school when she went to school. After not too long of this behavior my parents were at a loss of what to do with her. The looked into and admitted her to a local drug program called LIFE. Our lives were occupied with "open meetings" on Friday nights when we could go see her in a group setting. We had other girls going thru the program come and stay with us. We were learning all about the things addicts do and say to get their drug/drink. The program was for her but in many ways it taught my parents and I coping skills and helped make them feel just a little less helpless.

The program may have kept her alive thru her teenage years but she would end up staying longer than most, running away, and eventually being sent to a home in Mississippi as a last resort for getting clean. It probably wasn't the best place in the world, but I am thankful that she had that year there. She worked as a nanny and had the bible beaten into her. I was away at college during that year so I didn't live thru it with her or my parents. I hear stories about it now and then from her but like most of her past I can't relate to her situations.

Our hopes of her coming home and being a "normal" girl were short lived. She hooked up with a boy that was from our area and also went to both of the same programs she went to. From that point until today we have seen her  thru D.U.I.'s, police chases, helicopters looking for her, SWAT teams surround the house she was living in in fear she was going to kill herself, stolen cars, abusive relationships, her pulling knives on family members, in and out of jails, hospitals, etc. She has also had good years, a sober pregnancy and beautiful baby boy that is a teenager now, she worked with me for almost 10 years, showing up to work everyday. She has had her own cleaning business and done very well ,,twice. She can have a very productive and happy life but the dark days are always close and never forgotten. 
When her fiance died in September all of us worried that she would fall back into the old days of drinking and destructive behavior. She surprised us all for a while by doing very well. Then came the holidays. I am not sure if that is what pushed her over the edge or if it was just too hard to keep up with life without her partner.
Having an alcoholic close to you brings on so many emotions. I go through everything from fear, anger, compassion, despair,sadness,and some other emotions I have no names for. I want more for her than she wants for herself. I don't have the alcohol to numb my emotions like she does and when she pushes me away I want to go sometimes, most times lately. I can't imagine losing my partner and dealing with finding a new "normal" after so many years together. I would probably be under my bed still, so I give her kudos for getting out and doing things.
Her last two trips to the emergency room the doctors have pretty much told her the same thing. This is a wake up call. She is killing herself with the drinking. She now weighs 100 lbs or less, she can't keep food down, she is tearing up her stomach. If she doesn't stop drinking she will die.
The hard part with that is, it is a slow and painful death. With her fiance, he had cancer. We knew the outlook was not good with Cancer but he was fighting it. He was going for chemo, he was  treating the disease. With an alcoholic like her, she is not treating the disease, she is not fighting for her life. She is doing just the opposite.
As her family member it is hard to wrap my head around trying to cope with the fact that I am going to lose my sister. Will it be this year, will it be years  from now, will it be next week? Will she end up in a nursing home totally out of it from a stroke?   When you find out someone close to you is dying you want to spend as much time with them as possible, you want to remember them for all of the good times you've had. When that someone is an alcoholic you try and forget so many of the bad times and  pull those happy memories out of the mess, you may or may not want to spend time with them because they tend to push you away unless you are an active supporter/enabler to their drinking.
I hope that I am wrong and that she will come home from the hospital today and choose a healthy sober life and let the people around her that love her be there for her but I fear that she won't. Time will tell...
God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right

if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with Him

Forever in the next.


--Reinhold Niebuhr


Donna @ The House on the Corner said...

I'm so sorry Holly. I can't imagine what your dealing with but I have been in the position of watching someone I loved very much dying. It's a very helpless feeling. I wish I had wise words of advice but I don't. I just wanted to tell you I was sorry and you're in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Holly... Just Hold on.

And Love her. Love her. Love her.

thanks for your comment on my blog.


Kim (My Inner Chick}