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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

they can't take that away from me...

we laugh a lot in rehab, and i asked someone if that was wrong.

"absolutely not". it's because there is understanding.

every stereotype is here:

the 80's pop star riding the sparking beams of her fading star...
the 60-something year old who has probably been through rehab a half a dozen times...
the 18-22 year old's who chain smoke, guzzle joe, and gyrate to jay-z under hoodies in the corner...
the desperate housewife from down south who drank and did blow 'til dawn, then took her kids to school half whacked...
the educated 45 year old, my roommate, who only triggered recently, like me, born to an alcoholic mother, locked out of her house as a child because her brother was high on pcp. he died at age 16.
the loner, who shuffles around, seemingly aimlessly, near mumbling, staring at his giant feet, who states he thinks about drugs all the time.
and then there's me. am i a stereotype? an unsuccessful actress who began pill popping...

[the way you wear your hat...]

where does my legitimate pain play into this maze? and does it even matter now, for i can no longer straddle that invisible line.

invisible. that's what we are to you. we infiltrate your churches, offices, social environments and volunteer groups. we are invisible to you. but we are not stereotypes. we are each individuals. very much flesh and blood. thirsting to understand why we may no longer drink from the fountain of dionysis. the greek god of wine and revelry and chaos. why are we the chosen people who suffer often in silence...

but with a twisted gift, i've been introduced to people who understand me, and i understand them.

[the way you sip your tea...]

i have always known about the research linking the alcoholic gene genetically, but i never made the connection until today. i am a child of addiction, but, i've never judged him. my father. he was a brilliant family physician, a loving husband, father, brother and son, an avid stamp collector, obsessed with rugby and he was an addict. dead at 38.

he was also chronically ill. is this why i forgive him his addictions? because i understand all too well the hell that is chronic illness?...the biochemical results of altering your meds are like negotiating a slippery slope of jello in louboutins...

yesterday, i was chatting with one of my dearest friends, k, and i was talking about how amazing the staff is here and how the psychiatrist instantly nailed how much emotional pain i still clearly have from my childhood. and she countered, "but that's no excuse", and i flinched, my hackles went up and a stone settled into my gut. i don't have all the answers yet. i am still learning...(of course, i love her with all my heart...)

and, yes, maybe there is "no excuse" but i was born this way and now i have to figure out how to live as an addict. it could've happened when i was 21, but it happened roughly 4 years ago...

[the way you sing off key...]

yes, memories of my father keep emerging; even the most benign circumstances will send me down a stream of waterworks.

we did a breathing exercise the other day, that sent us down an elevator. when the elevator doors opened, we were to be present in a scene from our childhood. this moment shone with crystal clarity. my father was clearly inebriated, thin and sick, wearing a short sleeved white shirt with a pen and pad in his pocket. he leaves my brother and i alone at the dining room table, with cold chef boy-ar-dee ravioli, as he retreats into his cave. i resourcefully call my mother, who quietly insists we must stay per separation agreement. i return to the table and my brother and i eat our meal in silence.

[the way you haunt my dreams...]

the children sit lifeless, wrecked by the knowledge that their father is not well. they can do nothing. they are despondent. they are out of control. they are gutted. their gills crave the calm, salty water. desperate for the depth of the ocean, the depth that will hide them beneath the salty brine. the girl is swimming upstream against a current that will never subside...

so for better or for worse, these are the my memories of my father, my baseball games, my piano recitals: his diabetes, always driving with 2 bottles of beer, his toothy grin (dentures by 36), spitting into a bag at a soccer game, the only horrendous hospital visit i can recall, his frail frame, his loving heart, his magnificent smile...but, no i don't judge him...

[no, no, they can't take that away from me...]

so why do i judge myself?..

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