Ever just rant? I just got done doing that. And when I say rant, I mean RANT.
I’ve done that kind of thing before, just let go. Once in a while, I do it verbally, but not usually – usually it’s Left Side and Right Side going at it, often for hours at a time. But when I put it to “pen and paper” (so to speak), it puts the reigns on the two, slows them down. But let me say, they get pretty damn heated.
I’m working on my Fourth Step, sitting in a coffee shop, and I’m struggling with it again (just as much as ever). I feel like I have a better idea of what I’m supposed to do, I just don’t have a lot of content. I’m not, and never have been, a very resentful person. I didn’t drink because I thought I was being treated unfairly, or because I thought I deserved more “good” than I got. Nor did I drink because I was simply angry at someone (other than myself). I drank to drown out the fact that I really, REALLY fucked up. I tried to erase – but it wouldn’t go away.
The only real resentments that I have are against the religion I was raised in, and the fact that my parents were so goddamn over protective. It prevented so much real life that, when I finally moved out of the house, it was as though I was kicked in the teeth with a steel-toed boot. I was not prepared to move into the Real World, as ready as I was. But I did, because I couldn’t stand to be home. My parents used to say, “The reason it is so hard for parents and teenagers to live together is because that’s God’s way of making it easier for them to move out!” So move out I did, and I couldn’t have been happier to do so – until the steel-toed boots kicked. Even then, there was no way in hell I was moving back in with my parents – neither they nor myself wanted that.
Once I had shed my parents overbearing rules, I thought I was okay, but it wasn’t so – the Religion of Hell followed me EVERYWHERE I went – I couldn’t just escape it by leaving my parents.
All my life, I was terrified of doing something wrong. In the physical realm, this meant spankings, and very firm, stern voices, etc. – usually from my Father, but also from my Mother. And this was “Godlike.” So when I hear that “God is like your father (or parents),” I think, “Fuck that! I’m out!” But the worst of it was the Ultimate Punishment – being Hell bound. I don’t recall if I’ve ever described what Hell meant to me as a kid/young adult, but let me explain it now:
Here’s how Hell was described to me as a child, and reinforced over the years.
- “Ever been burned so badly that you got a painful blister? <Kids: Yes> It hurt pretty badly, didn’t it? Now, think of that, only a thousand times worse – and ALL OVER YOUR ENTIRE BODY, head to toe. But, it NEVER HEALS, and hurts like that always. <Kids: ohhh… noooo> Now, understand, that Hell is like that, only much, much worse.”
- “Ever been super thirsty? <Kids: Yes> Now, think of being more thirsty, on a super hot, dry, windy day – dust everywhere. All you want is a drink of water, because your tongue and throat are painfully sticking shut. Just a simple little drink. You can see other people in the cool shade drinking, but you’re in the hot sun; you can’t go into the shade, and you don’t get any water. <Kids, worried> That’s what Hell is like, only much, much worse. You don’t get to drink, and you’ll be that way FOREVER, it will NEVER stop.”
“But there is a way out! Be perfect as the Lord is perfect, and through Him, you can find eternal life in Heaven, where the streets are lined with gold!”
This is truly how I was raised. This is where the fear and worry and expectation of perfection came from. This is what I had to fulfill – OR DIE.
My parents didn’t stand there and point a finger, preaching this directly – they just allowed the damn church to rule their lives, and in their silence, they stood exactly next to it.
That, coupled with the over protection (which led to a lack of having a life), and the fact our example was that of the perfect Christ Himself (who we never saw or met in any way), and there’s no way we could possibly fail at living in the Real World, no way – we were dead set. Literally.
But it was probably my wife that hurt me the most. I could have lived with the other things, easily, had I not been treated as I was by my late wife. When she was sober, she was an angel – a friend, a sweetheart, and a beautiful lover. Alas, she was rarely ever sober, and when she was drunk – she was the Devil’s worst nightmare.
The lack of respect, privacy, and violence she had towards me was intolerable, and yet – I stayed. I stayed because I wanted to prove that 1) I was right; I was “in love” and could take care of and fix her, 2) I could help the kids, be there for them, and provide them with something that I had no right to provide them with from the start, and 3) that the kids’ mother was actually a lovable person. I actually thought I could help her. But I was wrong, I couldn’t, and as she died slowly over the last month of her life. I was angry that she ignored my love and care, and drank herself to death.
This left me very much alone, because by now, all of the kids had moved out/away – and I was again afraid of being alone.
This highly ingrained fear and worry has been a deep, barbed thorn in my side. The harder I work to free it, the more pain it causes me; but the only way to get rid of it is to pull it out along with the flesh surrounding it. So be it. I’m yanking this mother, I don’t care how painful it is! Once it is out, the Doctor can sew me back up.
… and then the Adult Me shows up.
I begin to realize that there is nothing I can do about the past. I begin to understand that my parents only did what they thought was best at the time, because they loved me, and they didn’t know any other way. I gain clarity over these things, and come to grips with all that was done out of love. Had they known the future, they may have done things very differently.
As for the church – they’re people, too. They have lives of their own, families of their own, and real-life problems of their own. Just as my parents could only do what they thought was right to begin with, so did these people. I must lay to rest the fact that it happened, because I have no way of changing their minds, or correcting the past. It is what it is, and I am simply stuck with it.
The religion – I’m still working on that.
And then there’s my late wife. Going through what I’m going through now, I “get it.” I understand why she was where she was at the time. That doesn’t excuse her viciousness and refusal to stop drinking, but I understand why and how the alcohol had so much power.
I also realize that most of what I recall in those resentments (especially as a child) can’t be changed. They are what they are. And in that light, I begin to understand that the resentments I’ve been asked to research aren’t those of yesteryear, they are the ones that are current. The NOW resentments; what’s going to eat me up inside until I drink to bury it?
I guess I have some more work to do. I’ll be able to list some things that are more on point now – but for some reason, I had to get that old shit off my back first.
I guess I’ll start over – again. But this time, with a bit more understanding of what needs to take place.
It’s weird to me (still) how just a bit of writing and some time can really change my perspective. I'm glad it did.