More on don’t trust, don’t feel and don’t talk

Part 3

My name is Alfie and I am an alcoholic, sharing my experience, strength and hope.

In my last article on alcoholism I shared how it manifested in my life, I would like to dive in a little deeper and share how it affected me later on in life.

About the age of 24, I met a young woman in a bar. As with most men I was a visual guy and was attracted to her beauty and her body. My emotions were elevated and my lower brain took over. I was enamored with her beauty. We ended up dating for a very short period and before long she had moved in with me. However, after six months, she decided to move back to her home state next to her mother.

After she left, I felt this great feeling of loss and and I became obsessed with getting back together. I called her and asked her to go on a vacation with me of which she accepted.

While in the airplane I had this gut feeling it hat it was not a good idea to commit to this relationship as she had been married at 17, divorced and had not gone through what I called the bright lights and dating and excitement that youth needs to mature into a deeper sense of comfort seeking. I was the first guy she had a relationship with after her divorce.

I totally discounted what my gut was telling me and went ahead full throttle into getting married by a justice of the peace while on that trip. I never once considered such things like… if we shared the same interests, shared the same values and same goals. That simply did not enter into my train of thought.

It must be love. We shared none of the above.

I paid little attention to her abusive childhood where she had been raised by a abusive alcoholic father and enabling mother. Her childhood mimicked mine and what seemed crazy-making to others seemed completely normal to me.

We both drank and smoked and it seemed that we could communicate non-verbally. I was completely unavailable emotionally and did not understand what she was saying when she told me that I needed to talk to her. I could talk a little about surface subjects but was totally ignorant about what intimacy was or my true feelings. These had been shut down long ago. Being afraid that she would leave me if I told her how pretty she was, my insecurity even deepened when I thought she may find another man better looking, smarter, with more money etc. I rarely, if ever, told her I loved her as that would break my old image of being a real man. Looking back, it was a way to control her by not making her feel she deserved more.

Being very naïve, she took a job as a cocktail waitress at a bar in town. She wore a low cut outfit and men were all over her. She was getting the attention that she craved. I was into my workaholic lifestyle and oblivious to what was happening until she started coming home later and later. In retrospect, I don’t think I really trusted her completely and was unable to understand what was wrong. After all, I thought they only thing necessary of a man was to provide and protect.

During this period, we had a child and I felt like a fish out of water. I had no idea of how to be a father or a husband. It simply was not role modeled in my family system. I was so into my work addiction, I did not even make it to my son’s birth. I had told her it was for us but, in reality, it was for my own selfish reasons to be a somebody.

My worst fear became a reality when she divorced me. My feelings of love turned into anger and rage. I was devastated emotionally and tried everything I could think of to try to reconcile. I even went to an attorney to see if he could get her back. I was clueless as to how to proceed. I dove deeper into work and alcohol and self pity. I was working seven days a week with long hours, hated weekends and became isolated from friends. Anxiety and depression haunted me. Life became meaningless and I really did not care if I lived or died. I started racing stock cars and rodeo events and started chewing tobacco. She moved back to her home state with my son. I was simply lost.

I did not share any of this with anyone, the no talk rule was crippling me. I could not get counseling because that would show weakness and to cry over it was definitely out of question. Man-up had been too deeply ingrained.

About a year later, my best friend was killed in a plane crash. I was given high doses of Valium. I grieved a little but again was afraid of losing my macho image. I stuffed the pain and isolated more. Being around friends and places that reminded me of both of them were extremely painful. My addictions seemed to lose their effect and I moved to another area as the memories were just to much to cope with. A year later, another very close friend was killed in a similar accident. I did not go inside the church as I was afraid I would cry and my real persona would be exposed.

Not long after, I entered a psych ward where I was placed under treatment for about a

month. I was emotionally numb, I had no feelings, I was put on lithium which did little good. It is hard to explain the emptiness I experienced. My father knew I was in trouble emotionally and took me to Mazatlan, Mexico to deep sea fish. While there, he took me to a whore house where he whored and I waited. That was the last thing I wanted to do.

Today, after many years of recovery, I can see how powerful the family system is. I have nothing but empathy for my parents. They had received no love and their needs had not been met. How could they give something that they had never had?

From this system, I had developed a false sense of self which was not even close to being the real me.

I had gone from being selfless as a young boy into being selfish, and self centered. I had learned to be a man was to be fearless, be tough, be a stud with women, cowboy up if hurt, never talk about feelings outside of “I’m fine,” and being able to drink others under the table.

Music like “I have a tear in my beer” and numerous other alcohol related songs had imprinted the value of alcohol into my mind as the remedy for everything painful.

If you shake my family tree, what comes down are alcoholics. I simply baffles me as to how many adult children of alcoholics marry alcoholics.

Special to the Herald Times