Monday, June 22, 2009

What it was like: Year Twenty-one

I was stunned to realize that I forgot to mention that my youngest granddaughter was born in November 2003.  I have forgotten to mention several other huge things, but I figure I was not meant to write about them.  But how can I not be meant to write about my little monkey?  She was born.  I was there.  So was her father and aunt.  And her mom - who didn't have a choice in the matter.  

So, back to 2004 - with the "nice" sober boyfriend.  In September, with the approval of one and all, he purchased me a diamond engagement ring.  And got on his knee and asked me to marry him.  And I said yes.  He put that ring on my finger and the relationship changed from that second.  Our "engagement" lasted 6 days.  Six days of him not showing up where he was supposed to be.  6 days of his sudden rage that I had never seen before.  6 days of a person I had no concept was hidden under the facade that I thought I loved.  The last day involved him sharing with me the fact that the television set talked to him and that the dome light in his truck would flash on and off if he was having "impure" thoughts.  Etc.  Etc.  Etc.  It was like the cruelest joke I had ever heard.  Only it wasn't a joke and it wasn't funny.  It was another disaster in my life.  He asked me if I thought he was "crazy" and I had to tell him that all this sounded delusional and paranoid.  He said that "They" said the Wright Brothers were crazy too.  I gave him back the ring and ended another relationship.  

I did count my blessings that it ended before it had gone any further.  But then I started counting the people who knew he was that psychotic and just smiled and acted happy when I was talking about marrying him.  There were only a few, but I will never forget that.  I can forgive them because I have to, but I will never trust them.  A very dear girlfriend was one of them and I tried for a year to just get over my feelings of betrayal and then finally told her that although I wished her no ill, I simply could not remain her friend.  It was extremely difficult.  I had known her since I got sober and that relationship was very important to me.  

I knew that I needed to go back to living the "dedicated single life."  Not accidental, not waiting for the next relationship, but deliberate, dedicated and very very single.  I am very good at being single.  

My relationship with God?  I don't think it is probably very similar to most of yours.  My God is not some fairy tale worker who wants to sprinkle me with pixie dust every day and make me a rich blonde woman with straight white teeth.  My God is loving and thinks a great deal of me.  He has a lot more faith in my capabilities than I do most of the time.  He gives me very hard things to do.  And then I get to grow through them.  And I get to trust him as I am going through them.  And then I get to thank Him for whatever has been put in my life, because he has seen me through every single minute of it.  And it has made me who I am today.  I get in trouble for my humility because it is not understood in our culture.  I think I am a pretty wonderful woman.  I am grateful for who I am.  But I understand that I am made by God and not by my fabulous works. I am so incredibly grateful that God made me who I am.  Because it is good.   I also know that my God demands a lot.  Really a lot.  And what I get in return is more than I could begin to write about.  God's Grace.  

So, back to my 21st year... sometime that autumn, I took my granddaughters for the weekend and when I tried to return them to their parents I could not find them.  It was then that I knew that they were both using again.  Meth.  I couldn't think of anything worse.  I was so angry.  I was so worried.  I had to go back to all the stuff I had learned in Alanon.  It was so hard because of those little babies.  When I finally found them, I told them that they simply could NOT do this with little kids.  I will never forget my son-in-law looking at me and saying "I don't know what to say."  I said "I bet you don't!"  It was awful.  

I have family pictures from that Thanksgiving - with some plump and healthy looking people (me, my son, and other daughter), a couple of cute little girls, and their parents, a couple of skeletons with dead eyes.  I stopped taking pictures of our family events after that.  

I had my running, I had my AA meetings, I had a couple of sponsees, and I had my sponsor, I had my church, and I had my job.  I just focused on those things.  Although I am making this sound like a miserable year, it really wasn't.  

I did two triathlons in this year and they were just the most fun.  It is really my favorite sport.  The camaraderie of the women is something I never expected.  It is almost a spiritual experience.  

On my 21st birthday, I celebrated at my old home group.  I wrote about all the people who were there, and how I felt it was over the top with praise for me - but I wasn't complaining.  I wrote this:

"I am just so grateful to have this sober life.  21 years of a sober past."  

10 comments:

Ed G. said...

Of all the things that I never deserved and am in complete awe over God's creativity and grace, g'kids are the best...

Blessings and aloha...

Steve E. said...

...and another cowboy ("Howdy, Ma'am"!) bit the dust. How sad. If this were a novel, here is where hearts would melt for the heroine--Mary C.

But it is your story...and hearts will melt--mine also--for Mary C.

I loved particularly the paragraph on God, I'll use space for more than a comment. Seems to me (speaking for myself) that your God is my God, and I could find no difference in the description of that relationship between you and God than I and God. I just had not thought about it...that others might not have the same concept of their Higher Power, Who Created, loves, cares for, teaches, molds, chisels, and polishes them, me, us, into creatures which one day He will welcome into His kingdom with that Oh! so handsome, heavenly smile, and those yearned-for words, "Welcome Home!"

Pam said...

I can see that Thanksgiving Picture in my mind.
Enjoy Tuesday little butterbean.

Gin said...

Reading year 21 I can see how much you have grown and learned from your past. Great post.

♥Shann♥ said...

sober or not, LIFE keeps happening. I usued to think in early sobriety that being sober meant, i would float on clouds or something... weird... Im grateful that I have learned that being sober means living life on lifes terms, and those terms DO NOT always match what I think those terms should be... oy vey

Thank you always for sharing you

Scott W said...

A god of our understanding was all I needed to hear when I got into AA. I could breathe a sigh of relief.

Syd said...

I wonder what happened with the nice fellow to bring about his psychosis. Whew, I'm glad that it happened before the marriage. I guess that the defects come out. I've found that to be the case with people. Those defects of character (or an illness) eventually reveal themselves if enough time passes. Then I have to ask, "can I live with this?".
God..it is a God of my understanding. And I don't compare my relationship with that of another. I am happy to just work on my understanding of God and move closer each day.

Lou said...

You got me with the Thanksgiving picture. I have my own Thanksgiving picture. I can no longer look at it..maybe some day, but I had to hide it away for the time being.

Loved the paragraph about your relationship with God.

Mary Christine said...

I certainly don't think that psychosis is a character defect. It is an illness. The man was extremely ill and I think the stress of the engagement brought on an episode. I am grateful it did. No, I could not have lived with that, although some do.

Carol said...

Yes, thank God that you did not feel the need to 'help' him, to sacrifice your life to mental illness. Good for you that you did not need to carry the cross.