And so this was going to be the coolest Happy Canada Day post about our home and native land and then things went off the rails a bit.. dang technology and my lack of skills in that area.. and the day passes and then my post gets deleted.. Yikes, insert an eye roll with NO swearing involved. This is a definite indication that I am on the up-side of healthy living..
This afternoon I was reading about Rumor Willis celebrating her 6-month anniversary of sobriety and somehow we REALLY were derailed and so this post is real, raw and yet I sit here and am so proud that I survived it.. Grab a chair cause here we go..
I remember someone thinking I may have had a drinking problem in the past and man oh man THAT is the furthest thing from the truth. Once upon a time there was a beach, a summer, a sunset, a trailer and a bottle. Back in the day we were like Lucy and Ethel + one, a couple of gals who laughed a lot, were silly and often were the life of any party. I was Lucy to her Ethel plus one. We would go with a group of folks and drink in Uptown Waterloo often karaoke, singing loud and proud on stage; man could we sing and laugh. They often got really drunk and I would rescue them by driving home, perhaps it was because I could hold my vodka better or I knew when to stop drinking.
Then add in a trailer where the gatherings moved to every weekend, drinks and food in hand off we went to get away from the crazy life.. humm or was it enter the crazy trailer life. This was back there when I gave everyone the love that I required, I took care of everyone else and forgot to look after me. What that meant was I always made sure there was plenty to drink, and there was always enough food for everyone. Oh we had fun and when we went into town and the local pub, we made everyone laugh and soon they knew us as the party gals. I did not require as much to drink as they did, I had my own fun laughing at and with others. I remember singing up a storm with the patrons and grabbing that sailors wheel at Harry’s Bar and howling with the best of them.. A lot of laughing occurred on a weekly basis. I loved the town, especially the church that had mass at 9:am on Sundays which I made sure I attended. Things were the same week after week for about 1 -1/2 years and then things went wayyy off the rails. Ethel and Juniper really got drunk to the point that often Ethel passed out from it. I never understood how that always happened and yet I was not strong enough to speak up and as with any alcololic it is never mentioned the next morning. I allowed it to continue and I enabled them by buying and buying and providing even though it wasn’t even my trailer. I often returned on a Sunday night not understanding what occurred. Ohh and we also spent money on silly things, flip-flops were the big thing and everywhere we turned the town was selling items that we bought up and brought home. At one point I had so much ‘Stuff in my place I didn’t know where to put it. And so I continued to go, trying to understand HOW people could be like that. I guess I was different because everyone at the trailer park drank or so it seemed to me. I loved the water and the sunsets because they had a calming effect on me. Funny, this week I understood more and more of those past haunts as I watched the sunsets on the water.
Life went like this a bit longer and I grew resentful of these folks when I was home during the week. Then enter Jasper the newest fun gal who had a life of her own and could drink with the best of them. Ya see this added another layer for me because I have always struggled in groups where people fought for one person’s affection in a group. Funny how you remember things from your childhood that still stick with you today. It was always me who brought the money to buy things and Jasper showed up to enjoy the weekend generally with one pepper and a six-pack. Who was I to judge back then, I never had the capacity to speak up or see that this was not right.
Fast forward many years when I broke off ties and they both moved away and no longer having contact with any of them. While I felt sad for a bit, I did not fight for those friendships to continue. I finally woke up realizing they all had alcohol issues and me I just followed the crowd and was the life of the party less the drinking. I now know that I stop drinking after a few because I will never allow myself to drink more since I saw first-hand what alcohol did-does to folks. Anyway, back to the story..
One day out of the blue Ethel called me in the middle of the afternoon and she sounded so distraught on the phone, I wasn’t sure it was her. She made a Big mistake and required my help.. YIKES, did you read that SHE required my help. Man, I had done a lot of work on myself, years of therapy to start to peel back the layers and yet there was something inside of me that said ‘Lucy ya gotta help Ethel. And so I went and helped her, taking her home and contacting her family. I also advised them that she was having a mental breakdown and the hospital was where she would receive the best help. Off to the emergency department we went and most of the night we spent waiting for them to help her. Sitting with her family and talking a bit about how we arrived at this point I started to open up about what life at the trailer did to me and I started to cry. What the heck WAS I doing because ya see, that was still the time when I refused to feel anything – another story another day!
Once she was admitted to the mental health ward, I left and returned to see her each day. I observed others in there and the sadness that must have filled their life and how would they ever connect the dots of their life again. She finally admitted she had some issues and I was able to sign her out each night to attend AA across the street. At that time I would learn about the Mental Health Court system and one lawyer mentioned I could be council for folks because I knew what I was talking about, my reply was simple -someone’s gotta look out for those who are suffering and it came natural to/for me.
THIS is where my story really starts and what I really wanted to post; all the stuff above just kinda spewed out of me just now..
Each night for almost two weeks I would arrive, pick her up and we would attend the meeting with the most amazing people around. Ya gotta know they felt like my family, they somehow knew real struggles in life and I could relate to them. This is a very sacred place where folks pour out their hearts and not a single person judges anyone. Night after night we went, I sat beside her to give her strength and smiled when she needed that ‘I got your back validation. Oh there were funny parts too; like after the first week folks thought we were a couple and I too was an alcoholic. At one meeting, I had to fess up and say I wish I was an alcoholic because this is an amazing place and NO I was not Ethel’s girlfriend and that I like men; many people laughed at me. May I just say I think this is the place where I was reminded that there is no them and us. I saw folks I knew and I laughed when they said I never knew and I said I was with Ethel and they were rather relieved for me and probably for them too because really ME a heavy drinker! I cried when she received her 24 hour sober pin and when she received her 1 year pin I wasn’t sure who was more proud; me or her. This was such a magical time for me as I look back and reflect: I cared SOOO deeply for my friends that I gave them 110% of my energy and now I understand why I was so tired when the wheels started coming off in my soul.
And so after this long story today, I share that Ethel is leading an amazing sober life reconnecting on a deeper level with her loved ones and her and I have gone out for dinner and email every now and then. We laugh about many things and deep down we know that the other cares.
For me this week has awaken a few things; water, sunsets, beach life and stillness and yet it reminds me of what three folks have told me in the last three weeks – Jaye you have a story to share and you are playing small.. share with others because you may help someone else.
If you or someone you know suffers from mental health issues, you are never alone and all that is required of you is to do one of two things: 1. reach out and say yikes OR 2. say Me Too .. The ripples of our words far reach anywhere we could ever imagine.
Me – may I say how much more at peace I feel as I am about to reach my two-year anniversary of attending Paradise Valley Wellness Centre because as Jeff said “Jaye you were never broken! Yes indeed, we are not broken; we may be misunderstood. We are Enough in this exact moment, no requirement to be perfect – What’s Perfect anyway but Boring!!!!
I invite you to be there for yourself in order to be there for others. All of us at one point in our Lives become a Beacon of Light for another.. Believe me because It IS True.
Shine your Bright Beautiful Light and as always, Thank you for stopping by to read this ‘extra long Blog..
4 Replies to “How do you show up..or do you?”
Extra long, but worth every minute:)
Thanks a lot Nancy, I have always appreciated your support and love.
FANTASTIC post my friend! So raw and real and full of love and heart. I’ve spent some time in 12 step rooms myself (not alcohol, not that it matters – addiction is addiction), and I can tell you what a wonderful gift you gave to Ethel. You saved her life, and then helped her continue to save it on her own.
Catherine, you are very kind and generous with your words. Thank you very much.