One of the things that prepared me for a lockdown in a coronavirus world was growing up in a home with two alcoholics. I grew up to constant yelling of one parent belittling the other. The other parent screaming from the pain of being punched in the eye. It was an insane way to grow up. The other sad part about it all was that was the baby of the family and could not turn to three older brothers for comfort and support.
What I had was a world of fantasy. A world of sports, where I was the hero, the owner of teams, and the commissioner. When I was a pre-adolescent child, I would play tackle football in our backyard all by myself. I created a scoreboard for basketball games which I also played by myself.
As I became a teenager the beatings my dad put on my mom became more intense. They went from her being a punching bag to being chased around the kitchen with a butcher knife. During her drunken episodes she’d find new places to hide and sleep it off, hoping to avoid the evil which would be returning home from work in a matter of hours. I got to the point that I didn’t care. In fact, I began to wish that she would just die, it would become a sure way for the insanity to stop.
At that time, pure peace was found when it was quiet. This comfort of peace stayed with me after my mom died and I was home alone. Sadly, this peace disappeared when I found alcohol. But before that, I could spend hours on the couch, with a Sports Illustrated Football Game on the coffee table in front of me. The teams were the Steelers, Cowboys, Dolphins, and seven others. They were the best teams from the late 70s.
The game had individualized stats for every team, so it was quite realistic. I would set up a nine game season. Each team would play each other once. Next to the game board, I had a notebook and a pencil and I kept the stats for every game. The season would last a couple of months, usually playing one game a day. By the way, a game lasted a little over an hour, so it did occupy my time.
I started doing this when I was 16 and kept it up into my early 20’s. I had two brothers who shamed me for wasting my time playing a kids game. It didn’t matter that it brought me comfort. It brought me peace from a childhood that showed me pure evil. It taught me that there was nothing wrong with staying home, by myself, because I was happy and far from feeling lonely.
I enjoyed that time and honestly, I forgot all about it until this new insanity in my life. Coronavirus. Covid 19. Whatever you want to call it, the premise is that for society to beat it, we need to stay home and stay away from crowds. No longer can a person go window shopping because they are lonely.
I’ve been at home for over a month and have read articles about the increase in spouse abuse. I believe it has happened because some people have never learned how to find peace and comfort within themselves.
My wife is similar to me, in that we are quite comfortable with the company of ourselves. We can sit in a room together all day and not really say anything to each other, yet we are at peace. There isn’t any underlying tension – just peace and comfort. I don’t expect her to keep me entertained, nor do I feel obligated to keep her entertained. Though, there are times I wish she would take notice, like right after I shower. Woooo, incoming shoe! Of course, I’m joking! I could go down a whole new path with this paragraph but I’ll save that for another day.
What I have learned through all this is that everything that happens in life is perfect. It may not make much sense at the time but it’s all perfect. It was the insanity of having alcoholic parents that programmed me into becoming an introvert. An introvert who found comfort with board games.
Over time the board games left. Also the peace and comfort left and wouldn’t return until I surrendered to alcoholism. That surrender led me to a Higher Power where I found that being myself and enjoying the quiet was a good way to live. I found a new spiritual way of life.
My old AA sponsor once told me that religion is for people scared of going to hell, while spirituality is for people who’ve been in hell. I know what hell is. I lived in hell. Spirituality has taught me that being home and being quiet was learned from the horrors and nightmares of my childhood.