On drunken nights my mouth brought my dad satisfaction, other nights my bed would be his urinal. I’d lay there perfectly still pretending to be asleep waiting for it to end. In the mornings, I’d awake to the slaps of my mom for being a baby and wetting the bed. But I kept the secret.
I kept the secret of my father sleeping with me entirely nude. I’d awaken to his snores and crawl out and sleep under it. That way, if he woke up looking for me, I could come up with the excuse that I must have fell out of bed. But he wasn’t the only one who slept with me. Mom did too. Though she was never entirely nude. She’d have a top on and that was it.
By the time I was 10 years old, I grew cold to the touch – any touch. I remember one drunken night where my dad tried hanging himself. I just laid in bed praying he would die. Another night, I woke up to the screams of my mom as she was being chased around the kitchen with a butcher knife.
I share this with you because I do have the experience of growing up in a very violent and dysfunctional home. Through years of living life the 12 Step way I’ve come to a point of acceptance and forgiveness though I will never forget.
By the time I was 16 years old I found out the way to stay numb and not feel anything was alcohol. That worked for 5-6 years but then I needed more and more booze to numb the pain, so drugs entered the scene – LSD, Meth, Coke, Pot, PCP, and even one time Heroin. That worked for awhile. When that finally quit working I tried suicide.
After that event I realized that I was rapidly becoming my dad. A violent drunk who abused anyone who stood in my way. That realization brought me to the point where I knew I needed to get clean and sober. By the Grace of God, I celebrated 25 years sober in 2019.
The start of my journey wasn’t the easiest. I, too, had to get to a point of reconciliation. It started with AA. Though at first I was quite cold to the idea of a Higher Power. I was raised in a very religious family and the God I grew up with was one I wanted nothing to do with. He wasn’t there to protect me as a child. Even when I called cops or talked to clergy no one helped.
Then I was told the only way to salvation was forgiveness and yes honouring my parents. Bullshit! Then one night at an AA meeting a gentleman was speaking (he later became my sponsor) said that Religion was for people scared of going to hell, while spirituality was for people who’ve been in hell. That lit me up! I wasn’t scared of hell I was born and raised in hell. No matter what anyone said to me about a peaceful and serene eternity didn’t matter. I just wanted a little peace and serenity in this lifetime.
So that day I quit worshipping a God of the church. I found a Higher Power of my understanding and began the work of healing and the rebirth of my soul. As both of my parents were deceased I couldn’t confront them with what I endured, so I took a suggestion of a counselor I was seeing – she too was an ACOA.
She told me to write individual letters to my parents and share my pain with them. I worked on those letters for about a week. Then she told me to find someone I trusted who would just listen to me read it. Then after I read it to burn those letters.
I’ve got to say it was one of the most powerful spiritual moments that I’ve experienced in sobriety. By the time I was done reading that letter, I was shaking like a leaf and teary eyed. By the time that letter was ashes, my hands were covering my face as I balled like a baby. That letter was to my father.
The one to my mother wasn’t as intense and left me feeling a lot of pity for her. By the time I was done with both of these assignments I had reached a point of forgiveness. No, I’ll never forget – I owe myself that – but no longer do they control my life.
I’ve even come to a point where I understand that they weren’t really bad people. When they were sober they were in fact pretty good parents. They had a bad disease – alcoholism.
To this day, I still don’t have anything to do with the church. Someday who knows, but right now, I still just want peace and serenity for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. And I believe my HP respects that.
That’s my experience. One thing I’d like to share though is my relationship with counselors. Everyone I’ve ever been too, right off the bat, I ask them if they are either an alcoholic or a child of an alcoholic. I will not see a counselor who learned everything through a book. I want someone who has survived the war.