The rich amber color, the once peaty smell, the slight tingle as it passed my lips - it was my poison and my passion. "It" was Irish Whisky.
More often than not, I would find myself lingering on about my lover. All that encompassed my life, my time, my thoughts; everything fell by the wayside at the mention of Whisky.
Songs are composed about the drink. From Willie Nelson to Miranda Lambert, lyrics celebrate the spellbinding powers of whisky. Love songs, drinking songs, victory songs, stupid & silly songs - even lamp shades on your head antics.
By 14 I was under the mesmerizing addiction of whisky. Small sips from my parents' somewhat limited alcohol stash knew my name. Of course, in those days, my palatable sense of addiction was not so astute. If it erased the pain, I'd try it. Never in a million years will I acquire an infinity for Crème de Menthe; even if it's a grasshopper. But, neatly stowed away was the liquor cabinet in my parents' living room. If it had an alcohol content percentage, I would drink from it. I will never know if my parents caught on to my samplings; and I'm quite sure I wasn't the only one of my siblings nipping at the cooking sherry.
What makes an alcoholic? Addiction, the taste, the feelings that follow; becoming numb to the outside world? I am of the firm belief that there is no real strong scientific evidence to prove or disprove the causes of addiction.
My personal love affair, riddled with self-loathing and unbelievably low self-esteem became part of me at an early age. The introduction of booze was born during my teen-age years; confusion mixed with all the hormonal fireworks occurring made booze all the more comforting. From the first sip, I knew I would be fighting a life time, full fledged war. I would be the only soldier on my team, the only POW, the only casualty.
Many a mistake were made while under the influence. No one is perfect, but my compass pointed in all directions - truth be told, I was unable to locate "magnetic north", and the needle spun in all directions. Unable to get my bearings straight, I wandered aimlessly through life, nipping at the bottle during the entire journey. A finish line was nothing but a clever distraction for me. My compass was just how many ounces remained in the whisky bottle.
Some doors never open. They remain locked. Fear keeps them bolted shut. Complete and utter despair enveloped me during my teen-age years. Coming of age was like a jigsaw puzzle, missing a piece. I remained in a constant state of apprehension. My home life was frightening. My parents did their best, but as an adopted child, there was never a level of comfort for belonging to a family unit. I'm not blaming anyone, but I do wish that my parents could have been better at recognizing the signs.
I crawled into a deep hole, a secret hiding place, where no one could hurt me. At least that's what I thought. Yet, there was truly never a safe zone. Persistent anxiety crippled me. My only sense of calm was when I was buzzed. My total transformation into the adult club of alcoholism did not arrive until after my 25th birthday.
I was sexually assaulted when I was 17. It is only now that I feel safe in letting go of that secret. While my rapist will remain nameless, he did take my innocence. The strength and psychological resilience which I prided myself in, had become translucent. My veil was beginning to erode before my very eyes. I never told my parents. I carried that baggage with me; the feeling of being violated. There was an abundance; an over-flowing silent scream inside my marred psyche praying for a release and a Band-Aid.
I was blessed with 3, yes 3 beautiful miracles in my early years. I suffered a late term miscarriage at the age of 17. That left a huge hole in my heart. Then, in 1983 I was blessed by the birth of my daughter Eryn Corry. I love her with all of my heart. In 1984, I lost my son Michael Ryan shortly after he was born. The sting and ripping grief from that has never left me. Guilt, extreme sadness and a huge void are ever present reminders of a little blond headed boy. 1985 brought another boy, Bryan Scott who is nothing short of a miracle. He is the kind of son that every mother dreams of. He stands by me no matter what.
The 1994 death of my beloved Daddy pushed me over the edge. Every single cell in my body ceased to exist the night he died. The man that loved me the most, loved my children, was the best pa-pa, the softball, baseball, soccer coach, Saturday afternoon hiker who was my best friend left my already fragile world. My life shattered on that rainy night. Even now, 21 years later, the mere mention of his name renders me helpless. So many events or circumstances left scars, but the death of my Daddy, my "Secret Pal" left me caught in an almost terminal whirlwind. Drinking became a full time play.
There are some who presume that what they see on the outside is the true reflection of a person. What a facade! Dig deep and you'll find a woman who is insecure, scared to death, wrought with fear and crippled by anxiety. 6 years ago I did not know how to deal with the list. Hiding it was my main mission.
Suddenly, and without so much as a warning, God put me face to face with someone who was battling breast cancer. "She's fighting for her life", I thought. "And look what I'm doing to mine". That was June 9th. Cold turkey - and I'm not talking left over Thanksgiving dinner-I put down the bottle and have not looked back.
While I may have become sober, I hurt many people along the way. I'd like to believe I have been able to make amends to those I've hurt. I am crestfallen that those I harmed the most were my precious gifts in life - my children. My son, Bryan has forgiven me. He has a million reasons not to. I was absent for most of his childhood. Not physically, but emotionally and mentally. He forgave me. And he did so with no boundaries. He remains to this day, one of my strongest supporters. The love that my heart and mind hold towards him is bounteous.
My beautiful daughter Eryn Corry has not been as forgiving. I love her regardless and always will. She has every right to have the grudge she has. My prayer is that eventually she opens her heart. Perhaps with the birth of her son Christopher, my handsome little grandson, she may come to terms with my failures as a mother. I wanted to be her role model, someone she admired. How can I even begin to cast any blame upon her. As with Bryan, I was physically there, but emotionally I was far, far away.
The most paramount emotion I have garnered from my years as an alcoholic is that of forgiveness -Towards people who hurt me; the rapist, those who skewered me with cruelty and often time brought me to me knees with despair. In exchange, I hope that those affected by my drinking can forgive me. Mostly I seek that forgiveness from my dear husband John and the 2 glorious gifts from God - my children.
6 years seems like a lifetime to me. But, it's also marks the day I took stock in my life, catalogued every fear, poor decision, empty whisky bottle, threw them in the garbage and reclaimed my life.
It's been a good day.
- My husband tells me I am a makebate. So, what's wrong with that? I love to write. I have 2 great kids and 1 grandson. I'd love to say I am "retired" but really, who retires from life? Shoot me a question, comment, rant or rave. They are all welcome here. Love dogs, my family, and most of all, debate. Pro NRA, conservative and a right wing lady.