It’s Not My Fault? (Part II)

In a growth moment, I wrote about something that happened to me in a meeting and then again when I was meditating the next morning.  You can read more about it here, this post may make more sense if you do.


When I was a kid, things were a bit crazy at my house. My father was a hard charging alcoholic that didn’t know it.  My Mom tried to keep the lid on until at 29 years of marriage, my Dad decided he had had enough one night when the dog got sprayed by a skunk.  Us kids were up and out.  All there was left was Mom and the dog.  That wasn’t enough for Bob.  (Another story for another time.)

Dad was a small business guy.  He owned some, worked with some friends to grow some always feeling inferior to people with college degrees.  Dad liked things fast and furious and often that spilled over into the household.  Many times he was pissed off and we had now way of knowing why.  But he was and it was loud, Mom just tried to smooth things over, keep him happy. My brother would hide in his room, I often would go outside and play, be scarce as long as it was light outside. I had no friend’s houses close by to escape to. When I got older I was a competitive athlete and stayed away for practices and meets.   I was pretty accomplished, Dad was proud of that.

I learned to be the peacekeeper.  I learned that peacekeeping and staying out of trouble was so much easier than making a name for myself in the household. When I was winning in the pool my Dad was happy, home life seemed tolerable – I wasn’t home often when he was.  Then there were the times that I would get home from a tough practice and be tired and Dad was pissed at somebody at work.  If he asked how things went I would say, “Good workout” or something that would not lead to more questions.  If the questions happened because I wanted to talk to him, he would turn that anger toward me and I would struggle to find a way out. I constantly felt like I was to blame for the unhappiness at home. Sometimes Dad would be mad at Mom in one of these “transference” events, when I got older, I stuck up for her.  Later on, I couldn’t understand why she would put up with that constant “Sword of Damocles” hanging over her head.  When I went off to college, another thing my father loathed (he had no money to contribute), I was on my own.

Every time I would come home to visit, I would bring straight A’s and then graduated with High Honors. I also found a way (Higher Power magic I am sure now), to get scholarships and loans to do it on my own. This action in itself fed my father’s inferiority complex.  I thought I was “fixing things” by removing the worry and in reality, I fanned the flames.

My brother chose another way to deal with Dad’s tyrannic rule.  Today, my brother is completely devoid of feeling – anything.  While I seem to feel everything.  My brother is not an alcoholic, but he is emotionally and spiritually absent in his own life.  It is interesting how we can be so different coming from the same house with the same parents.

More Later…



Yesterday May Have Been a Little Too Much

Having a little bit of time under my belt, every now and then something happens and I am reminded…”Girl. you are in RECOVERY, take it easy.”  At least now I know that is what it is and not something REAL!  Most importantly, I don’t need to drink over it!

On The Road

I have a getaway cabin that my family uses.  I am slowly trying to convert it into my “Writing Hamlet” from my “Party Place.”  It is a nice place, not fancy but it has the ammenities.  It is a few hours from where I live.  About a month ago, I made a plan for the cable guy to come and upgrade my services so I get better internet.  As usual, I try to combine the visits over at the cabin with REAL work – customers along the way. Yesterday my day started at 4:45am and I was “wide open” until about 3pm when I got here.

Because I was driving near the graveyard where my Dad was planted, I decided to take a detour and stop by and say “HI.”  We have a section that is occupied by several of my family members, I have been there often.  Before Dad, I would visit my grandmother, his mother.  My grandmother and father were very close.  They were there for each other for some pretty rough times.  And she created a lot of his unintentionally.

We haven’t had a lot of snow this year, so mostly the little lakeside spot was muddy and wet with some ice remaining in the road.  I got there, got out of my car and felt -nothing. Before my Dad died, I would always feel “something” there, I used to eat lunch on the tailgate of my truck , with a Rolling Rock and talk with my grandmother.  She never answered back, but I felt as though she was there. Somehow my soul would feel less conflicted when our chats were over.  But not yesterday.  I felt an emptiness that was just eery.  I swept the ice off the plaques and left.  I said goodbye with tears in my eyes and my heart ached.

Lady In Waiting

My brother and I don’t talk often, not for any particular reason, he lives in another state and we are very different people.  Last night we actually talked on the phone. I texted him a photo of the grave and he asked me how Dad was. I proceeded to tell him how I was feeling, no booze worries, I just talked. Said that I felt like people would haul me off if I talked about it with anyone. He said he felt the same feeling.  He felt like my grandmother waited for my Dad and they both left together.  I understood.


Even as tired as I was from driving a couple hundred miles and working for hours, I was restless and could not sleep.  Finally when I did get to sleep, I slept fitfully. This morning I feel more settled, glad I talked to my brother.  He is in mourning too, even though he isn’t one to talk about it.

Back to Basics

Recovery is a process.  I need to recognize once again that I work for not drinking TODAY. Living “One Day At A Time.”  Some days baggage gets unloaded and it is more overwhelming than expected.  It is just growth. Someone said in a meeting once, “Pain is a touchstone of spiritual growth.”  For now, I will bask in the gratitude of the sunshine and that today is FRIDAY!  And I am sober.


You Mean It WASN’T all my Fault?

Recovery is tough but life is a lot tougher when I am not in Recovery.  Not learning that I have a Pandora’s box inside my heart that fogs up my brain was tougher. Some people have said in meetings, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”  I sure didn’t!  The fun/odd thing is that while I worked the Steps I learned some things but it feels like SINCE I worked the Steps I started thinking differently and I have learned much more about myself than I ever could have imagined.

It has been more than a year since my first trip through the Steps.  There is a meeting in our area that uses the “Came to Believe” book as the foundation for the format of their discussion.  A couple weeks ago I was sitting in that meeting.  Following along with what was being read.  I could have sworn I heard something in my ear say, “It’s not your fault.”  I was startled.  Sure we are sitting in a church basement and the choir is practicing upstairs but I heard it. After a minute or so, I just relaxed and the meeting went on.  I went home and sort of forgot about it.


I meditate.  If you have read this blog you may know I meditate often.  A couple times a day alone when I can and once a week in a group.  This is the cross-legged kind, I focus on my breath and have done visualization and some other kinds. If you have never meditated before, I highly recommend it.  Seems weird at first, but so did not drinking, then after time, I could feel the difference.

The next morning I was in my usual meditation routine and as I was ending and saying the Third Step Prayer, I heard the voice again, though this time it was a whisper and this time “IT” used my name.  “Janis, it’s not your fault.”  I sat there with that, not so jarred this time, but curious and over the next few days meetings and situations kept being put in front of me that pointed to how I have looked at things for probably 30 years.  I have a couple of posts on my mind in the next few days.

It may not be your fault either, stay tuned.