these days -
The theme of lightweight summer entries has gone poof, replaced with a brief intermission of seriousness that began with a call from an aunt on the evening before Fathers Day.
Briefly and obliquely put, my aunt and others have noticed that my parents have been behaving with ever-increasing insanity and the time has come for me to do something serious about that. It's an uncomfortable position for me to be in, particularly as an only child, but people get old and eventually others have to take care of them. In my parents' case it's not so much a situation of them losing their faculties, but rather one of a life-long absence of common faculties growing more pronounced, with cracks in character and personality widening into windy crevasses. Well, that's not entirely true -- some of their faculties are on the way out, probably those that are less, um, preserved.
Alcohol, a common solvent, has been an addiction for my mommy and daddy since before I was born, and now that their bodies ain't what they used to be, it's much easier for them to cling psychologically to a familiar form of consciousness in the face, and now in the jaws, of the consequences of their choices and behavior. And physically the consequences are grave. I am in the process of arranging help for them.
I have entered into a period of service wrangling, finding agencies and resources to get their situations taken care of, and that endeavor has let me taste once again the usual flavors of emotions I'm prone to, the sadnesses, the pain, grieving for my own youth, removing hardened shells of feelings to see what's underneath, and trying not to be angry through it all. When I was younger, I nursed hurts while, paradoxically, seeking approval from those who had hurt me. That's not all that unusual, I suppose. All kinds of relationships get set up that way. When your parents' lives are ruled by the booze it's easy to be confused.
I don't beat myself up about it too much anymore. I've known for a long time that one of the most important things I can be aware of in life is to be aware of what I do have control over and what I don't have control over. It's really pretty simple. Maybe not all that easy sometimes, but still, simple. My attitude and reaction will govern my peace. The past is imaginary, not a fiction, but imaginary in that what is vital and most determinative is the present; occurrences from childhood or yesterday will change in density and color depending on how I store or filter them in recollection.
Anyway, on Fathers Day I drove down to my parents' natural habitat, did some research, expressed seriousness, practiced a little science, documented conditions, left them a bunch of groceries, and then returned to the real world to formulate a program of care.
It's a humongous drag.
Years and years and years and years, my entire life, in fact, of dealing with this tends to put me in a pissy mood from time to time. I'm inclined to say "bite me" to jokers or folks who complain about it, or tell me to lighten up. Again, filters.
I'm not a strict adherent to the disease model when it comes to addiction. I think humans and other species are too complex to stop at simple biology. If your disease model contains wiggle room for things like personal responsibility, cultural influences, autonomy, then maybe we can use the term disease and get somewhere.
And I find myself now in the annoying position of being dissatisfied with what I've just written here. On one hand, I want to spill my guts about the whole shmear, giving details and stories of great peril and shame and how I am Steven The Good, terminally unique and heroic. On the other hand, whose business is any of this? I have said too much and too little at the same time. It seems I have opted to allow you to fix my position on your radar screens at home, you can see the blip, but it's without the dramatic score, the Blood-O-Vision, or the guts.
An all-around dissatisfying experience for all! Congratulations, me.
Well, it's about privacy, isn't it? How much of my story do I have a right to tell? Hmm?
"One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)" -- Frank Sinatra -- SINATRA AT THE SANDS
"I read about the evils of drinking so I gave up reading."
- Henny Youngman