Floating Out at Sea
I am out of the family. I feel like a rat that just jumped off the Titanic and is floating on a piece of raft or debris.
That captures the feeling perfectly. I am unprotected, un-cared-for. My future is uncertain. And yet it is still brighter than that of those people who are still rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Every time I start to think about them, I tell myself, “Hands off. This is not yours. Get your grubby little mitts off their stuff. Leave them be. Their self-destruction need not be yours. They are not your problem ever again.”
Talking to my shrink this past Wednesday really clarified some things. First, that last letter from my mother was the greatest gift she could have given me. She truly revealed how mentally slow and lacking empathy she really is. She has no concept of how her actions affect people’s decisions. Second, I am not willing to do bad things to my own health to maintain my anger at those yahoos. After reading Gabor Mate’s When the Body Says No, I knew I wasn’t willing to take on the emotional and physical dysfunction of the family.
Now is the final chapter of a book that started being written in the late 70s and early 80s. The outcome was never in doubt. A leads to B. I always understood that much. B has arrived. Everyone is in shock, except me, of course. “When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences,” Dr. Phil. It’s a truism that never changes. Giving a problem more time only makes for a bigger problem. Times fixes nothing ever. As a snowball rolls down the hill of time, it doesn’t shed layers; it gathers them.
Back to the Titanic. My oldest brother’s wife once screamed at me, “Dave’s not an alcoholic!” at her own child’s birthday party back in the 80s. I simply replied, “Keep telling yourself that.” This woman lost a sister to drunk driving, lost her daughter to a drunk driver, is now watching her husband die as a hard-core alcoholic (won’t stop drinking even after he knows he is dying of it), and has a son with a drinking problem that his sister (one of her daughters) is aware of. I think I’ll just call her “Captain of the Titanic.” Back then, it was Cindy versus the rest of the family. She had the support of everyone, whereas people thought I had an attitude problem. Now Cindy’s opinion is medical fact and her opinion is delusional. I remember going to Alanon many years ago and the topic of conversation always came back to the same thing: How low does “bottom” have to get? I know the answer now: Death. There is no victory here, only escape. I don’t know where I am going, but I do know that it is not down with the ship.