Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Great Escape

These last few entries have been very hard for me. In fact, some I haven't even posted because of the shame and embarrassment they bring to me. It's hard to look back at my life and see how self destructive I have been. For years, I never saw it...I guess because I wasn't looking for it. I was living a lie where I thought that I was in control of everything. I was successful because I worked hard! I had a beautiful wife because there must have been something about ME that she loved. Of course, there was, but what she saw in me was only a part of who I am...who I was.

I believe all men want to believe that they are more powerful than they really are. And when something comes in our life that challenges us, that is too powerful for us to overcome on our own, we retreat somewhere. It's probably an innate response that has helped to ensure the survival of our species for eons. But there are some very dangerous places to retreat out there...places that I found.

While my parents had faults, one of the things that I can look back and appreciate is that they didn't drink very much alcohol. It may have been because there was alcoholism on my mom's side of the family, or maybe they were just aware enough to know how dangerous it can be. Sadly though, that didn't prevent me from discovering the pleasures...and the hell...of alcohol on my own.

Like most of us, my first taste a beer was not very pleasant...in truth, it tasted pretty horrible to me. And so did the Canadian Club whiskey that one of my brothers and his friends "found" in the boats that were moored in the boathouses all along the lake and river near where we lived. But while I didn't like the taste of the alcohol at first, I did like the way that it made me feel. It allowed me to drop my guard, to let some of my inhibitions free. Sometimes that was a good thing, because I would find it easier to talk to others even though I was shy. But there was a much darker side for me, just as there is for most who abuse the 'nectar of the vine'. It brought out the impure desires of my heart, the fantasies that lay there, and with the lowered inhibitions, at times I acted on them.

I've read that many victims of sexual abuse tend to "sexualize" their relationships. That was the case with me. In my mind, as twisted and damaged as it was, it seemed like it would be natural that if someone liked me, or I liked someone, they would want to be sexual with me. This was especially true when I had been drinking. I can look back on my adolescent years and see most of my friendships damaged or destroyed because I pushed the envelope too far when it came to 'physical contact'. For the most part, it wasn't an overt sexual touch, but I think most of my friends could tell there was something slightly 'inappropriate' about things I would say or do. Those former friends and acquaintances can probably look back now and not be surprised by the events of my life int the past four years.

It seemed as I moved further along in junior high and high school, by frequency of drinking and binging increased. By the time my sophomore year was over, I had nearly overdosed on alcohol at least once, drinking essentially an entire bottle of rum that my brother had in his bedroom on New Year's Eve. By the time I graduated, I was a black out drinker, not remembering much of what may have transpired during a night of drinking. I would find myself back at home, or at a friends house in the morning, and not have any idea how I got there.

As damaging as the drinking was, it served me for what I wanted it to be. It was my escape. At times, my great escape. For the few hours, I could be someone I wasn't. Or, in a darker sense, be someone or do something that I knew in the depths of my heart were wrong. The effect of the booze kept the knowledge hidden, at least for a few hours. Of course, there was always the piper to pay in the morning. Not just the throbbing headache and other hangover effects, by the impact on my soul. The guilt and shame. The questions I would ask myself...wondering if I had done anything that might reveal my secret fantasies--wondering if any of my friends or classmates would look at me differently on Monday because of what I'd become on Saturday. I'm not sure how I survived my high school years without my fantasies and secret life being revealed. But soon, my luck would change, and in some ways, my life was changed forever.

1 comment:

Deb said...

So our family had at least two black out drinkers in high school. I'm continually amazed at how much we didn't know about each other, even living in the same house for all that time.

This hit so close to home, I could have written much of it myself.

I admire and respect your bravery. I love you.