Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Coping skills...

I just read a post on a blog that I follow about social drinking.  And while she was, neither for or against it she was observing the message that it sends to our children. 

I thought to myself how I could write her a book on that because no one knows what social drinking and alcoholism can do to children any more than I do. 

I grew up in an alcoholic home.  All Holidays as well as vacations and most weekends centered around drinking.  Both my parents were alcoholics and neither were what you’d call “fun drunks”.  (I used to wonder "what kind of person even coined that phrase anyway?") 
My mother was a "sleepy drunk".  Two sips and she fell over right where she sat.  If she happened to be at the table she did a "gravy plant" right into her Thanksgiving dinner. This makes for some interesting dinner conversation when you have friends over...

My father, on the other end of the spectrum, was a “mean drunk” that never slept.  Alcohol had the exact opposite effect on him.  It had a kind of amphetamine effect on him and two sips would have him bouncing off the walls and when daddy didn’t sleep – nobody slept.  One - he wouldn’t let you and two - you were afraid to close your eyes around him.   He liked to entertain himself by threatening us with loaded guns when he drank. 

My father was killed in a car accident at 46.  And my mother thankfully quit drinking at 50 years old. After she quit  I asked her once why she became an alcoholic.  She told me that she didn’t set out to become an alcoholic - no one did.  She just started having a social drink with friends; then progressed to having a drink because she had had a bad day; then on to drinking on the weekend because she’d had a hard week and then just one to help her relax and then to medicate herself because of troubles that the drinking caused and then she just woke up one day and…there she was.

Because of that candid conversation I have always been very cautious of social drinking.  So I just don’t.  Not because I believe it is a horrible sin or that you will go to Hell for drinking a mixed drink or having a beer with the guys but because I am now aware that no one sets out to become an alcoholic – you just wake up one day –and there you are.  I am also keenly aware of the fact that alcoholism, drug abuse and addictive behavior runs in families.  

I also remember what my life was like as a child and was determined never to give my children the kind of life I prayed every day to get out of. 

I think today along with alcoholism we have a far worse problem with an entire generation of people that medicate their lives away with prescription drugs.   The problem with that is that because it was prescribed by a doctor – that somehow makes it ok and they do not even see it as a problem.  Antidepressants, Sleep Aids, Pain Killers, Muscle Relaxants, Anti-anxiety drugs are all handed out like M&Ms.  And they are wrecking lives; innocent lives because like alcohol – it is ruining the lives of everyone around them not just the ones taking the drug.  And the pharmaceutical companies and unethical doctors are no better than the drug dealers on the streets because like the drug dealers they are in it for the money.

I cannot name five people that I know that are not on something. 

What happens to our future generations when no one learns how to deal with the normal problems of life, or a little minor physical discomfort or the normal stresses of illness, grief or sadness – but instead rush to the doctor because "there's a pill for that"? 

My sister is dealing with Leukemia, chemo therapy, bone marrow transplant and the many issues that causes.  She is afraid to cry and exhibit emotions because the nurses  keep asking her if she is depressed?  “Let us know if you are because we can prescribe something for you.”  Of course she is depressed!  Anyone in her shoes would be depressed.  That is not a chemical imbalance – that is a normal reaction to what she is going through. 

Everyone I talk to asks me if I have been to the doctor to get “something to help me sleep; something for my nerves; something to help me cope; something for depression?” 

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I am not against medication when you need it.  But I lost three members of my family; my youngest child; my daughter in law and the baby that I absolutely adored.  Many days I wonder if I will be able to go on. Many days – I don’t even want to. The loss is so great and the pain so deep until I wonder how I will survive it. But the loss was real – not imagined.  I’m grieving. This is a normal reaction to such a loss.  Covering it over with pills will not make it magically go away.  It will not bring them back or lessen my pain more than temporarily.  For my life to go on I need to face this and I need to learn to cope with the reality that I now have – I’m kind of thinking medicating it will only add to my problems.  They will still be gone and I will have a drug dependency to go along with the loss.  Just saying…

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