Monday, February 25, 2008

Addictions, Addictions: Does the Cycle HAVE to Continue?

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about addictions. Both of our mothers are alcoholics, and my father had had a heroin habit apparently; I have only met him a few times and the times I did chat with him he had a faraway look in his eyes that was only made more annoying by the way he chain-smoked his cigarettes down to the filter until they were almost as brown as his teeth. Last I spoke to him, he ran a dive bar near Venice Beach; but I heard that he's moved out to Colorado. Mom knows, I think; she usually has a glass of wine near her when she talks about him.

I have several friends, actually, who have various addictions. Another friend I spoke to the other day - who should be writing on here - has somehow gotten hooked on pills, despite her insistence for 15 years that she would never do so, due to her family's history of pill addiction and alcoholism. Another friend started smoking cigarettes at the age of 33; but that was out of a need to curb an out-of-control eating disorder that made her balloon up past 300 that really doesn't sit in the "our parents were messed up, so we are too" category.

I have a memory of my mother shouting, throwing pots and pans around in the kitchen. I was about ten or eleven. I remember it like it was yesterday: she was on her hands and knees, under the counter, in the cupboard where she kept all the cookware. She was muttering "C'mon you bastard, c'mon..."

I asked her what she was doing. She said "Go to your room, honey - Mommy is looking for something and she is just upset that she might have to go to the store instead."

So, I went. I had the door open a crack. After a few minutes, I heard her make a happy sound, like a child who gets a toy it wants. A little later, I crept down the hall, my feet silent on our carpet...and she was in the dining room, with a drink in her hand. At the time, I didn't make the connection, really; I was just happy she was okay. Now I realized that she really probably wasn't after all.

Where does that bring me to now? I have always smoked pot, drank, ate pills, dropped acid, smoked opium, blown some flake, had lots and lots of sex, and although I stayed away from heroin (mustn't be like Daddy, now) ended up doing that too, although I didn't shoot it up. Most of that I did in my 20's, so I always chuck it off to college rites of passage, or "finding oneself in their 20's" or whatever...easy as pie to do, it is, blaming the seeds of addictive behavior in the ravages of youth. It's much more difficult to explain to yourself (or others) what business you have doing most of those things and too much of a few when you're approaching 50.

I insist that my love for wine and pot and the occasional lude or tranq when I can get it are well-deserved at my age. I work hard...I do yoga...I eat well. So why not? Well, there isn't really any reason why not, except for when I go out occasionally and come home looking every damn year that I am, alone, reeking of cigarettes (not mine, my friends') and sometimes the scent of sex - and have to really look at myself in the mirror. Am I really all that enlightened?

Or am I just the nearly middle-aged grown-up daughter of two addicts, who never realized that although she didn't rummage through the house looking for a bottle of alcohol or put needles into her veins, she still has the echoes of addiction running through her...and needs to be watchful of this fact? That she maybe does have a problem?

There's a part of me that just wants to say no. And then there's another part that whispers yes...yes yes - and it's about time I finally grew the hell up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good you at least are aware of it...
that's most of the problem right there. Good luck with it.

Great this blog.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Pendullum said...

What a truly powerful post...
Thank you for sharing...
Now, what is the next step?
Pretty scary...

2:48 PM  
Blogger Billychic said...

I'm so proud of you. You are inspiring to me...thanks for all your help with what I'm dealing with.


11:12 PM  

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