Wednesday, January 4, 2012

wounds revisited

One day when I was a girl my dad took my sisters and brothers camping and I stayed home with my mom.  later on that day we visited a neighbor.  Many of the details of that time are fuzzy, I never quite realized that drinks were being enjoyed or what exactly was going on.  What has stayed with me was the mean anger of the woman towards me, the orders and unkindness and all the confusion, panic and fear of that afternoon.  Only later did I realize that she was drunk, that her angry demands were not from her but from the drink.  I recall running home, sad and feeling abandoned, shaking and not wanting to ever go back there again.

Today the memory came back again, unexpected but there none the less.  I have wrestled with the issue of alcohol in recent days.  What is balance, what is out of balance?  How do I, one who does not like the taste in any form, and yes, I have sampled a taste of many, fit in with the many around who seem to daily enjoy a drink or two.  How do I continue to stand firm on my convictions as the drinks come out and I alone abstain.

I had thought that my resolve was to not drink because I had an alcoholic grandfather.  As a newlywed facing hard times of husband deployed and an empty house night after night I resolved that I would endure, though I acknowledged that I could choose to turn to drink, I did not.  As a newlywed I wateched many drink in many levels, and never found need nor desire for.  The environment sometimes was off putting, the taste or smell other times off putting and ocassionally the behavior made me long to be elsewhere.

After a time in life friends changed and drinking was rarely a topic or issue to be considered.  Recently I have noticed that there has been a change.  With gatherings have come brown bottles.  Often its just one, but othertimes they have collected.  Sometimes it is a reward after a long day of hard work, or a refreshment after laboring in the pool tossing kids about to their delight.  Othertimes the beverages have appeared unexpectedly and flowed freely, and I have wondered at their presence.

Today I was caught short by my mmeory.  I believe it is the root of my discomfort with alcohol.  I realize that it has probably tempered my being as wounds can while we live unaware.  When a first experience is strongly negative it establishes a good scar.  I think that I dont regret part of it as it has helped me establish a boundary that has served me well.  At the same time it may have served me poorly as I am not sure that i am balanced and at present I find myself fairly confused as to what balance looks like.

As I reflect upon some of my early adult life wounds there were several, they have had an affect.  i dont want them to reign, yet i also do not want to miss the value of the wisdom that they might teach me.

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