Friday, November 28, 2008

Mad Season

It wasn't a complete disaster, though that's how it felt in my gut. Nothing turned out as I planned it, yet the world didn't stop turning. By 4 o'clock the dinner was over, the bellies were (mostly) full, and a nap was necessary on my part. During that drowse, the kids left, stopping in to say a quick goodbye.

When I was fully awake I was able to look around and feel somewhat defeated. The air mattresses that caused an argument over their frivolity? One was only used for a night; another sat quietly in the closet, still boxed. The blanket was still in the wrapper. She didn't stay. My home is foreign to her now, and she can no longer do as she pleases here.

You see, she only took two bites of food -- a half-slice of jellied cranberry sauce -- though much of the food I had made was bland enough for her supposedly ailing stomach. Somehow she managed to drink down an entire bottle of Smirnoff plum spritzer. She'd convinced her brother to stop by the liquor store - which was amazingly open on Thanksgiving - to pick up two bottles of the vodka plus a six-pack of Guiness. Before the drinking started, she was nice and solicitous and helpful. When the drinking started, that all changed.

She chugged away at her glass while I said grace. She was dressed provocatively in a shirt that was all but see-through. Her hair appeared to need a wash. There was nothing in her that respected either herself or us. I grew more and more fatigued as dinner wore on. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't enjoy myself. Food actually hurt to swallow. I kept thinking, "In two months she'll be behind bars." I can't know that, of course, but barring a miracle between now and then, she'll be convicted of driving on a suspended license with expired tags and no insurance. Her license was suspended because...we don't know. I suspect I know, given her behavior at dinner. I've known people who move beyond eating to just drinking their calories. I knew a man early in my career who drank his way through lunch every day. He was dead within the year.

It's hard to see my daughter this way. It is even harder that she cut short my visit with my son by convincing him to take her over to his place for the night so they could finish off what she'd bought and probably everything he has stashed in his kitchen for when friends come by. I'm not sure he sees how far his sister has fallen. I'm glad she has him, but I always worry that she'll influence him in a bad way.

The pies are put away. The leftovers are in the freezer, and hubby and I are going out to see a comedy today. My life didn't stop because of her madness. I know that we've done everything we can possibly do for her. Now she is in God's hands. She is in His divine care, and He - the Great Healer - has the power to get her back on the right path. Shame on me for having high expectations yesterday. Things won't change until she wants them to.

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,

Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
Macbeth (to the physician) in Act 5 Scene 3

This isn't really a video as much as a song with the album cover shown. This haunting tune, by Mad Season, is sung by the late Layne Staley, whom we met in Seattle a couple of years before his final descent into addiction and death. He was a profound young man and spoke as directly to us as though we'd been friends forever. He looked at my son, with his big blue eyes, and said, "You look just like I did when I was little." I could see more behind those eyes, though. I could see him pulling for my son, to never ever be caught up in the madness that is addiction, to never lose his life to a substance. If only he'd cast the same spell of protection over my daughter.

Peace - D


Mental P Mama said...

I am sorry. Please know she is in my prayers. As are you all. I hope you enjoy your outing.

Daryl said...

Except for blaming yourself for expecting more of her I agree with you .. I ache for you .. and her .. I hope today's outing helps to distract you... hugs from here ..


Moannie said...

I cannot bear the pain you are suffering over the daughter you love and who is lost to that terrible addiction. I feel the hope you felt that this time, this visit will be different, that wanting it so and praying for it to be so, it would happen; but that once again you are left with ashes of pain in your mouth.

I hope that the God that you love will hear your prayers and will guide her towards the help that is waiting for her.

If you need a hug, here it is XO

Leslie: said...

Never stop praying for your daughter. Only she and God can pull her out of this. Unfortunately, it seems that this type of illness must drag the person down to the edge before they make a choice to live or die. Thankfully, my daughter has chosen life and is doing so much better now. I pray yours will find whatever it is in her heart and soul that is broken and is able to make the right choice to fix herself. I'm praying for you because there's nothing worse than standing by helplessly and watching those you love self desttruct. Hugs...

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi RiverPoet,
I'm so sad to hear about the terrible day with your Daughter...
I had a best friend, who I worked with, who died of a drug overdose and it is terrible to have to stand by and watch the absolute disintegration of a person when it is them who are choosing that path to destruction.
I can only imagine how awful and helpless you must be feeling being as it is your Daughter who is falling through the cracks of her own life... I really do hope that she can wake up soon and see the damage that she is causing to herself, her life and her loving family...
My thoughts and my prayers are with you dear friend x

Maggie May said...

I am really, really sorry.
Keep praying for her. Miracles do still happen.
She might see sense one day.

Cloudia said...

No, not "shame on you."
Once WE are in a situation we see all of it's complexity - then any advice we might give too freely sounds trite. But your writing shows a wee distance, a burgeoning perspective: she is in Gods hands. Detatch your guilt. You will always wish her well - someday she will appreciate and reciprocate. i know it.
Comfort yourself without guilt, Dear. We can only flow . . . and DANCE!! (you, poet's soul, know this already - I joy to remind you of your powers!)

RiverPoet said...

MPM - Thanks, and yes, we did.

Daryl - Thanks. The outing did help, and we got out again today.

Moannie - You know, I keep hoping. There are many places that can offer help, but she won't hear of it. To her, there is no problem. My son said that she has gone for days now without food (by choice). Booze is all she wants.

Leslie - Thank you, and you know from my private email to you how much I appreciate those prayers, my friend. You know from what you speak.

Brit - Thanks, dear. I'm hoping that this doesn't all end with her funeral.

Maggie - Thanks so much, my friend. Your prayers are much appreciated.

Cloudia - Thanks. I SO hope you're right...

Peace - D

the walking man said...

Time and experience are all that can change them who look for no change.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Oh my. I am so sorry you are suffering so much. What a terrible dinner to sit through. I am glad you and Pete went to see a comedy. You are right that she has to change herself and you can't stop living your life because of the way she is living hers. Peace and love to you this weekend.

Jay said...

I'm so sorry. I know from my own family how much damage addiction to alcohol can do.

I hope and pray that your daughter will come to her senses before it's too late, and pull herself back from the brink. My sister in law too, estranged though she is from my brother. I can't help thinking about her in her one person flat, sinking lower and lower and all by herself. I'm sure the feelings you have for your daughter are far, far more intense than mine.

Hilary said...

I'm sorry for your pain, RP. I have no direct experience with addiction, but I have seen the toll it has taken on some people I love. Thinking best thoughts for you and yours.

Lavinia said...

How very disheartening, and discouraging. So frightening, so painful. I don't know how you manage to carry on, but carry on you must, and I admire your indomitable spirit, in the face of such painful circumstances for a mother. Prayers for your daughter, and for you. I really hope this has a good conclusion!

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