An Alcoholics Final words to her Family

Posted: January 22, 2016 in addiction, Alcoholic, Child Abuse, Depression, family, inequality, love, mental health, stigma, suicide
Tags: , , , ,

alcoholicletterlarge

 “Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns.”

By Cortland Pfeffer

A patient of mine from years ago left this note after she committed suicide. I have rewritten it here.

Dear Children- I did not take care of you like children deserve. When other kids were getting ready for school, you were trying to wake me up. You had to walk to the gas station alone,  with change you found scattered around so you could eat. You thought no one loved you and you were bad kids. You missed school and events because you had no one to take you. You got teased at school because you had to wear the same dirty clothes every day. I would be gone for days and you were scared. You would sit up all night wondering what you did wrong. You had no one to teach you anything. You didn’t come home to hugs, love, or even dinner. You never knew what was going to happen. You were never allowed to feel safe in this world. You were so confused when you were taken from me. I remember you screaming for me, with your hands outstretched screaming “Mommy! Mommy! Please don’t let them take Me.!” I saw your hearts break when I walked the other way. Every time the phone rang for the next 10 years you hoped it was me, and you were hurt every time that it wasn’t. I see all the pain you are in. I see the fear, the depression, and the anger. I know the torture I caused in your heart. I know I did this. I am sorry this is how you will remember me. But I understand.

Dear Mother- I know the pain I caused you. You had no one to turn to. It was your dream to be a mother and give love. I ruined your only hope in life. I took and took from you. You sat up crying at night begging God to help me. You didn’t know how to help, because no one took care of you. All you ever wanted was a family. You thought that having a family would take all your pain away. You had to work 2 jobs to replace the things I would steal. Everyone judged you for what I had done. I destroyed your self-confidence. You felt like you failed and you had to leave. I see the guilt in your eyes. I have taken your life from you. I am sorry that this is how you will remember me. But I understand.

Dear Brother- I stole from you, I took your money, your car, and I took all of our parent’s time. This left you with little time with them. You felt ignored and it hurt you. You withdrew from the world and isolated yourself. You had to grow up way to early. You became scared and isolated. I saw that affected your ability to know boundaries and how to have relationships. I see that is all with you still today. I did all of these things. I am sorry this is how you will remember me. But I understand.

Dear Sister- I took all of your toys and hid them. I ruined the toys that you loved the most on purpose. You were just a little girl that wanted love. You didn’t know why I was destroying the family. You saw me and trembled with fear. You couldn’t understand why I stole from mom and dad who had worked so hard. You tried so hard to help. You needed their love to. We missed your dance recitals because I stole the car. Your heart was broken and you didn’t understand how someone you loved so much could do this. You grew up scared. I see your pain, even if you try to hide it. I am sorry this is how you will remember me. But I understand.

Dear Father- You wanted to have a normal family. You took me places and to events all the time.  You hated your job, but you still went every single day to support us. No one loved you when you were a child. You never felt love as an adult. You were lonely. You were afraid to come home. Your marriage was hurt by me. You became depressed, so you drank more. I became an embarrassment to you. My issues robbed you of much of your life. I see the disappointment in your eyes. I am sorry this is how you will remember me. I understand.

I know that this is how I will remember you all.

Dear Brother- I remember going to sporting events together, playing outside, and laughing together. I remember the time you were so scared that dad was going to punish you about the mailbox, so I told him it was me. I remember letting you stay at my house after you had nowhere to go because of your drinking. I remember the not so nice things you tried to do to me. You were scared and lonely just like I was, so I never said anything. I remember coming back from treatment and you telling me how I had ruined everyone’s life. I am sorry you forget about the times I protected you. I was in pain when I did these things, but I understand so are you.

Dear Sister-I remember holding you at night when you were afraid. I remember when you made a mistake and Dad started coming after you. I remember jumping up and doing something worse on purpose so he would punish me instead. I remember you calling me your hero. I remember you clinging to me when we were young for protection. I remember taking you to the park to get away, and teaching you how to do hair. I am sorry that you forgot all of that. I am sorry you are in pain. I understand.

Dear Mother- I remember before it got bad, when you would tuck me in and hug me. It was so safe to be with you. I remember your love. I remember trying to make you happy because you would be so sad. I remember when you couldn’t take it anymore and left, I ran down the street looking for you outside for hours. I remember praying to God that you come back. I cried at night in my bed wishing you would just call me. I promised I wouldn’t be bad anymore. I remember when I told you what dad was doing, how your heart broke. I begged God to protect me. I am sorry you forgot all the good, and I am sorry for your pain, and I understand.

Dear Father- I remember the first time you hit me. You bought me candy so I didn’t tell. When I got older, if I didn’t want to get punished I would watch your “special” movies with you. It made you happy. You cried afterwards. I am sorry for whatever happened to you, to create the person I knew. I see you were in pain. I understand.

Dear children. I love you, I did the best I could. You are angels. I just did not know how to love, and I was scared.

I always wondered if anyone noticed…

Did anyone see when Dad was punching me?

Or when he took me into the room to watch “movies” with him?

Did anyone notice me crying when Mom left, because I was afraid what would happen?

Did God hear me?

Did anyone see what those older boys were doing to me?

Or notice I would be gone for hours as a teenager and come home drunk?

Or that I took the blame to protect you from being punished like I was?

Maybe you did, and you forgot. Maybe you thought it was better me than you.

I kept thinking someone would notice and they would do something. But no one ever did. No teachers, classmates, or anyone. No one spoke up. I guess they didn’t see. Or maybe they thought it was none of their business.

Thank you for telling me I was the bad one, and the problem child. I went to treatment and I got to feel better for a little while.

Until I would come back. No one understood why I would do so well, and when I got out of treatment, I would relapse.

I’m sorry you never could make it to family night at treatment because it was “my issue,” Not yours. That you were “fine.”

Maybe now that I am gone, your problems will be gone.

If you find that you are still in pain with me gone, and start to think maybe you were part of the problem, I am sorry for your pain. But it may be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.

Now that you have to look in the mirror, maybe now you can heal. It is the greatest gift I can give to you.

I used to wonder why God would allow such evil, poverty, and sadness on earth.

Then I realized, he is the one that should probably be asking us why WE ALLOW IT.

He gave us all the resources we need to live here equally. We have enough to end poverty, and help each other. He gave us all the tools we need.

We choose this.

We allow this, not God.

I love you all.

Alcoholism and Addiction are family diseases. Not every case is this extreme. However, the addict is usually the one acting out the dysfunction and is a sign of strength, not weakness.

If you take the strongest one and heal them, and send them back to the dysfunctional system, it will not work.

If we do not start treating the system, we will continue to have an epidemic.

Will you notice? Will you speak up?

Silence is consent.

Comments
  1. Yet another profound post. Even though the ending was tragic, she left behind searing and incisive last words. Such bitter truths. Thank you for your bold honesty in sharing these experiences.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. secretangel says:

    Powerful!! You are so right with your words, “He is the one that should probably be asking us why WE ALLOW IT.” The selfishness and pride of man has allowed us to not reach out to help others as we sweep the problems under the rug, pretending that they don’t exist. Unfortunately, this has allowed the many problems to escalate. This is so sad but thanks for sharing and bringing attention to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Suzie says:

    Amazing and very powerful to read! It brings up old wounds but thank goodness I was able to heal from them. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cynthia Headrick says:

    Wow… Powerful words…. I have and am living the pain of having been addicted myself and watching those I love struggling! It is one of the most painful experiences that is have experienced and continue to walk through!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. oqu3 says:

    Thank you for this post. It broke my heart. This has been a great concern to me for many years. I have addressed it, on face book and online zines, and blogs. I am not a crusader, what I’ve offered is little; communication. Am glad you posted this. Continue to do what you are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. drAbdul says:

    Bruh! 😦 tbh, I uhh..- I never really get emotional when I’m high (I’m celebrating btw so don’t judge :-|) but damn, this’ deep. Imma read it again later thou, u know-to be sure it’s as deep as I’m thinking atm. Mery Christmas bruh!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. walkerkaty0 says:

    I have a close family member who is an alcoholic and has been for as long as I can remember. I loved this post for so many reasons. Thankfully (and hopefully) this family member of mine is finally starting to understand how bad they have gotten. So much so that they have been to the doctor because they were afraid that it may have caused some serious health issues. While the health issues are still in the air, I am just going to be thankful that it is a daily journey and something seems to be clicking.

    Check out this blog post if you want:

    https://walkerkaty0.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/an-open-letter-to-the-alcoholic-that-i-love/

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Tikeetha T says:

    Wow! This was deep. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. gingersnap74 says:

    UPDATE: You wanted me to keep you informed so here we go….invited my mother and father over for dinner last weekend. They accepted and we had an amazingly good time. One of many I hope and pray. Just thought I’d send you a quick update. Good stuff, huh?! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. lisa evola says:

    Wow…amazing strength in the letter writer. I am a child of an alcoholic as well, although not quite as bad as this situation. It’s a difficult life to survive…but God is good!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. form22 says:

    Years ago, I was on the verge of becoming an alcoholic. Ironically, it began as a second-to-last ditch attempt to break my addiction to the psychiatric drugs that I had been poisoned with by the mental “health” system from the tender age of 14. The only reason I’m alive today is because I was blessed with a wonderful team of family members and caregivers who wanted me to go on living. Suicide is murder by society. Thank goodness you and Johann Hari are raising public awareness of the social contributors to addiction.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. form22 says:

    Several years ago, I was on the verge of developing an addiction to alcoholism. Ironically, I started drinking as a second-to-last-ditch attempt to break my addiction to the psychiatric drugs that I had been poisoned with during my years of mental “health” treatment. The love and devotion of my wonderful family and caregivers are what gave me back my life. Thank goodness that you and Johann Hari are raising public awareness of the social contributors to addiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. form22 says:

    Whoops! I guess my first comment actually posted.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. In my opinion, it’s a spiritual battlefield for souls… Satan knows his time is running short that is why there are so many horrific evils going on in the world today. Just turn on the news. I myself never watch it anymore because it is so depressing and tainted by the wealthy puppeteers who love to bring on chaos, war, poverty, environmental and economical collapse that it all fits under the umbrella of pain and suffering…With all that I have been through in my own personal quest for the truth, I find it ironic, yet comforting that it all ended where I started running…the Bible.

    I once hated Christianity for I saw so much hypocrisy within my own dysfunctional family that the last place I expected to find any truth was a book written 2000 years ago…however, after having my rounds with Buddhism, New Age, Wicca, and Native American Spirituality, my heart has softened as I found the rays of love and light being cast by Jesus and His open arms to take this lost sheep back home…

    Excellent work you have done with your blog. I see many addicts (myself once included) have generally turned their backs to God and are missing spiritual foundations that can easily be found it we only open our hearts and knock on the door…God will open it and what ever cares or concerns we have, just give them over to God and pray. In His time, an answer will always come. Pride and the lie that we can do it all on our own leads many astray; yet God gave us free will and if we confess our sins, He will forgive and make you a strong child of God.

    Wow. Didn’t mean to preach. But hopefully my story will help someone down the road…God bless, LaVancia

    Liked by 2 people

    • This sounds exactly like my own journey.
      Turning Back On god through addiction. Then through buddhism, native American, spirituality, all these new age things finding the real god. Then reading books and therapy with a few guys who were new age, changed everything. Realizing that it was man made religion that I was mad at, not the truth.

      I loved this comment. Amazing! !

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks so much for the compliment. It seemed as if the majority of my relatives had no problems in accepting Christ and His truth; however, when it came to me…I was the stubborn & reckless “prodigal son” that left my family and turned to the world for answers. I am so thankful that I have been blessed with a Christian family who has welcomed me home instead of burning the bridge. It’s definitely been a school of hard knocks…

        Liked by 2 people

      • You are a truth seeker which will make you an outcast a rebel but so was jesus

        Liked by 2 people

  15. Thanks. Of many things to note, first, the harm we do others hurts, and us even more than them, as when her children were taken. Second is that the sexual things do more harm than the perpetrators could realize, and suicide and incest are often linked. If we understood the family and the appetites, we would understand why. Even to say “dysfunctional” assumes we understand what “functional” means, but it is just a word for something, the health of a happy family, that we do not understand. Part of why it makes people suicidal may be that it is beyond our understanding, and part that it is in-admit-able, even to ourselves. A third is that alcohol reduces inhibitions, and a fourth that suicide can seem the only escape from addiction. I cannot drink well, but if coffee and cigarettes made me sick and sloppy, I’d be done for too. Yeah for anyone who ever gave up any addiction! Fifth, we wish her siblings had gone to the family night. Co-sufferers and friendship always help, even when nothing can be done as by some art or technique of psychology. Sixth, if there were anti-addiction drugs, as are now being developed, even an anti-medication guy like me would have been grateful for something to get her out of being trapped in the addiction. Seventh, suicide is self murder, and so is forbidden, with exceptions similar to the questions of killing. Thaddeuz Borowski may have done it to avoid revealing others under torture. But we are not to do it to avoid suffering, though this may be easier to say than follow. We are signed up to tough it out, though some cannot, and our compassion extends to these. Finally, while believing in both God and accident, it is true that our love is the one thing that can be done. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, it is “as we forgive others” that we pray to be forgiven. Her letter and your post help us to see inside an instance that sometimes looks unworthy of our compassion, her hurting her children, till we see how badly this hurts her and how badly she was hurt, beyond the ability of most to overcome. God helps through the humans who love. But how accident, malice and misfortune irremediable can exist where no one can reach is a question we hope someday to ask Him. He’ll probably say that ninety percent we could have reached, had we been responsible, less forgetful, and knew how our compassion might enter inaccessible places, as that opened by this letter. And the other ten might have been by miracle if we had asked, but we had to ask, by the humans, but we had to turn to Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. user15571 says:

    Alcohol addiction hurts everyone, great article.

    If you need help to stay sober don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    http://addictionrecoveryquotes.com/category/alcohol-addiction/

    Liked by 2 people

  17. theomusicologist says:

    Astonishing.

    Profound.

    THANK YOU.

    That is all.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. mamasunshine says:

    Sad yet powerful. We only look at one side of the coin and this shows how important it is to be objective, to be understanding…that is the only way healing can happen

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Utterly heartbreaking in its absolute truthfulness + authenticity. Wow.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Geez, I think of my late aunt who died in 2008 after 30+ years of alcoholism and I can only imagine what I didn’t know now. I miss her often and can at least take comfort knowing she died at peace in her sleep and that she and I will meet again through Jesus our God someday.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. CurvyLou says:

    Wow. This letter reads like a story. The further you read, the more heartbreaking plot is revealed. I’m not familiar with the characteristics of suicidal people or suicide notes, but I am struck by the sanity, clarity, and thoughtfulness of this letter.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Freedomspeaker says:

    I haven’t read something so powerful, truthful and honest in a long time. It creates a feeling of regret for the children, but also a great despise for the family members. And It reminds me that every problem doesn’t origin from the person having the problem. It only manifests in that person. If there is anything that I hate the most is parents hurting children, or anyone hurting children. Unrealized, close minded, infantile people creating a family and then destroying it ( I am not talking about the mother writing this letter, she is the victim). THen again, who knows their live story, maybe they were the victims in their primary family.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. nosyjosie says:

    Reblogged this on mind JO business and commented:
    #SupportSunday

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Kilaya says:

    Some people have said to me that alcohol addiction is a tendency that comes from specific DNA. Others have said to me that it is purely a product of family dysfunction. Thus, the age old Nature vs. Nurture debate. Having struggled with addictions myself I have thought a lot about this. I haven’t come up with any answers but I do think that deeply held spiritual orientations may predispose some to addictions like alcohol especially when those feelings do not find expression in childhood and are even contradicted further by family dysfunction.
    What I am saying is that alcoholics are often deep-feeling spiritual people who fall prey to the bottle because they find no way to get in touch with and then to work out those feelings. They are often, I believe, people who are deeply aware of dysfunction in their family and in their communities in a way that others aren’t.
    I believe that life is really about health of the soul rather than protection of the body and I believe that our social lives are structured to support the opposite. This “mismatch,” I believe, is more often perceived and felt by addicts who become addicts because they never received support and affirmation for this deeply felt but difficult to express knowledge.

    Thank you for the work you do addressing this important issue in your blog. My prayers are with you on your continued outreach and education work.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. A woman says:

    Thank you so much for being transparent and writing and unselfishly sharing so that we all grow and benefit and can possibly help someone facing the same sadness. Thank you for accepting my access request.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Horrible and as heart-breaking as this all is, and something one can empathize with – If the problems of this life are from errors of past lives, and that we are here to Learn important lessons, which is what I think is true being a Buddhist – then she failed by killing herself in an act of massive self-indulgence and selfishness – which no religion or sensible philosophy recommends. Kind wishes to her suffering soul.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Mrun says:

    This is really heart breaking. And all I can think about is if only more people took their minds out of the gutter and just looked at people in front of them as just another person, a person who had come into this world without any labels, a person who just needs a little love and understanding right now, a person who definitely does not need to be judged. Nobody is perfect and we all have our struggles. So people need to get down from their high and mighty pedestals and actually look at everybody as a one world family. I hope people wouldn’t just turn their heads away and stop thinking that ‘this is not my problem’. I hope people would just look beyond the labels. And most importantly, I hope that people who do actually feel distressed on hearing about such things would take action. As you have.
    Bless you! Feel free to reach out if you think I can be of any help.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Mrun says:

    Reblogged this on justlegible and commented:
    If after reading this you still do not feel like we as a society need to change, I am sorry for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. frankie278 says:

    This blog truly shows the problems with alcoholics so it’s very educational.

    Liked by 1 person

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