*Based on Alcoholism. It's very close to me.
"There is so much to say, yet nothing comes out of my mouth..I don't know where to start, and where to end..My experience is like a large circle, which has no beginning, and no end..and I'm standing right in the middle, trying to figure out as to what exactly is wrong.."
A member was sharing her experience, and my mind hung onto every word. Somehow, it seemed like my own story. All these people, the members, they are not my family, yet I feel as though this is where I belong, this is where I'm meant to be.
"The more the problems increased, the more I tried to pacify myself that everything was okay. Everything was fine, and we were a happy family. I constantly tried to be happy, hanging out with friends, indulging my mind into things that did not interest me. But at the end of the day, I was back to where I began - my home.."
Wasn't this what had happened with me too ? I always kept trying to convince myself that my family was perfect. I was perfect. Then why did I feel so depressed all the time ? Why did I feel afraid ? alienated ? alone ..?
"I'm fine. Look at me. I look great. I have great friends. They all love me" I said to my reflection in the mirror.
"Then why don't you invite your friends at home ?" asked my reflection. I fell silent. Why don't I ? Is it because I'm embarrased ? Why am I embarrased if everything is so perfect ?
"As a kid, My little mind couldn't understand the fact that alcoholism is a disease, and not a habit, and cannot be cured by a simple request. I would try to talk my father into leaving alcohol..He would nod and smile and say 'yes', but the next day, he would drink again.."
"Dad, Are you drunk ?" enquired a girl, probably in her early teens.
"No sweetheart, ofcourse not. I'm fine", replied a middle-aged man, words slurred, and posture distorted, he looked completely worn out.
"No Dad, you're lying to me. Please promise me you'd stop drinking from tomorrow. It's not a good habit"
He smiled, eyes drooping, "Alright honey, I won't, ok ? If that makes you happy.." and he passed out.
"I would constantly try to probe into the matter, thinking that I could control it, that I was the one who could stop my father from indulging into alcohol. I would look into his bedroom to find bottles, cans, I would have long talks with him, scolding him in my child like tone, but nothing happened.."
"I was in denial that my father was an alcoholic, it sounded like such an alien word. I thought that he's probably going through a though phase at work..everyone drinks at times, it's not a big deal.."
"You're dad is an alcoholic honey, you need to accept that", said a woman who seemed to be in her early 30's.
"He's not! Maa, dad is not an alcoholic, he's just stressed..I know he's gonna be fine.."
She shook her head lightly as a tear escaped her eye. The girl wondered why she was crying.
"My parents fought all the time. There was not a moment that they wouldn't argue whenever they were together. I would look at other parents and wonder how they could be so happy. I would sit at home with my teddy, and hope with all my might that my dad would return home not drunk, but my prayers were never answered. I would watch their fights unfold before my eyes..and I would stand in a corner..crying.."
Please let him come back home fine..Please let him come back home fine..chanted the little girl. Her eyes were closed. She was in her room. She didn't want her parents to fight, she didn't want them to yell at each other. What could she do ? There had to be something...
"And now, I've come to terms with the fact that my father is ill, and our family is dysfunctional. I need help. I'm powerless. I'm only human"
The member stops, her sharing is over. I close my eyes, putting a halt to the chain of memories that were flooding my mind. I'm filled with a feeling that I've experience very rarely - relief, contentment, peace, calm..
The entire group stands. Today's meeting is over. We hold each other's hands, and recite our customary prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference...
I open my eyes and see that I'm surrounded by people who are just like me. They're smiling, because they've finally found a way out. They've begun to let go, to grow out of the disease.
I smile as I approach one of the members. He's apparently talking about the combination of Gulab Jamun and Vanilla ice-cream....
Ok, I have alot to say. This story is very close to me. Someone very close to me has been through this, and I know how hard it has been. I want your feedback, but I just hope that none of you will judge either of the characters in this story :)
For everyone whose wondering what 'meeting' is going on in this story, it's actually a group called 'AA-Alcoholics anonymous', that conducts these meetings worldwide for people who are struggling to get out of alcoholism. They also have subsidiary groups called 'Al-Anon' and 'Al-Ateen'. For more info, here is the link -
*I'll explain what these meetings are about in more detail. Under AA, few members form a group (about 15-20), who have been alcoholics or have experienced alcoholism in their houses, and resolve to fight the disease to maintain their sobriety. They believe that alcoholism can be kept at bay by willpower alone. They meet once or twice a week for a meeting in a defined place. All members maintain each other's anonymity and do not disclose the sharings.
It was very hard for me to write about a strong subject matter such as alcoholism, but I've tried my level best.
*Imp: The sharing is actually being done by a member from the group, and not the protagonist herself. The thoughts of the protagonist and the sharing move parallely. I just hope you're not confused :)
P.S - I would recommend watching '28 Days' starring Sandra Bullock, although it's only a part of the whole picture, I think it was a pretty good attempt at capturing the ordeal an alcoholic and the people around him/her have to go through :)
Edited by -Neetz- - 26 September 2009 at 3:51pm