I am happily married now and things are going wonderfully. We continue to entertain frequently and my parents were always at these get togethers. My drinking is beginning to escalate at this point in my life for what seems to be no other reason than having a good time. (This is what I believed at the time)
In the last several months, my daughters have run for our local teen pageants and I was coerced to run for Mrs. Hawaii. These were fun, yet time consuming events. These state run pageants require one to obtain “sponsors” or donations from sponsors that help with the expenses of being involved in a pageant. We did get many sponsors and many of our friends bought tickets to the big final event. My parents weren’t one of them. The explanation that was given to us was that they had no interest in coming to these events as they thought it was a way for us to “show off”. My Dad also said that he thought it was a waste of time. I guess I wasn’t surprised. I was the only contestant who’s parents were not there and my daughter’s were the only ones who’s grandparents were not present. They also did not come for my daughter’s high school graduation. I guess they thought this was a waste of time too.
My sister was still living in Alaska at this time and we spoke every once in a while. I had not seen her for about 6 years so I was excited to learn that she was coming to Hawaii for a vacation with her guy friend. She didn’t tell my parents that she was going to be coming because we thought we would surprise them once she got here. Once my sis was settled in, we made a schedule of her daily events and one of the events that we planned was to have a get together of some of our childhood friends and our parents. My sister was excited to give my folks a call to tell them that she was here and that we were having a get together. I heard my sis on the phone talking to my Mom and then she became quite. I looked over to see that she was no longer on the phone and was now crying. She was crying because my Mom had told her that she did not want to see her because it would make her feel “funny”. It was no secret that our Mom had been against my sister’s “lifestyle”. Her lifestyle being that she had found a boyfriend on an online chat room. I let my sister cry for a bit and then I realized that I had been rejected in a similar manner by my parents all these years but somehow witnessing this happen to my sister really hit me hard. It was almost as if I had learned to accept that my parents would reject me automatically but seeing them reject my sister really brought it home for me. It was at that moment that I decided…or rather…knew that my sis and I had never been considered their daughters. That all these years of me trying to get their love and approval had been a big waste of time. At that moment, I knew that I didn’t want to try anymore.
Something happened to my heart that day. It wasn’t anger but more of a deep inner resolve that I had done all I could do and I would try no more. I was done. I saw at that moment how much I had tried in vain to get them to love us and see that we were worthy of them having adopted us. I also felt that I no longer “owed” them anything. From the time sis and I were able to understand, they had told us how lucky we were to have been adopted. That if it had not been for them, we would still be starving and probably living on the streets of Korea somewhere. They honestly believed that because of their noble actions of adopting two lost wayward, homeless girls, that sis and I should feel “beholden” to them.
All my anger, frustration, sadness, feelings of inadequacy and feeling “less than”…disappeared at that very moment.
Some time prior to this, my parents had asked my husband and I to be their “Power of attorney’s” for when their time came and I had agreed. After this last incident with my folks and my sister, I did not call them for a year and a half. In the past when there had been some sort of disagreement or falling out, I was always the one to reach out to them. They never, ever called me. I knew that they would not call me and I also knew that I was done trying to reach out to them… I’d probably never speak to them again and I was ok with that.
Several months had gone by and I received an email from my Dad saying that I had been “released” as their POA and that they had asked my paternal cousin “S” to take over the responsibilities. I had actually forgotten my prior obligation to them and I was relieved that they had found someone else. If you haven’t figured them out by now, they did not release me as POA because they thought that I wouldn’t fulfill my role, (because I would have)…they released me to continue to try and make a point…that they didn’t need me and I could just be pushed aside and discarded as they had always done. Dad had also signed off on that email with his first and last name instead of -Dad-. I refused to be a part of their sick, twisted games of calling them back and trying to get back in their good graces. My email response back to them was that I was sure that my cousin S had their best interest at heart and that she would make an excellent POA.
My sis and I continued to correspond and she called me to let me know that my Dad had been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. The primary emotion I felt at that time was that I knew he had a long road ahead of him and in my mind, any type of cancer is awful but the inability to breath with lung cancer has got to be one of the worst. In the meantime, my cousin (the POA) called me from Minnesota where she lives and told me that she would be coming to the Islands to work out all the details for my Dad. She asked me if I wanted to be involved with any of these details and I told her that I did not. Up until that point, my folks had told all of our relatives what bad daughters we had turned out to be. That we had no gratitude for having been adopted. “S” had no idea what the truth had really been all these years. I did not feel like explaining everything to “S” and so when I told her that I had no interest in being a part of my Dad’s battle with cancer, I’m sure what she had been told by my folks was confirmed with my attitude. All “S” knew was that my parents had struggled with us girls all these years. It was not the time to explain anything to “S” about it.
I was continuing to drink and loving every moment of it. I was what some people would call a “functional alcoholic”. I would look forward to coming home at the end of the work day to have my glass…or several glasses of wine but I was beginning to prefer vodka. It got me there quicker. It got me quicker to that place of happy feelings…that electric energy feeling one gets with drinking alcohol. Sometimes I would drink on my way home from work in the car. Heck, why not? After all, traffic here is bad and it takes over an hour and a half to drive 25 miles. I was able to keep this behavior a secret from my husband for quite a while. I would drink in the car, feel relaxed, then share a bottle of wine with my husband. After we both had that first glass of wine from our shared bottle, he couldn’t figure out how and why I had gotten so plastered from just one glass. I told myself during my drinking career that after everything I had been through in my miserable life, I deserved to relax the way I wanted to at the end of each day. I wanted to just drink, then go to sleep. I did not want to deal with any of the issues that lay deep within me. I told myself that I drank because I immensely disliked my stepdaughter. I also disliked her Father whom I felt was spoiling her. It seemed to me that there was such a lack of discipline. I remember asking myself distinctly, “why the hell should -she- have a loving, doting Father who would do anything for her when I didn’t? Who the heck does she think she is?” I swirled this question around in my head for quite a few weeks until I realized that her relationship with her Dad was a normal one…and that it was such a major contrast to the relationship I had with my Dad. I hated that fact. This was the first inkling of the deeper issues that lied beneath me.
I was going about my day and getting my daily exercise and thinking to myself that I would do whatever I could to stay looking young. I had become a certified laser technician after my nursing career and have had some laser treatments done on my face in the past. I was contemplating having more work done when a little voice inside my head said: “That’s great!…what are you going to do for your insides?” At the time, I did not know where that voice was coming from but it was soft, firm and very loving. It was more of a powerful suggestion than any kind of demand. Shortly after this little voice, I made up my mind to heal. I didn’t know how this was going to happen but knew that quitting the drink would be the first step to my healing process.
Off to rehab I went…