"Knowing what I know now, about God and His Sovereignty...
Somewhere there is a heart willing to listen to this story about this little girl, orange carpet, hollyhocks, a small town ...and violence. Somewhere there is surely someone who will read Your story and see the Grace and Mercy in your life...and God will use you to touch that person, for His Glory.

Your story touches my heart, Pat "

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A whiskey drunk

8 am,  bright sunshine warmed my face when my door opened. Barely awake and squinting I saw my mom enter with a man. Bob. He resembled Abraham Lincoln, much shorter but with deep set brown eyes and thick side burns. He was smiling and trying very hard to win me over.
How does a 9 year old know they are trying to be impressed by an adult?
I knew something instantly....I didn't like him, I didn't trust him.
Even with promises of returning later to make a water balloon man and have "lots of fun" I found the pit of my stomach hollow, that feeling of dread, paralyzing dread, not yet fear.
 To this day I have told my husband there is a voice that comes from an adult toward a child that gives me that same feeling. I can't explain it, I have only heard that manner of speaking, a few times since, but in an instant I don't trust that person. It is something sinister, manipulative and disingenuous.
My stomach maintained that feeling for years to come.

My door opened in early Spring, I don't remember the first drunken binge or the first time he hit her. I don't remember the first time he lost the car or broke a window but by the fall of that year he had well established his pattern of behavoir. Work- bar-home around one AM, repeat. Sunday's were the worst, at that time all bars were closed. I find it odd he didn't  keep alcohol at home, he liked the bars. So he was dry and angry on Sundays and it seemed to get worse as the day went along.

Bob had recognizable drunks, I caught on to it quickly. I knew when to try to smooth things over between them and when to stay hidden in my room.
His beer drunk was the rarest, he was friendly, funny and cheerful. Full of optimism and promises. We once left to a family gathering 40 miles away with a beer Bob and returned with the mixed drink Bob. Out of control, chaotic and driving 80 mph down the wrong side of the highway. He was punching her the entire way in the front seat. When we came to the intersection he didn't know which way to go. Turning to the back seat, he asked me, "Which way?' I was struck with fear, I knew if I picked the wrong way this drive from hell would continue for who knew how long. I thank God I pointed in the right direction. We were home in  about 10 minutes and he was off to the bar.
Whiskey Bob was the most frequent, he brought broken bones, broken furniture and broken emotions.
Still the most fearful was the what on earth is he on Bob, often returning in a state of paranoia, his deep set eyes were completely dead yet seemed to be on fire. Sometimes he would hide in a corner for fear "they were out to get him." Soon he would shift, blaming my mom for telling them where he was. On a good night he just went to bed and passed out, this was when my training on how to roll a drunk occured.  Since he cashed his check and went straight to the bar, our only hope of any money came on these nights, I stood lookout while she dug through his pockets.Other times he would shift  into a paratrooper, doing rolls off the couch onto the floor, explaining how one would do it from an airplane. He was a minister, occasionally a cop, you never knew who you were about to encounter.
As a child I prayed, as a teen I rebelled. As an adult I became very angry until God began my healing process.

Form the ages of 9-12 I prayed a lot.
Everytime he was on a black out drunk I prayed he wouldn't return. At most, they lasted a week.

When he committed himself for treatment, I prayed he would stay away forever, he checked himself out early.

When he overdosed on a bottle of pills and whiskey, I prayed as he laid out in the yard that the ambulance wouldn't make it in time, but I could hear a faint siren.

He lived with us four years.
I had nightmares for ten.


Unknown said...

I'm so sorry, no one should have to live with that kind of fear. I grew up with an alcoholic father but Mom would not put up with abuse although she really didn't know about the sexual abuse until we were out of the house. God is definitely in the healing process. God bless you for sharing.

The Path Traveled said...

I love that you decided to start writing about your abused childhood. I think God has lead you on this journey to help you heal and that your story will help others face their demons and start to heal also. Thank you for your bravery and courage to come out with your story. I am here if you need a shoulder to cry on or vent to or just need me to pray. God bless you!

Sherry B said...

Not all, but some of the same history has affected many children who have become wounded adults. I know exactly what you mean about the "voice".
You describe the same feeling I get in the center of my being when a large, loud, angry and intoxicated man is near me. What has become of our memories of childhood? So much has been blocked. God bless you for having the courage to share this past. I am following along, sometimes in your footsteps.

mudderbear said...

How sad this is. I really hope things are okay for you now. I am very much pulled into your story. I really hope I have never made anyone feel bad who had such burdens to bear. I am determined to be kinder to those I know who have. May you be blessed and happy.
The pictures of you are so adoreable, reminds me of my neice when she was little.

Ann in the UP said...

I used to tell my kids, when they would come home with stories of kids at school---"You don't know what they are living with at home". Thanks for this story of what some kids are living with at home. What a story of survival!

I hope that sharing this is part of a healing process for you, Shannon.

Love you.

Ames said...

Both my parents went on a drinking jag along about the time I was a teenager. They were never abusive to us, just verbal to each other. They out grew it. Thank God! When I look back, I remember my mother drinking whiskey in milk out of a coffee cup. I sat her in a chair in the kitchen and made her drink black coffee and talk to me. I asked her why she drank and she cried and said she didn't know. Sometimes, you'll never know what demons haunt people. I think she felt trapped and unhappy and then later on came to terms with her life the way it was.

I always thought our family was so disfunctional. But the older I got the more I realized that reality wasn't like Ozzie and Harriet. Other families that appeared to have it together were just putting up a facade.~Ames

Karen said...

Following along with your story brings back so many memories. I know where you're coming from and it's a joy to see where you're going! Look at the life you have now, how far you've come from the dysfunction you once knew. My heart goes out to you in this time of remembrance. I've walked many of the same paths you have and my heart aches for the little girl inside of you who deserved to be loved and protected. It's never too late to go back and have a happy childhood; my own children taught me that.