Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Only You Know and I Know

Part of the stock in trade of being in a FOO with alcoholism is that there are secrets.  Everything is a secret.  Did your dad get so drunk he passed out on the floor and could not deliver the morning papers?  You cannot tell anyone.  Did your mother crack your father's head with a hot sauce bottle because she thought he was flirting with a female family friend?  Keep it under your hat.

My parents were beyond private.  They were paranoid.  My youngest sister told me the last time I was back home that her late husband and her current boyfriend would not believe her when she told them that we were not allowed to have friends over to the house.  And the funny thing is, by the time she came along my parents had (relatively for them) mellowed on that point.

Part of that problem beyond the family alcoholism secret is that my mother stopped keeping house to her liking right around the time that I actually managed to make friends.  My mother started out being a fastidious housekeeper, but her perfectionism could never be adjusted to the realities of her current ability time wise, nor the number of people now living in the house (six), nor could she overcome her Depression-era born clutter problem (she couldn't throw anything away). So she gave up.  And the house looked like it.

So candor was not a viable option with anyone.  Talking about what happened in that house was a betrayal and could result in punishment, because you did not put their business "in the street."

Part of the reason that I love people in my life to whom I can say anything is because for the longest time I could not say whatever I needed to.  Even now the specter of putting my business in the street has me discuss sensitive things with only a few select close adviser friends.  So that is kind of the ultimate joy and irony of what I am doing now.  Because here I am literally declaring my business to the world.

My hope is that anyone reading this who does not know me personally get something useful out of it, if nothing else than the realization that they are not alone and that there is hope.


Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Dave Mason.

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