WHAT ABOUT ME?
I got a message from a woman - I'll call her "Susie."
Susie described how her alcoholic husband positively desecrated her life - emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically, financially though he eventually succumb to his demons. Refusing to grant her a divorce, he lost, gave away or squandered all their money and assets. He destroyed their house. He was violent the last five years of their marriage though she left before he died. She is now living in one room in someone's basement. She has ptsd. She is as broken as a human being can be, I suspect. The pain behind her words was palatable. She closed her message with one simple question,
"What about me?"
I get it.
The damage left in the wake of an alcoholic husband is by no means a competition. No one is to say how "bad" it is for them versus how "bad" it is for you. But, the degrees and levels of alcoholics' destruction does vary. It's like you live on a street that was hit by tornado. On one side of the street, houses are razed to the ground; on the others, neighbors lost only their roofs.
Is it bad to lose the roof of your house?
Of course it is.
But if you are standing in piles of rubble where the walls and ceilings, furnishings, personal belongings and yes, the roof of your house used to be, "just" losing a roof can feel rather appealing.
Comparatively speaking, I suppose you could say I have "only" lost the roof of my house in regards to my husband's drinking, the accompanying behavior and subsequent consequences for me and my life. I don't want to minimize my feelings and situation nor those of others who's alcoholic house may still be standing, albeit roofless because let's be honest: it all sucks. It all breaks your heart. It all kills your soul.
But for this post, I want to speak to the women who's lives have been razed to the ground. The women who are standing in rubble where their lives, their sense of self, their hopes, their dreams, their very passion for living once stood.
Right now, it seems like you are all but physically dead.
It feels like there is no possibly way for you to rebuild.
You feel down to the very core of your being that you have nothing left.
But I am here to tell you, you are wrong.
There is fire still left in your belly.
There is fight still left in your soul.
Your heart is still beating stronger than you realize.
How do I know?
Because you are here, as in reading this blog.
And don't mean because you're reading MY blog.
I mean because you're reading A blog.
You're probably reading other blogs.
Listening to TED talks.
Buying "self help" books.
Maybe watched some motivational videos on YouTube.
And you want to say,
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Lot of good it's doing me. I haven't done anything about my life yet."
The important thing is that you're reading and searching and you haven't sunk to the bottom of your despair.
There are women who are not reading blogs or buying books or watching what feels like their millionth TED talk at 2 am.
They know nothing of you or me or the world outside their prison.
There really is, sadly, nothing left within these women.
But that's not you because you are here.
Imagine one of those horrific disaster scenes, a building collapsed in the middle of the city or a train collided with commuter traffic. Paramedics rush to the scene. What's the first thing they do? In the most rudimentary and seemingly cold-hearted way, they quickly assess each individual. Who is dead - no point? Who is so close to death, time and effort is best spent on someone who has a better chance of survival?
You, my friend, may feel like you are one who they come upon and think,
But you're not.
You are one who they come upon and they see a will to survive, a drive to live. You are one who they yell,
"She's still breathing!
More paramedics sprint to you with a stretcher. You are placed on it, rushed to the hospital with sirens blaring the hope and belief they have in your chance at surviving.
You can do this.
You can survive.
You can take back your life.
You can grieve but you can also heal.
The alcoholic husband killed so much in you.
But he didn't kill everything.
You can do this.
You can rebuild your life.
You can rebuild you.
Imagine one of those horrific, catastrophic disaster scenes in a movie where people in varying degrees of injury are strewn about. The paramedics rush in and what do they do first?