Things that happened to me as a result of my drunk driving arrest nearly three years ago—unpleasant things—found me questioning myself more and more as each one began to occur. Ultimately, the end result was being forced to admit my life is incomplete. Would it be shocking to say that I’m almost comfortable with this, because an incomplete life is so familiar to me? Perhaps not, for I’ve began to resent it. But wasn’t it the life I longed for? Didn’t I want the quiet of the country, living with and loving this seemingly perfect man? I fear I don’t know what perfect is. I don’t trust my own judgment. I’ve always had the best intentions, and have surrounded myself with people who swear they’ve had my best intentions in mind, but I’m still sick; maybe because intention is an action-less word. Like cheap confetti being scattered at a party it enhances the moment temporarily, but then there’s the cleanup when it’s over and it never quite seems worth it. So too, intentions are misleading, distract you from doing the actual work, and always disappoint in the end. So where am I now? Clinging to what’s left of my life with desperation and using that desperation to find myself without the crutch of good intentions and excuses to make the journey easier. I’m finding this most difficult task lies not only within me, but in dealing with others.
A part of my satisfying the courts demands, was taking the required drug and alcohol evaluation. I did so with much trepidation, having been convinced by anyone and everyone that talked to me that these counselors found everyone alcoholic and required them to attend AA meetings. Apparently I’m not the norm, because they found no reason to further any alcoholic treatment, but rather closed that part of my case. They did, however, see through my guise of self control, asked the right questions, and ended up with a blubbering idiot. I suppose it’s safe to say I won’t be winning an academy award for acting anytime in the future. I’m grateful now to them too for recognizing what the real problem was and working so hard with me. For someone that’s never felt particularly lucky, I sure have lucked out by having an officer, a psychiatric nurse, and a counselor come into my life at just the right times. But as I said, if I had looked at this through the eyes of someone who was angry, blaming others for their mistake, and saw this as an inconvenience, I probably wouldn’t have recognized this blessing in disguise.
Counseling opens windows of opportunity if you look for them, but unfortunately closes others. The more I found myself peering inside my own soul seeking solutions and attempting to change myself, the more disdain and less desire I had for the way I’d been living and the people I’d allowed to control my mind. I’d come to realize that I needed to be fixed, everyone around me knew something needed to be fixed, but once I actually started doing the work our ideas of how to go about resolving this problem became different. I believed and still do that through the guidance of therapy people can find the peace they’ve sought for so long. The people close to me, unwilling to relinquish the control they had, put up little resistance to this counseling, but still tried to persuade me in their own way that I’d created a problem where there was none, and all would be fine if we just got back to the business of living. I’m not really surprised. Hadn’t it always been me and a problem of mine that needed to be resolved? It’s never been a fault on anyone else’s part; just me wanting too much, expecting too much, and creating a situation by needing to communicate my feelings. I’d begun to wonder at times if it wasn’t just me, because over the years the scenarios have changed, so have many of the characters, but the script is no different. It’s the same conversation leading to poor choices, and always at my expense. I know that, but now believe that the only fault that’s really mine is allowing myself to be put in the same situation. Nor is it really anyone else’s. Weren’t they just playing the roles that I wrote for them? I am, after all, the producer, writer, and director of my own life.
So I know I’m broken. No one knows that better than me. To what extent I’m not sure, because I still manage to put one foot in front of the other each day, and do it while wearing a smile. I still haven’t given up on myself or others around me. I still believe in hope. But still, I know I’m broken. I know this, because everyone tells me I am.
I don’t know when the “broken” happened exactly. I guess I’ve always been this way. Could it have started with the desire I had for attention from a father who was incapable of showing it, and a mother who had depression long before that kind of thing was recognized as a problem in our society? Maybe also because I was the youngest from a large family with many years between children that fell in line like stair steps and myself, thereby feeling like I couldn’t turn to my older siblings for comfort, because they looked upon me as spoiled and the life I had at home once they were gone as ideal. Regardless of where, I only know that as far back as memory will allow I know I’ve been a disappointment; been broken in some way. I was always too hyper, too loud, too ungrateful, too needy; too something. And always looking for love…always looking. Maybe it’s been there at times and I was unaware. Maybe I needed more reassurance then anyone could give me. Or maybe, just maybe, I was never healthy enough to want someone who didn’t need fixed, or had a desire to fix me.
I’ve wrestled with the ability to conform for years, attempting to be someone different, per someone else’s request; obtaining the gold ring of being loved if I could conquer and master that incredible feat. I learned a lot from my family early on that I’ve carried with me into my adulthood, but unfortunately hasn’t served me very well: Being me will never be good enough. I have to be what others expect me to be. My husband shortly into our relationship adopted this attitude, forcing me once again into a position of being a chameleon in order to be accepted and loved. I realize that now. My question was, and always had been, “How the hell do you do that?” as I scurried about making futile attempts to reinvent and perfect myself. I must be healing, for lately it’s become, “Why the hell would I want to?” And I’ve also come to realize something equally important: The only thing that’s truly broken about me, is that I chose to trust people that told me I was.
So where do I go from here? Hopefully, up! Battered and bruised emotionally, but not beaten, I hope to someday soon stand tall on my own two feet and reclaim what’s rightfully mine: An opinion without fear of judgment, respect for my wants and needs, independence to make my own choices, wisdom and strength needed to know when to let go of unhealthy people and things; in short…my power back. I deserve all that and more, because I’m worth it. I’ve been given this wonderful gift called life, and a second chance to right all the many wrongs I’ve done to myself, and allowed others to do to me. My DUI was inconvenient to say the least, but a blessing in disguise. How I use the information given is up to me now.