Sunday, October 16, 2011

Opening The Box ~ Found: Exhibit 1

FOUND: Exhibit 1 ~ A Collection of Letters.  A couple of days ago I opened the box and I spent about an hour sifting, wondering which direction the next blog entry would take.  You know, I have to make myself sit in the floor, very close to the work, breathe, and then, take the lid off.  Each pass seems to be more than I want to bear.
I began to leaf through the letters... there were so many... 32 pounds of mail according to Judge ML ~ of which she was responsible for reading every word.  Tears started down both cheeks.  I auto-shifted into full scan mode.  My eyes filled.  The pages blurred beneath trickling tear drops.  I didn't get up for a tissue because I knew I wouldn't sit back down.  My t-shirt sleeve would do for now.
The page turns to Bill's letter to the court.  I discover he's a fellow alumni, as well as one of the university's campus psychiatrists in the early 80's when he was getting started with his now prominent career.
Bill explains to Judge ML that during the time in the months following the accident, he prescribed antabuse, a drug that has been used by alcoholics to help stop drinking since the early 1950's.  He also reveals that antabuse shouldn't be continued indefinitely due to it's toxic nature - ahem, what?
Toxic? I never knew. Trigger...
I am reminded of Jim asking me "what would I do, what could I do" as we sat there the first day we met.  To be honest, I don't recall an answer.  Seems like "I'll never drink again" entered my mind, but I don't remember saying the same out loud.  I do, however, remember Jim's suggestion.  He recommended to my doctor  that I take antabuse.
Another drug to fix me.  Surrounded by drugs to alter this and cease that behavior runs a mind bender on someone if they have never taken drugs.  I didn't like being given these things and much less being expected to take them without question.
The generic name of antabuse is disulfiram.   If you drink while taking antabuse, you get  sick to your stomach, not just nauseated, vomiting sick. All I knew is I'd do anything to stay sober.  And so, I took it.
I also prayed that night for God to take the urge to drink from me. AND HE DID!
I have not touched a drop of alcohol from the day after the accident to this one.  There have been moments, sure, when stinkin' thinkin' pops into my brain, and I'd be lying if I said there weren't.  But, the physical addiction that I've heard some speak of was not an obstacle for me.  The urges were gone.
I knew that I must follow Jim's directives.  Ingesting drugs to prevent me from drinking seemed just the thing to prove I would do anything to get better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Scarlet Letter ~ You're the Daughter

So many little things impact the experiences of our life.  I reach over to refold the RED t-shirt slung over the back of my office chair. Yes, RED. I never wore red, ever, before. Freshman level high school reading included Nathanial Hawthorne's THE SCARLET LETTER which left me thinking that all the world would know my secret if I wore a crimson-shaded color. No letter required, red would bring attention and as I tried vehemently to blend in with all the normals, I thought it would make me stand out and that's the last thing I wanted. Damn it - every slant of self-recrimination lends to it the idea I am the result of the sum total of my experiences. How do I contend with that moment by moment?
"You're the daughter" was just one of these moments.
Jim stopped mid-stairway with an abruptness that startled me as I sat waiting in the foyer of his massive law office with anticipation. He pondered the possibility, "I know who you are..." What did he mean? How did he know me? Jim tread down the remaining steps closing the distance between us.  There is nothing that prepares you for the truth like it was presented to me that day.  I had become a bit unnerved.  It was like he knew my secret somehow. But how could he?  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what came next.  His remark, "your the daughter!" made no sense to me.   He continued by saying he had been my mother's divorce attorney.  How does that happen?  Divorce attorney turned criminal defense attorney?  What can explain the chain of events that had to have occurred to be in that moment in those circumstances - I have no explanation, only faith, that this is how it was supposed to be.  Me here, needing this man to help me get my life back.  Someone who knew long ago that "I was the daughter, being abused".  Recently, I learned that my mother and Jim decided that publicity of this story would destroy my life.  Little did we all know at the time, the horror I survived had almost done that already.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What It Took ~ Handful of Heroes

I talked to Jim yesterday... just felt like reaching out to him to ask some questions and did. No hesitation. Of course, he was in court. I didn't expect a return call until afternoon. Well, now I had time to ponder what to say... why get anxious?
Jim is one of, what I like to call, a "handful of heroes" in my life. He is one I asked for help. He did everything in his power to lessen the severity of this mess I was in. I decided to dive into some work to keep me from isolating on the conversation to come. It worked.
When Jim returned my call, I had forgotten about it all together. He greeted me with "what are you doing now? it has been some time since I've seen you. How are you doing?" I caught him up with the phenomenal work situation. I could hear his smile through the phone line. He sounded pleased to hear about my Master of Accountancy milestone. I never dreamed I would be able to get through a master's program. I have been so rewarded.
Jim reflected that I would just be getting off parole right about now if things had turned differently. I stopped and let the reality of his statement sink in, but I didn't grasp the emotional connection until the very moment this was written. WOW. That would not have been a show stopper, but a life stopper instead. Why the second chance?
There were seconds of silence that hung on the wire, yet I saw this opportunity to open up the reason for my call. I let Jim know I had googled him about 6 months ago, had driven by his old office and saw it vacant. I double checked google days ago with the same search and discovered Jim's new office address.
I asked, "do you still have the records for my case?". He answered that the records were in storage and he couldn't ensure the condition of the records because the storage began before environment and temperature controlled storage existed. Estimated cost = $100.00. Jim told me Laurie is the go to for setting up the details. Complete chronological ordered proofs for supporting the finer details going forward - another box to get the lid off of. An entire collection of related materials for future research all in one place. So, gathering this collection is all things accident. Sifting, I expect, will be tremendously difficult.
Lastly, Jim asked "Could you do me a favor?" He went on to explain the judge that heard my case was retiring in the near term. He asked me to write Judge M L with an update on where I am today. He thinks it would really make her feel accomplished for the second chance she gave me. My God, how do you tell someone they are a hero. I am writing the letter... taking action these days to be the better me I can be! Tomorrow I follow up about the second box that needs a lid to come off.