You’re all you've got!
I started writing on a day I’d been thinking about my days in high school. I was reminiscing about how I would walk home every day, taking my time, and messing around before finally arriving. My mom had a job at that time and was attempting to keep her crap together so she was never home when I’d first get there. I was free to do whatever I wanted after school and it was great! Except for the days that I knew she was recovering from a binge. Those days were not as amazing. I don’t think parents ever realize how infecting it is, for a teen who is working their butt off at school all day trying to have a normal day, after being surrounded (or abandoned) with nonsense that whole weekend. I mean, I think I honestly went to school just to feel better. Which would make sense as to why I don’t really care for it these days. I have nothing to run away from.
Anyway, those days, I remember walking home anxiously and alone because I didn’t want my friends trying to come over. I remember wondering what I was going home to. Wondering if she would be back to normal. If she would be available. What would the house look like? Would she have started up again? Would she be home? Would the house be filled with a bunch of people I could care less for? On days like that, I’d be ready to raise hell when I got home. I’d be ready to give every single person in the living room a piece of my mind if anyone even said hello. Now, I don’t know if it’s just my personality or the damage, but even to this day, everyone knows when I’m in that sort of mood and they know to just not talk to me.
I believe a lot of anger and wrath can develop in those early teen years. I mean for one, adolescence isn’t the easiest phase for anyone. But when you start to kind of see the world based on what you’ve learned from society, you start to realize what is wrong in your life. You start to realize what’s not being provided. You begin to take things personal. You begin to ask yourself if you’re just not important enough for your parents to be big boys and girls, and handle their damn responsibilities. You definitely grow tired of the excuses. You still feel bad because by then you know their whole story by heart and you get that they had it rough. So you understand, but at the same time, you’re like, can you get over yourself, please? Like can you please just hit the restart button before I graduate? I remember this being the point where I started to get really annoyed by mom’s crying. The moment I heard it in her voice, my eyes started to roll. I’d be thinking, aren’t you doing what makes you happy? Do I have to put up with this bs and still deal with your inability to cope?!
That frustration doesn’t easily disappear. Especially when your parents never sober up. When you’re a teen, you need a stable environment. You need consistency. You need someone to cry to and someone to love you and encourage you through those crazy years. You need an adult. You need someone who can counsel you through the currents and help you paddle upstream. And when you don’t have that, you become pretty bitter and inconsiderate. You don’t really care about how you make other's feel because growing up, nobody cared about what you felt. You don’t care to change for people, or even yourself, because nobody cared to change themselves for you. You don’t really learn to celebrate other people because the people who were put in place to celebrate you, neglected to. Instead of your family celebrating your accomplishments, you celebrated them being sober for 7 days, or for a weekend. Doing that every 6 months loses its appeal and after a while, you stop celebrating yourself and you start to care less about their 7 days of sobriety.
The crappy thing about that is, you may never learn to celebrate yourself or other people. Unless you recognize that it is a part of a good life and love, you will continue to look at other people’s accomplishments with bitterness or carelessness. You will look at your own accomplishments as simple occurrences. I find with myself, that if I do something huge and worth feeling great about forever, I only acknowledge it for about a month. After that, the excitement dies down and it is no longer a part of my story. With most people, their identity is broadened and expanded upon accomplishing life goals. With ACOC's though, we’re like, ok, next. When we graduate high school, it’s more of a survivor experience. It’s like “ok, can I move the hell out now?”
But you MUST learn to celebrate yourself. You must learn how to love yourself in a way your parents never did. You must learn to push and discipline yourself in the ways they did not. And it freaking sucks ass trying to learn for yourself what should have been ingrained as a child and natural by this time. But if you want a chance at living with a sense of purpose and accomplishment, you have to be your OWN parent. You have to believe in yourself, praise yourself, and cheer for yourself. You have to celebrate your A’s or B’s or C’s in high school. You have to celebrate the high GPA you had that year. You have to celebrate when you graduate high school and you HAVE to be the one that inspires you to finish college or continue working towards whatever your next goal is.
Once you become an adult, there are even less people emotionally available to you. They are usually focused on trying to fix themselves and nurture their own families. So you have to accept the fact that you are all you have, and it’s NOT because you’re not loved, nor is it because God does not see or care. It simply is what it is. So try not to feel sorry for yourself. Try not to make yourself out to be a damsel in distress, and do not allow feelings of worthlessness to overcome you simply because you realize your life depends on YOU. Step up for yourself in the ways your parents could not. Step up to the challenge and speak words of victory into your atmosphere. After some time, you’ll find that you really ARE in control. Instead of feeling enslaved by the life God gave you, you will feel honored to have such freedom! The key is to take ownership of your life and to force yourself into power rather than allowing yourself to drown in apathy. After all, you’re all you've got!!
By Charsanaa Johnny