Sunday, March 25, 2012
I was watching Dr. Phil on Thursday, March 22, 2012, when he aired a segment titled “Partying to Death”. It was about two young people whose binge drinking has become a common occurrence for them. The video clips and attitudes of these youngsters were very disturbing. I wanted to reach through my television screen and just slap some sense into them. But, I’m not a violent person and instead I just watched as they tried to justify the destruction of their lives. For the young lady, the destruction was not just about herself as it was revealed that she was pregnant and to celebrate her pregnancy, she went drinking!
You can find the link here:
As a mother who has lost a son to alcohol, I was appalled at the things revealed about one of the mothers. But, then I realize that some people are really just muddling along trying to do what they think is best. I don’t think either of the mothers ever wanted to inflict harm on their children. I understand their confusion and frustration. What DO you do when whatever you do, you always feel you’ve haven’t done enough or that what you’ve done has just been wrong?
I wonder nearly every day what I could have done that would have changed my son’s outcome. There’s certainly enough blame to go all around. I blame myself (of course), his fiancé, Riley, his fiancé’s father, an ex-girl-friend, and all his local “friends.” In my opinion, we all played a part in escorting Brian to the grave. As his mother, I feel the largest amount of blame falls squarely on my shoulders.
If I had only known then what I know now… How many times in our lives have we said just that about so many things? The truth is we don’t always know everything all the time. Things we need to know are often never revealed to us until it is too late. I can’t change the end result for Brian, I can only continue to work towards forgiving myself for not knowing what I should have known. I’m not sure if I will ever come to the place where I can forgive any of the other parties to his demise. I work on it. I try to understand their points of view. But, for the ex-girl-friend and Riley – there will never be any forgiveness in their direction.
One aspect of Dr. Phil’s show had to do with the brain and liver. He showed a real brain of a healthy person and compared it to a real brain of a person who was an alcoholic. The brain was remarkably smaller and there were holes that were clearly apparent. Along the same lines, he presented a healthy liver and an alcoholic’s liver. The difference was clearly visible even over the many miles of video broadcasting wave lengths. This is something that I know. The information was not new to me. But each time I see the real deal, I am always in shock and awe. I guess it’s one of those things I know, but don’t want to have as a constant visual.
But that brought to mind the idea that maybe our children need to see that true to life visual. In our efforts to protect them from the things that may damage their delicate psyche’s we also protect them from things that they really need to know. It’s kinda like the time when Alea was about two years old when she kept climbing up the cupboard drawers to watch me cook. She was an uncontrollable monkey and I was always afraid she’d get up there when I wasn’t in her sight and touch the electric burner when it was hot. One day, after she’d made the trek up the drawers and the burner had just been turned off, I took her little hand and told her the burner was hot. I then placed her hand over the burner so she could feel the heat. Her hand never touched the burner, but the heat was rising above it so she got the idea. After that when she watched me cook, she would repeat to me – “burner hot” “no touch”. She knew not to touch that burner.
Maybe if I had told Brian, from the age of two, that alcohol is hot (dangerous) – maybe if I had shown him those pictures over and over again. Maybe he never would have even started drinking in the first place. OK. So I know how unrealistic that is. Maybe two years old is too young. But, still, I believe education is the key. Knowledge is survival. If I had trained him earlier… if… if… if…
There is insanity in living with an alcoholic and children of alcoholics are endangered species from the moment they arrive into the world of the alcoholic family. The non-alcoholic becomes enmeshed in the dance of keeping the family together or protecting the family from the fall out of the alcoholic. The alcoholic’s need for the non-alcoholic to take care of “things” causes them to lose sight of taking care of the children. The kids grow up in the insanity. Why shouldn’t they think it’s normal? What is normal is what you’ve always known to be true.
I am reminded of the phrase “It’s hard to remember that your main objective was to drain the swamp when you’re up to your butt in alligators.” It’s hard to remember that we need to educate our children on the dangers of alcoholism, when we are so busy protecting the alcoholic. We may think we are protecting our children, but the reality is the only way to truly protect a child from alcoholism is to remove drunken insanity from their lives. At the same time, we must educate and provide the knowledge they need to keep them from falling into what could be a “family trait.”
Generally speaking, I love the Dr. Phil Show. He speaks from a point of honesty and doesn’t molly-coddle his guests. I’m not much on molly-coddling. I believe the reality of the situation is brought home to all the parties of this segment. I’m not sure if you can see the whole thing on his website or not, but just the amount available for viewing is great to watch.
Dr. Phil – You get a giant size THUMBS UP for this segment! Thank you for helping us keep in touch with reality when the alligators are nipping at our hindquarters!
at 7:48 AM