Excerpt from Licking Honey Off a Razor Blade by Valerie Grimes, CHt
Chapter 10 Being Vulnerable
A book on alcohol dependency and alcohol addiction written by a hypnotist
He mumbled over the sound of the red-neck alligator hunting reality show, “I just have to get it out,” then he paused, eyes fixed on two men in a metal fishing boat, cruising in a swamp, then he continued, “I’m tired, I can’t hold it in any longer. Please don’t judge me. I’m afraid of the dark, and I’m also afraid of the person I’ve become.”
What did he just say? I put my drink down so I could listen.
He was crying, “I’m tired, I can’t do this anymore,” he wiped tears away with the back of his hand. I moved closer and turned the volume down and took the beer from his hand. He joked for a quick second, “I’m not tired of that, give that back.” I did. He continued, “People were jealous of me. In my heart I was a helper and did so much for others, but I was always misinterpreted as being cocky. I just kept to myself. I don’t need anyone then or now.”
I realized, So his self-centered attitude was just a way of protecting himself?
He continued, through the sobs, “I’m a bad seed, a bad kid. My dad told me I was. He taught me bad seeds had to fight. I’ve become used to fightin’. And that fightin’ creates problems. I get thrown in jail, fired from my job, and probably loosing you.
“Dad wired me to never back down. He beat me when I didn’t win—so I’m afraid to loose, but now I’m tired. I’m so tired,” and he buried his head in my chest to rest a bit before he told a story that created a clear path to my really understanding what this man had been through and why he drank so much.
“As a kid I loved baseball and once when I was twelve, I rode my bike over to watch a game. While I was coaching the game from behind the fence, I always had better strategies then those fucked up fat coaches,” he said with a slight change in his voice. “But then a gang of boys started harassing me and wanted to fight. I refused and broke away and rode toward home through a field of high weeds. I was so scared and so relieved to get home.
“Dad was on the porch with a beer, a six pack of empties were here and there, some in the tall grass barely visible. My heart stopped.
I told him what I was running from, but the look on his face told me I was going back to face those boys. I was terrified. I just wanted to be home with mama and feel safe. But I went back and faced those boys. They ganged up on me and beat me real bad. I was just a little kid.
“He’s been like that my whole life. I had to win. I had to play perfect ball. I was so little, and he insisted I do it right and would beat me if I didn’t hit the ball far enough or fast enough or make the home run. I learned I had to be perfect and was terrified when I wasn’t. It was a lot of pressure, and it hasn’t stopped. I’m just so tired. I’m afraid to rest and to sleep. And, I’m afraid of the dark.”
He sobbed for nearly ten minutes in my arms until he fell asleep.
As I watched him exhausted like an infant that had cried himself to sleep. I felt compassion for him as I reflected on the compassion I was starting to have for myself.
Through sharing his experiences I was able to recall similar events in my life that shaped my current behavior, though not as traumatic, none-the-less, greatly effected me as his did him.
My dad had wanted a son, he told me that, but he had three girls. He didn’t teach us to fight but that we would have ‘a fight on our hands’ being women in a ‘man’s world’ (he was referring to the work world). This idea was woven throughout my upbringing: women were the underdogs; we had to work harder. And we needed a man to survive. That created a self-defeating belief that made it difficult for me to desire more, to desire better. And because I believed I was the weaker of the two to also avoid conflict.
Subconsciously I was screwed as far as being a success in business and in life independent of a man. And so I picked them, man after man, all like dad, all drinkers. Having a man didn’t make it easier as dad suggested, but I was still driven to find the right one. And that is why I drank, because it was hard and I was tired.