Powerless over alcohol

Page 30 in the series Before the Pirates Came*

Lydia Ogletree told Miranda she had to stop drinking if she wanted the medication to work. Miranda felt like the lithium was working fine and that cutting back on her drinking would be good enough.  Between her sessions with Lydia, Miranda gave this issue some serious thought. She set out to prove that her drinking was really not that bad, and that certain people (Brian, Lydia, Mavis, and assorted friends) were just trying to control her.

For one thing, Miranda never drank alone. She was either with Brian or at the club surrouonded by people.  You’d never find her hiding out in a bar someplace, trying to keep it a secret. Also, she never drank at home. If she was in the mood to have a drink, she and Brian always went someplace nice.  There were no empty glasses on coasters in her household. Miranda had more class than that. 

And what about those times when she didn’t drink for three or four days in a row?  That’s not the pattern of a real alcoholic.  And except for some really nasty hangovers, there was little evidence that she was sick with an addiction. If Miranda really had a drinking problem, surely by now she would have some symptoms… Weight loss? Tuberculosis? Throwing up blood? How about none of the above– Miranda felt just fine.

She knew what a real alcoholic looked like. She watched a documentary on PBS about some disruptive men who lived under a bridge and took turns sleeping in a cardboard box. They were dirty and drank cheap whiskey morning till night. Miranda never drank before lunch and she was always impeccably groomed.  Obviously, these were signs of a social drinker, nothing more– and it was time for people to stop pestering her about it!

She  honored her commitments and responsibilities that were part of her busy life in Providence. Had she ever shown up late for a board meeting? Or a symphony concert? Or missed a deadline for the Orchid Society newsletter? Or gotten a DUI?  No, no, no and no. People could count on Miranda, that much she knew. 

She knew some alcoholic women, there was no mistaking it. They seemed lost and broken and looked like hell, sitting idly by the picture window overlooking the ninth green. They started drinking at noon out in the open for all to see. Miranda decided these tragic cases would be her secret measuring stick, reverse roll models.

As long as they were in worse shape, she saw no reason to quit completely.  She was in absolutely no danger from having a few drinks, no danger at all.

Why couldn’t everyone just believe her?

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in About me, Bipolar girl, Uncategorized, Vanity girl. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Powerless over alcohol

  1. Ann says:

    Thanks for sharing, Linda

    “Why couldn’t everyone just believe her?”
    Tough question. Very tough question.

    Those who are outside the situation seem to have a better view, but it’s kinda hard to hear them when you know they’re all wrong :-)

    On a serious note, it’s hard to see reality sometimes. We tell ourselves what we want to hear because it makes us feel better. Praying her Damascus experience will not be as painful as Paul’s.

    Very intriguing writing, Linda. I just came out of an AARGHH!!! meeting feeling like I wanted to run away. I’m glad I found your note. I still have to get my report done, but you took my mind off that for all of fifteen minutes. Yay you!


    • Linda says:

      Addiction is tragic, and you’re right about “telling ourselves what we want to hear.” Alcoholism is the only disease that tells you you don’t have a disease. In Miranda’s case it took TWENTY YEARS from the time she married Brian Parker Hall to accept the truth.

      I knew God was with me during that time because He wanted me, just like He wanted Paul. (And everyone, but you know what I mean.) I was never struck by lightning and I never killed anyone (or held the killer’s coat), but the last page of this story is already written and it scares me. Hate that I was there.

      I’m glad it was a good 15 minutes after your meeting. That blesses me… our blog friends need each other. Hugs : )

  2. Jan says:

    It’s so much easier, and much less painful, to look at the mote in a sister’s eye, than to confront the log in my own eye. Poor Miranda.

    • Linda says:

      Even years later, I still “look at the mote in a sister’s eye”. I wonder if healing that character defect is a work in progress. Sometimes it’s hard to see things clearly. Thanks for a good observation.

  3. “…Miranda decided these tragic cases would be her secret measuring stick, reverse roll models…”

    Great visual picture and use of words.

    Okay let’s turn the page. I’m ready.

  4. .endtransmission. says:

    Oh, so what you’re saying is, Lithium and alcohol don’t mix well. (writing this down….)

    • Linda says:

      Haha. Unfortunately, Miranda kept writing it down and forgeting it very quickly. A selective slow learner. Good to see ya! : )

  5. Debbie says:

    Linda, Miranda’s story is bringing back memories. Only no one was telling me I had a problem. So glad that He stepped in and saved me, in all sorts of ways. :) Great writing . . .you have a voice, a style, that is so readable and relateable and believable. Thank you for taking us along on this journey!
    love and hugs and prayers for you strength for your days!

    • Linda says:

      Thanks, Debbie. Nice comments keep me going. It’s alot of writing (and also a way to keep from going insane during challenging times)!

      These issues are so isolating that it’s easy to imagine that no one else has problems, too. I appreciate your honesty. If someone would have told me back then that I would be saved by grace, and I would be a new creature in Christ, I would have never believed it. You know what I mean… I wish the whole world would know God and say the same thing.

      Hugs… : )

  6. Theresa says:

    I am learning so much from you. Sometimes the learning is a little scary when I in turn, peer into the destructive tendencies that it reveals in loved ones, and even in myself. Thank you for sharing this.


    • Linda says:

      I think it’s scary, too. AA says: Alcoholism is the only disease that tells you you don’t have a disease. I always wonder how many other addictions and mental health issues could say the same thing. Learning is good, information is helpful. Glad you like reading…

      Hugs to you.. : )

  7. Ferd says:

    “Half measures availed us nothing!”
    Wiser words have never been spoken!

    • Linda says:

      Good to see you Ferd… several times in fact! : )

      Thank you for reading ALL THOSE POSTS about Miranda’s journey. It’s a silly story in a way, but on a deeper level a tale of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong as you concluded. I appreciate that you deciphered the story as it is intended and still like Miranda anyway. : ) Your observation about a history of undiagnosed bipolar disorder was so accurate, and looking back I can see it, too. What would life have been like as a “normal” girl? Less drama, less misguided passion, and less wreckage no doubt.

      In spite of Harry’s compulsive inclinations and Porsche obsessive ways (much worse than described), he was the love of Miranda’s mixed up life. Many regrets and sadness still on both sides. It was rock bottom, absolutely, and the reason she finally changed her destructive ways. I actually live a couple miles from the “Mallard Point Club” and Charlie Fine’s boat is still docked in the same place. It is a constant reminder of the choices that were made.

      There are alot of smooth guys out there, but as you said, thankfully not everybody. Familiarity breeds not necessarily contempt– but it breeds familiarity which over time, gets to be a comfort in its own distorted way. I appreciate that you noted how even the wrong person can provide companionship in a world that might otherwise be lonely… even the wrong person can be a friend who wants to stay up and gab all night.

      “The shame, dread, and desperation…”, “every Easter has its Good Friday…”, “No– Danger– Go back… blinded by sexual chemistry.” I suppose I don’t really like seeing that, but what a good deterant to making the same mistakes again. No thanks. I like being able to look in the mirror today without expecting to see damage.

      There is actually a real diary from the San Diego trip that I referred to for these posts. That was totally fun, and you’ll be happy to know that I still have the Nars “Jungle Red” lipstick in my collection… nearly new condition since the formula is a bit drying and it wasn’t life transforming after all. : ) Also, I will always believe that Kevin-the-yacht-broker had to be gay.

      You observed that the Spirit was watching over me, keeping me from destruction even back then. If I would have recognized which addiction was fueling which, I might have allowed myself to be led in a better direction instead of swirling in those months and years of chaos. As you said, bipolar disorder is underdiagnosed and I’m not surprised I was one of those statistics. I liked the manic life too well and probably would have not been compliant (as you will see– Miranda not me). I think this was part of the reason she didn’t duck when those “punches” came. When you’re bipolar, even the punches can feel pretty good.

      The “good guys”, the truckers in the snow, all happened exactly as written. What a night…

      Thank you for your compliments on the “Dvorak Symphony No. 8″ post, where the instruments morph into real people! Most of the posts are written to reflect the silly, distracted voice of Miranda. (Maybe too many?) So it was nice to write something a little more polished.

      “Miranda was sure keeping the Universe busy.” Loved that.

      After re-reading the WHOLE THING, I see that there are some continuity issues that have to be addressed, especially if I try to take this story a step further. I didn’t plan on writing it, except that I was diagnosed with an optic nerve problem, was sure I had M.S., and wanted to get as much writing in as possible before I went blind. There is still a little silly Miranda in there somewhere.

      Thanks again for your reflections and insight (and for being a great teacher)!

      Hugs… Linda : )

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