21st December 2019
This series of blogs have been construction in order to create a more spiritually leaner body. This blog will bring us up to date with Lena's journey and beyond.
To get up to speed with Lena. We know that she was born into a grateful, happy and financially secure family. We looked at her exploits at her groups, the friends she met and followed. We saw Lena's first 'I'm gonna get my life together' as she buckled down and studied for her 'A' levels, when a sought after university was dangled in front of her. We visited Lena as she partied hard and became pregnant, this led to Lena's second 'I'm gonna get my life together' resulting in gaining a respectable 2:1 degree and a job straight out of University. We watched as she out grew her first Job and took on more responsibility in a new job that offered with more pay and a whole lot of stress. Lena upped her intake of Alcohol in an attempt dull the pain of her past and cope with the ill-treatment she was receiving at work. All this came to a head and we witnessed Lena's third 'I'm gonna get my life together' when after a night of drinking alone in the dark, Lena realised that this could not carry on this way. Lena began my Liminal Stage, Awareness and stalemate was played out together, as she sat there in the dark, she began to feel sad and sorry for herself, then realised that things could not remain the way it was, she knew something had to change. Lena started to clean, ohhhhhh did she clean, in this busy chrysalis stage where she emailed and called her boss to end her employment. Lena then sought out AA groups in her area. We will catch up with Lena as she emerges from my Liminal Stage, we note that as this stage dictates, Lena reverted back to her past, to her childhood in-order to find answers to her adult actions. Lena found 'Blame' and felt that her parents actions of giving her 'too much' freedom caused her over indulgence of alcohol. Lena's train of thought was 'I needed to look after myself, I needed to find my own entertainment, I needed to be there for myself, I needed to console myself'. Lena internalised feelings of abandonment, working through her feelings was just one facet of healing, getting better and becoming alcohol free.
Lena made a list of things she wanted to accomplish
1) Find an AA meeting, join and start attending.
2) Clean up and throw out.
3)Spend time with Family.
4) Find a job.
5) Start a hobby.
Lena had completed the first two on her list and we catch up with Lena as she embakes on the third item on her list. Lena had an agenda for spending more time with her family! She called a family meeting and asked them not bring spouses. On arrival at her parents house, Lena knew that her brothers would already be there and all would be wondering, what news she had to reveal...Her mother met her at the door with a warm smile and beckoned her in....As she thought, her family were there waiting patiently. Lena sat down around the table where they had all gathered and said that she called this meeting to share her life with them.
Lena started at her earliest memory and recalled how she use to use the money her parents had given her for her classes and bought 'her friends' alcohol, she went on to talk about her four day binges at university and that, at times she didn't know how she got back to her dorm., and later when she lived alone, how she got back to her flat. Lena omitted her pregnancy and subsequent abortion. She went on to describe her first job and how she enjoyed being there, but felt that she could do better and wanted to stretch herself, Lena watched the expressions on the faces of her family which stemmed from sadness, caring to disgust and what looked like disdain then back to care and love. Lena carried on talking until she had unloaded everything she could remember. When she had finished talking, her family had been served and eaten a meal accompanied with drinks, desert and coffee. Lena fell silent while she waited for a response. After hugging Lena, her mother informed all that would hear that, Lena was her baby and if she needed help in any way shape or form she would get it, all she had to do was ask...Her brothers nodded in agreement. Both her brothers wanted to know how they could have missed all that Lena had gone through and got up to. They assured Lena that they would be more attentive, Lena immediately told them that that was not needed and was happy just knowing that they would as they had always been, there for her. Lena's mother said that she was sorry that she had not realised that she was unhappy and that she had gone through such a huge ordeal on her own. Lena felt loved.
Before the family left, her eldest brother said that he couldn't keep his secret to himself any longer and although he wanted to make his announcement with his partner, he wanted to tell everyone that they were expecting their first child, which would be due in seven months. Everyone was delighted. Lena and her brothers left together, it had been an evening of revelations, but Lena noticed her fathers silence and told him that she would return in a few days. When Lena called in at her parents house a few days later she found her father alone.
Lena spent the next four hours telling her father all the 'bits' she left out during the family meeting. Lena and her father cried, she said she had never told any one about this part of her past, but her father told her that he and her mother had suspected that something like that had happened. 'What can be like that dad?', she asked. 'A lot worst' he said. They held each other and her father confessed that before meeting her mother, his girlfriend at the time fell pregnant and decided that she couldn't have a child at 17 years old,so had an abortion. Her father told her that he thinks of what could have been every year. Lena tried to console her father, when he turned to her and said that 'what will be will be, if he was suppose to have had a child at 18 years old, he would have. He said if he stayed with his then girlfriend, he may have never met her mother. He went on to tell Lena that she shouldn't beat herself up about not carrying her pregnancy to full term, as if she was to be a mother then, she would have been. He asked her if she had considered keeping her child, she told him no, as she felt that they, (her parent) would think less of her. Her father said that he wanted to put a few things 'out there' then he told her that there are two things Lena had to own 1) Her drinking and 2) the abortion. Lena's face fell, she told her father that he didn't understand, she had been left to her own devices so often that she found friends that made her feel good about her self, her father told her that she was loved by her family and had she felt alone or unloved she should have told them. Lena said that she didn't feel she could let them know how she felt at the time, she went on to say that she felt wanted by her friends especially when she would buy them things. Lena's father said 'you used our money to buy friends'......The room fell silent. Lena said she was sorry, and stated that she really couldn't tell them about the abortion as they would think less of her if she told them that she was pregnant. Lena's father asked her if she felt that her family felt less of her now, after she had told them about her life thus far? Lena said no and started to cry. Lena realised that her family's love for her had never changed, and that they would have loved and cared for her regardless of what she did or didn't do.
Over the next week Lena spent her time pondering on what her father had said to her, and realised that ever time she went out with friends, she choose to go out. Every-time she drunk, she choose to, every-time she choose not to go to her after-school clubs, she choose that, every-time she didn't go to lectures, she choose not to go. She choose to get drunk, she choose to have an abortion, she also choose to sober up, she choose to leave her job and to start attending AA meetings. She choose to come clean to her family, to clean up her home and life. Lena had at last chosen life over booze. She wondered how she was going to feel when that date came around and whether she was going to be sad. She knew that she wouldn't be drinking to numb the pain, not this time around. Lena began to feel better about the direction her life was taking and wondered why she hadn't taken a stock of her life sooner. She remembered her fathers words 'What will be will be, if you was suppose to.......you would have been etc......' Lena had felt brighter and lighter ever since her family meeting. She knew that she had a weight taken off her shoulders. Life had taken on a whole new meaning.
Lena had one other item on her list to tick off, she needed to find another job. Lena remembered how she enjoyed working at her first job, a small team of accountants, she felt that their business could gain from the skills she had learnt at her last job. Lena paid them a visit, sold her ideas to her old boss who said that they were happy to see her and would often ask her mother about her. Lena was offered a position that she could have only dreamt of achieving in her last job. The pay was a vast improvement to the last time she worked there and much more than her last salary....She was surprised that the small firm could have offered her that much.
Lena was on her way, she knew that she was going to be happy. She was now 33 years old and felt as light as a feather, Lena really couldn't imagine how she had ran her life into the ground, how she could have been so low when the world had so much to offer, if only she had applied herself. Lena began each day being grateful for everything in her life, most days Lena would write in her gratitude journey that she was grateful for her health, thankful for her family, thankful that she had the strength to not drink. Thankful for the feelings of gratitude.
Lena began a morning and night-time ritual of meditating, then write in her journal. When she couldn't think of anything specific to be grateful for Lena would say, ' I am thankful for my now life' Lena was happy that she was living a now life, not a hangover life, not a life where she was wishing the weekdays away when she didn't have go into work. Lena became grateful for her now.
During Lena's low times she would often, hear a small voice that said 'You don't have to drink to feel better' she states that she would often shrug off the voice, as other voices would enter her head that said she was alone, she had no one in the world. She goes on to say that this voice would tell her that she was worthless and that her parents would be disgusted by what she turned into. Lena states that it was only when she was walking to work that she would hear that small positive voice come through without the negative voices....Often Lena says that that positive voice would tell her that she really didn't have to work at that firm, she was worth more than that job gave her credit for. At nights she would drown out that voice with Alcohol. When Lena took that job, she had a feeling that working there was going to be hard, she had a feeling that she would have to give more to that company than she had given anyone. In the back of her mind she knew that working there was not going to be pleasant. But ego told her that it was a prestigious post, the money was good and she would have be in a position to climb her career ladder faster. Lena's first week showed her what her gut had been telling her all along, but she did not adhered to its warnings and as they say, the rest is history. Lena now follows her intuition. For Lena now, if she feels uncomfortable about where she is, she leaves. Lena has allowed people into her life and has been invited out most weekends. Lena has the ability to meet them up at a bar and will order a soft drink. As the night progresses, that small voice in her head will say its time to go........Lena will leave....Lena no longer has to spend the whole night at a bar to enjoy herself, she is quite happy to have a good time not drinking alcohol, and if the urge to drink surfaces, she listens to her gut and leaves. Lena found that in doing this, her friends get the best Lena she can give them. When she leaves earlier than they do, she says she lives to party another day. To date Lena's gut has not steered her wrong and she is able to enjoy the company of others without being drunk. At home alone, she busies herself, and ends the night with meditation before going to bed. It was that quite voice that told her to contact her old employer. As we see she was offered a position, she could have only dreamt of getting in her old job. It was that small voice that told her to call a family meeting in which she was able to off load her past burden and be able to move forward...Lena listened to that small quite voice that told her to accept a coffee date from a guy she met at dance class. Lena felt at ease, with this person. She felt that she could talk about anything, after spending time with Paul over a few dates, she knew he was someone she wanted to keep in her life. Lena had found a friend that didn't expect anything from her, she found someone that she could 'be herself' without the aid of alcohol.
There are two topics that we have not discussed in regards to Lena and her life. Lena, although grateful for coming through a dark phase in her life, did not consider forgiveness. There are three people Lena needs to forgive. 1) Her parents 2) Her boss 3) Herself
Forgiveness was not apart of Lena's life. She had done what she wanted do, everything that happened in her life was the situation or somebody's else's fault. It was just life and where she was in it, had nothing to do with her actions, according to Lena she she was just reacting. Lena's 12 step program taught her that she had to forgive. She had to forgive her past and those in it. She came to the realisation that the people she had around her at the time could not be classed as friends. That thought was cemented when she went through the termination of her pregnancy alone. Lena did not think for a second that she could call on her parents or siblings during that time. Lena had to forgive the thoughts she had of her parents, she had to forgive her boss and herself.
After a long and deep contemplation Lena knew that forgiveness had to enter her life for the first time. Lena had to forgive her parents. She believed that if her parents had been too lenient with their time or trusting of her. Lena felt that her parents, in essence drove her into the group of friends she hang around with. Her parents drove her to drink and to party for four days at a time. It was her parents' fault that she drunk so hard, causing her to black out and not know how she got home or woke up in strange flats, houses or dorm rooms. Lena was able to live with the 'I blame my parents' for years. Once it's someone else's fault we can comfortably continue engaging in a habit that 'helps' us feel better. Saying 'She made me do it' won't stand up in a court when you are found holding the missing item or sitting in the drivers seat! Lena learnt that the choices that were made to spend money on friends whilst she had a good time, were her own. To top it all, her father told her that she use their money to do it. Lena tried to make her father understand that it was their fault for not being around when she returned from her after school clubs or even there to take her to the clubs. From her parents perspective, they had raised two boys who made their way to and from most of the same clubs without incident. The boys preferred not to have their parents escort them. They assumed it would be the same for Lena. Lena was made to understand that she had made certain choices and she should own them. Lena began to consider the concept of being to blame for every action she took, a hard pill to swallow. Over the course of two months Lena began to realise that she had made most of the choices of her life, and had the means to execute any plan she devised. From a teenager right into adulthood, doing what she wanted when she wanted, became the norm.
Lena began to question herself and her beliefs, regarding her life, she wondered, how could or would her parents purposely give her money to buy and consume alcohol? Why would her parents leave her to her own devises if they knew she needed or wanted their company?
Through asking herself these questions. Lena knew she had to 1) Come to terms that her parents were not to blame and to forgive the notions she had for thinking those thoughts. Lena had to rid herself of laying blame at her parents' door. She had to let her parents off the hock. They were not to blame. Lena had to forgive them for their short comings (in her eyes) The minute Lena come to the realisation that the choices made in her life were her own. Lena's relationship with her parents become stronger. Lena blamed her excessive drinking on her bully boss. Again Lena's choice to stay in a job that ill-treated her, caused an increase of the negative feelings directed at her self. Lena's choice to remain in her job, showed her boss and the universe that the way she was being treated was acceptable. Lena did not have financial issues so money was not an issue to keep her at her going back week after week. Lena felt stuck as she felt she 'should be working'. In Lena's mind, to progress in the accounting world, one had to belong to a large accounting firm. After much thought she noticed that there where actually other accounting firms out there and she could have moved on. There is a quote I have seen on social media that states, 'if you need to leave, you can, you are not a tree' She wondered why she stayed there so long. Lena had to forgive her boss, she began to consider her boss's private life, she wondered why her boss was so angry all the time and wondered what could have made her so sad and sh***y to her staff. Lena wondered if her boss had children or a partner and if they too endured her wrath, or was that saved for the people she worked with? Maybe her boss had a demanding boss and this was the reason she had put pressure on her. Lena realised that it was her own issues and beliefs that kept her at her place of work. She thought about the nights she sat alone drinking away the names her boss called her and the thoughts of the work load she was given. Lena drunk to get her to sleep and the hair of the dog (a hangover cure, which is more alcohol) to get her through her door in the mornings and into work. Lena had to forgive her boss for all that was said to her, all she had done to her and every bad thought Lena had regarding her boss.
Lena had to learn to unconditionally forgive her self. This is the unconditional forgiveness Thomas G. Fiffer talks about in his April 2018 article, he states that this is the best type of forgiveness as it leaves you free to get on with your life, much quicker than any other type of forgiveness. Lena had to forgive herself for blaming her parents as she was the driver of her life....She had to forgive herself for internalising the words and behaviour of her boss. She had to forgive herself for all damage she may have inflicted on her body. She had to forgive her self for the beating she gave herself every year on a certain date. Lena also needed to remind herself that she, like her parents did the best they could given their thoughts on the situation at the time. Lena was ready for the healing process as it felt so much more comfortable although painful, than what she had been going through alone up until now.
Lena was born into a loving family, she did well at school, college and university, she didn't battle with most of the woes, others struggle with....A broken home, financial difficulties, physical, mental or sexual abuse. Lena controlled her own life, she controlled where she went,what she did and didn't do. Lena went in search of comfort, which she found in all the wrong places. Lena made her own decisions about her life. Many of us do not have that privilege and our life is dictated by those around us. for example parents, peers, siblings, spouses, children, culture, community I could go on....This was not the case for Lena, she lived in a 'Lena World' in which she got to dictate what happened when it happened, plus she had the money to make it happen. Lena had very low lows and very high highs, she seemed to hit some type of equilibrium after she spent time with her family and told them about the life she had been living. Like most families, there are things you know about, things you get to hear about and things no one mentions....Lena told her father about her hidden past, and felt free in-order to move on, get a job where she had always felt comfortable, start a hobby, be a part of her nieces life and met someone who adored her. Lena's life gave us an opportunity to work though some of our insecurities. Though her experiences we were able to question our life.
Lena's life allowed us to ask the question - Where do our feet take us. Her feet took her to a place where she spent at least 40 hours a week, every week being treated like s***. The exercise she gained by walking to work did not off set the damage caused by the negativity she endured and the product (Alcohol) she used to console herself.
We looked at Social media and felt that Lena's social and personal, or should I say lonely life, would have been splashed over the world Wide Web for all to see. We felt that Lena's social life would be viewed as a party girl, fun loving, the type of person you would like to be around on a night out. We believed that in private Lena's life she would be portrayed as sad and suicidal at times. We looked at the burden Lena shouldered and what she left behind her. When we followed her journey from realising that she was pregnant through to the pain of having a 'termination' all alone. Lena, at that point had not learnt how to deal with this part of her life, as she reminisced every year with a drunken ritual. It was the upcoming anniversary with its commemorative ritual that became the catalyst for Lena to turn her life around, as we saw her siting in the dark drinking after yet another bad day at work.
Lena's story allowed us to look at blame, who we blamed for our actions. 'she made me do it' doesn't wash when you're the one holding the missing item. We saw that the bible also has its blame story in Genesis 3:12-13 The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Most of us walk around our adult life with issues we can and should address, like my flying issues, I was blaming my mother for my fear of flying instead of doing something about it. Lena's life should have alerted us to the fact that our parents did the best they could, given their situation at the time. Her life showed us the benefits of taking control of what we listen to, whether this was put downs, negative voices in our head or positive sounds, like music, other peoples' stories which you'll find, tend to be worst than your own. In Lena's quest to change, she felt free to indulge in a 'little me time', having loved to dance, she had enrolled at a local gym, where she could attend dance classes. Lena began to engage in noise and sounds that served her.
Lena had been abusing alcohol for twenty years, she had been somewhat alone for twenty years. For someone who lived following her own agenda , it surprised many why Lena had allowed her boss to treat her so bad for so long, or how she allowed alcohol to dictate to her. My thoughts on the matter...As Alcohol and Lena's Bully Boss where the only, constant authority figure in her life, she succumb to their negative influences. Remember she realised that her parents were a 'soft touch' a long time ago..But Alcohol had a strong and constant role in her life....She had been going to Alcohol for twenty years as its role was, to make her feel better. She felt that she had to do as they said....Alcohol said , 'you can relay on me, I'll always be here when you need me....' The other Authoritative figure in Lena's life was her boss.....She said 'Get in at 8.30am, have lunch at 12.45 leave at 4.45pm' As Lena saw her boss as in charge of her career growth, she felt that the verbal abuse was part and parcel of getting ahead, so she stayed.
Lena had been living life on a schedule albeit her own for twenty years. Lena actually welcomed the fact that she, in the first instance, was free, free of the call of the Wine bottle, free from the sound of the alarm clock and the instant head ache that proceeded it. She was free from the onslaught of her boss's words and behaviour.
She engaged in a safe regime of getting up when she opened her eyes....Meditating, showering, eating and going to her dance class. Lena would then attend one or sometimes two AA meetings a day...She enjoyed the company of her group members. Lena spent more time with her parents who you may remember only lived ten minutes away from her, Lena's relationship with them went from strength to strength. She also found or should I say gained a sister and a (real friend) in her brothers wife, and would meet up at least three times a week. Lena's life had opened up like a flower, she was in full bloom. Lena's brother had a beautiful baby girl who he named Lena-Louise after his sister and Mother... They were both ecstatic. Lena learnt to live one day at a time, moving slowly to her destination of happy.
If you have enjoyed my blog and would like to contribute to its continued help and guidance to others, please donate. All donations gratefully received and appreciated.