Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dad drinks rub alcohol and daughter goes mad in memoirs

The holidays over, Doc is still quite sick, unable to drink his usual OJ and vodka but he warns in this video he is probably not through drinking yet, thus revealing how hard the alcohol habit is to break once it has a firm grip on the drinker. I grew up with a heavily addicted father, and am having a very tough time getting back to writing about the dark days of his heaviest years of drinking and near death experiences. For one thing the Mormon Church, so dominant in Utah, wants the world to think that alcoholism has been virtually banished in Utah because of the church's strong word of wisdom against drinking among active members. It is true that the Mormon Church has a good record of sobriety among its members but there are many 'Jack Mormons' like my father was who are addicted and whose family members do not get even ordinary support as afforded in other states not claiming such perfection as Utah does. After all the Mormon Church proselytizes all over the world that nobody can even enter heaven who isn't a Mormon, so their claims to grandeur seem a little mad also.
It is no wonder religion gets made fun of by some members of our society. It seems almost impossible for members of a church to put aside doctrine that does not pass the test of logic. So you end up fighting the church as I did for years and years, as well as your dad's alcoholism.
I was taken out of that home when I was thirteen because of a perceived nervous breakdown and sent to the home of an aunt who seemed to think the solution was to require me to attend some form of church nearly every day of the week as the conditions for living in her home. I really felt like the poor pathetic young relative who had to be reprogrammed in the Mormon way to get back on the right path. You would think I was the one who had strayed, but I had been raised by her brother who was known to be a skeptic and had long since stopped attending church on a regular basis. I have just now dared to speak up against the policies of that aunt. Up to then I was expected to be so totally grateful for what was done for me I didn't dare breathe a word of criticism about her bossy ways for over 50 years.
So like the rebellious teen I was I decided I had to get away from there which infuriated her so much she hardly spoke to me again. I had some relatives on my mother's side who were extremely religious, who I soon learned to avoid also. But in Salt Lake I managed to make my exit from the Mormon Church because I found out the Great Grandmother I was sent to live with and look after for my board and room didn't care a fig about church and preferred to stay home on Sunday and play Rook! I was so relieved as I had expected to be dragged to a lot of meetings down there, too, which would have happened had I lived with my Grandmother Wilson. She was very religious and my mother always complained that she would not listen to her tales of living with an alcoholic drunk. She would always point out to my mother that she had been a rebellious teen who married a bad Mormon and out of the temple against her advice.
I was never allowed to voice any objections to this philosophy to that Grandmother either. I will have to wait to get to the other side before I will be able to say anything to her. She and Grandpa Wilson would come to visit our family and my poor beleaguered mother and would jump up and leave after ten minutes. Grandmother was always so busy with church she had no time for the troubles of her daughter who had not been good enough member to marry in the temple.
I recall after Grandpa Wilson died and was no longer there to 'protect' her, she came to stay to my mother's in a little apartment she offered her. We were all sitting around the kitchen table one day with me trying to introduce the topic that had caused such estrangement between my mother and her mother, alcoholism. My dad immediately took exception to her in particular talking about his drinking and shouted, "You are a god damned liar!" He wasn't even drunk but he had not recovered from the way he spoke to people in the family who objected to his behavior. Grandma looked so totally shocked I almost had to laugh.
I feared that she called her religious daughter that night and told her she needed to be taken away from this horrible man. We had put up with him for years and years by then, but my poor grandmother had been so sheltered and protected from alcoholics that she was not even able to stand what my terrible dad said to her. She just was not nearly as tough as my mother had had to be. She did not even seem to realize that my mother was totally estranged from her and thought she had never supported her or cared about all the horrible scenes she had had to live through raising five daughters while married to a drunk, a prosperous drunk it is true, but still a drunk. My dad was like Doc, he was a very smart guy who managed to make a great deal of money when he was sober. And the less he drank the more he made.
I, on the other hand, thought my grandmother did not realize how her mind had been altered by living in a cult for so many years. She was raised in polygamy and was the daughter of the third wife. Her father got to ailing with all the wives and children he had to earn a living for and gave up the ghost in his fifties and her poor mother lived at poverty level for many years. When polygamy was outlawed in Utah both as a territory and state, there was nothing they could do but comply with the law even though Utah continued to harbor polygamists who had branched off saying they would never give up polygamy and became known as the FLDS.
My mother married the best prospect available to her, the smartest most capable guy she knew in that country, but she did not realize what his drinking entailed. Mother was in rebellion against Mormonism at the time and never really returned to the church. In fact, after living with my father 35 years, she divorced him and married another alcoholic. She said he was 'fun' so like me she found even an alcoholic who was fun preferable to a religious sober guy who was not 'fun.'
Mother clashed with her own dad something terrible as she thought that he had continued on with polygamous ways with affairs with women that were not sanctified by marriage which her mother put up without divorcing him probably because she was too afraid of his bad temper to accuse him. Plus she was from compliant stock who could tolerate polygamy so tolerated the infidelity of a husband, too.
That polygamy was terrible to live in, I thought, no matter how hard all the women prayed to be able to accept the new wives their old husbands were always marrying.
My mother thought my dad was not a stepper so failed to see that he had gotten into homosexual activities as well as drinking so was unfaithful to her with men rather than women. What a mess!
Homosexual activities were even harder to talk about than alcoholism in Mormon Utah, so I did not ever dare tell my mother that is what I thought my dad was into. She had such a temper I feared she would try to kill him, and would succeed or more likely he would fight back and kill her.
I am sure most of this is not going to get talked about on this side, since I am 78 and have been able to talk about very little of it, so will have to be dealt with on the other side. You can see why I believe in a hereafter because there are so many problems still to be dealt with. I will be lucky if I can return to these memoirs and get any kind of story told, as many obstacles as I am facing.
I will try to access my mother on the other side and see if she has made any progress talking about her life with her mother and dad yet. I never talked to either one of them about anything significant in my life. I did get a little of their history asked about. I found out my grandfather still hated his dad for giving him savage beatings until he was 18. I hope he has found him and told him how he resented that. All these bad tempered ancestors must be dealt with. My dad's dad used to take a bull whip to him when he was 30 years old. I hope somebody has tackled him he was such an old terror. I have called my dad Ghengis Khan before.


Missie said...

Sorry I haven't left a lot of comments. The past week has been really busy leaving me little computer time.

Have a good rest of your week.

Amrita said...

I am not Mormon, & have no connections with Utah, but I heartily suport you in telling the truth and hard facts about this ugly addiction. Its a disease Mormons and non Mormons are struck with - an epidemic.. I aplaud you for not sweeping it under the carpet or ignoring it. You are a brave woman.
I am so sad to read about all the horrible experiences you had while growing up Gerry.
But you turned out good.

Sorry Doc 's not well.


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