Showing posts with label sacrifice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sacrifice. Show all posts

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Silda by any other name...

Might be me or you. I can't seem to get the face of Silda Wall Spitzer out of my head. (If you haven't read the story then here it is or at least one of many in the last few days.) It was a face that had a great deal of pain on it, standing there in front of the reporters and cameras and next to her husband as he read his resignation. I've read that Mrs. Spitzer is an educated woman, an attorney who gave up her legal career to raise a family. I've read that she is (was?) her husband's confidante and advisor. And now what I'm reading on her face is a great deal of sadness.

Evidently seeing her standing by her husband triggered pain within me: An embarrassment underneath a stoic face during some of those WTF moments that happen when you live with an alcoholic. It's the type of feeling that I used to get when I wanted desperately for things to be okay at home and tried to put on a brave face to the world. It's a feeling of fakery and dishonesty. It's a sick, sad feeling.

I was well aware of my own role as "victim" sliding into my thinking when I saw Silda Wall Spitzer. I wanted to hug her and tell her that she was brave to be there. And I also wanted to say that when all was said and done, I hoped that she would do what she needed to do to take care of herself. In the end, I hope that Silda keeps the focus on herself and stands up for herself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Did things change?

I guess that everyone remembers what they were doing on September 11 2001. I had taken my mother for an ECT treatment for her depression and was sitting in the family lounge at the hospital when the TV announced that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Then the second plane flew in and the rest is history, as they say.

I didn't know the repercussions of what had happened and how far reaching the aftermath would be, but I felt a sick feeling that this act would bring about a war, more bloodshed, and perhaps threaten the world as no other conflict had. Some of my earliest thoughts weren't off the mark. We have a war, we have more bloodshed. Although our world continues to revolve around the sun, I feel restless about the well-being of this country and the state of the world in general. I fear that the bully-pulpit and self-interest greed of our nation is going to have dire consequences for years to come. Maybe it's my feeling of powerlessness, but I don't want to see more tributes and events on the news. I don't want to hear more about the "Axis of Evil" or how everyone is a potential "terrorist". I don't have much faith in the current administration and have become much more skeptical about the individuals who are entrusted with running the government.

Because of 9/11, I fear that we are more likely to have our civil rights violated by the government; we are less likely to have needed social services, adequate health care, and good education because of the continuing war. What we are more likely to have are erosions to Constitutional rights because of the endless "war on terrorism"; and we are more likely to witness environmental degradation because the focus is on having a capitalistic society.

I was hoping that the tragedy of 9/11 would be the kind of wakeup call to this country that would bring about something positive in the world. That we would be looked upon with respect because we had learned to take care of each other here so that people would be better educated, have better health care, housing, and a feeling of connection to the other nations in the world.

I think that the real tragedy these years after 9/11 is that we haven't learned real lessons about the rest of the world and how to take the best of this country and use it to the benefit of other nations. President Kennedy, in his speech inaugurating the Peace Corps, said something like: "Those who have so much will not be able to keep it if they are unwilling to share with those who have so little." In other words, we have to give it away, in order to keep it.

Genuine, national self examination would be a tribute to those who tragically died on 9/11. Perhaps we could prevent similar horrors in the future.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Last night I read some in the book Lois Remembers which tells the story of Lois W., co-founder of Al-Anon. In this book she chronicles her life before and after getting married to Bill W. co-founder of AA. I am only part way through the book but can only wonder at the stamina of this woman and all that she sacrificed in her life. One of the more telling passages for me was her statement on pg. 78, "The problem is not about my life, of course, for probably the suffering is doing me good, but about his--the frightful harm this resolving and breaking down, resolving and breaking down again, must be doing to him......."
"I'm afraid I have always been and still am too foolishly idealistic and sentimental. I had hoped Bill's love for me would cause him to stop drinking. For I know that he loves me --but perhaps that is not enough. "

When I read this, I can only think what the anxiety level must have been in this woman. If ever there was a person who needed to practice Step One, she was it. However, without her terrible sacrifice of herself there wouldn't be an Al-Anon and perhaps things would have turned out much differently for Bill W as well. Reading this book points out over and over that the people who love alcoholics have to take care of themselves. Yet, when you love someone as deeply as Lois W. did , it seems almost that detachment could only occur through physically tearing yourself away from the other person. Lois tried that but Bill W. would return to his bottle after she returned. It was only through his spiritual awakening that he was able to quit the bottle, yet he continued in other behaviors and character defects that seem equally as difficult to accept. It seems that Lois W. was determined to sacrifice herself at any cost.

I think that perhaps her attitude reflected that of the times. She stuck by her man regardless or perhaps she was obsessed with Bill. Maybe that will be revealed as I read further in the book. In these more modern times and through programs like Al-Anon and AA, we are able to learn how not to wear ourselves down to the point that we give up everything for another. We learn to take care of ourselves. Her writing practically screams at me that detachment and self-focus have got to take precedent when dealing with the alcoholic.