Kenneth Price

I had been trying to forgive my parents for 25 years. And, when I was unsuccessful, I lied, and I told others that I had forgiven them. Since I was not honest, I drank and used drugs. Since alcohol and drugs generate guilt, I had low self esteme. I would go over the story in my head every day. And, since I “should” have “let it go” I was ashamed and did not tell anyone my secret. So, instead of ruminating, I told jokes and became funny. No matter how hard I tried to stay sober, I failed. And I got angry because everyone else in aa had forgiven their parents while I was stuck. I tried to forgive, and the harder I tried, the more I drank. I was trying to do the “right” thing and it kept producing the “wrong” results.

And then, soon, I stopped being funny anymore. Now I was always angry. But, of course, I had a good reason to be angry. I had been wronged. My mother was a narcissistic alcoholic who projected her guilt. I was neglected and molested. And when my closeted father was not absent he was tyrannical and abusive. He hated his own parents and wanted to make sure his sensitive little boy did not turn out to be a pansy homosexual. One day, when I was 18, while they were busy arguing, I left. Nobody really noticed much. “I WAS NEVER GOING TO BE LIKE THEM” Then my grandfather died and I came out of the closet and my father got jealous. He tried to steal my inheritance so I yelled at him which hurt his pride so he retaliated with blackmail. I took him to court and he disowned me and lied to everyone. I turned into the black sheep. THAT WAS NOT FAIR! How could a disowned black sheep get revenge now? That pissed me off even more.

Since I could not be perpetrator I became victim and told my story to anyone who would listen. Then, as the years passed, others grew tired of my story. Since I was not able to forgive, I made new friend who would listen for a while and until they grew tired also. Since I had no intimacy, I became lonley and drank more until I was more dysfunctional than my own parents. Now I was trying to forgive them and myself also for having turned out to be even worse then them. Compulsions and distractions worked for a while. But, when the escapes wore off, the anger returned. It was hopeless. And my psychiatrist agreed, I had a textbook case of PTSD.

Then my parents died, and now I was blaming dead people for my problems. So, one day, I finally gave up trying to forgive them. It was hopeless. I was never going to succeed. I bought a book called the “Final Exit” and went shopping for helium. I did not have the courage, so I got loaded instead(again) Thats when it happened. In one flash, it came clear. Since I wanted to die, spirit granted my wish that night. I died! But since I was still breathing, something was askew. Thats when I had the flashback. I saw my life in one instant, and the tragedy of my story. It had all been a giant drama on stage. It was not death, although the curtain did go down. It was only the end of act 1. And, since it was a stage in a theatre, I was able to walk back out on for a curtain call. After my first bow, I looked into the audiance, and I saw my parents, my mother and father. They were in the front row, and they were applauding. This made no sense at first, and then it did. Mom and Dad were only acting. And, since they were only acting, they were playing roles. They were the perpetrators and I was the victim (or was it the other way around?) Thats when I had my shift. And, for the first time in my entire using career, I wanted to get sober. For the first time, I really wanted to live.

To make it simple, My parents had never done anything to me. They had done all of those things for me. They were hired by the director because a good drama will not sell tickets unless it has a good perpetrator and a good victim. This was also a comedy, which the critics loved! When this became clear, and the play ended, I no longer had to play my role any more. Thats when my parents left their seats, got up on stage, and all three of us gave standing ovation. Its all true, except for the part about the play. That is just a metaphor I use to describe the way I see it all now. I was trying all of those years to forgive my parents for what they had done “wrong.” It did not work because I was still living with the belief that something was not right. Everything was perfect.

Today I see. But, since this was only a play, and since we were only actors, they had been hired by the director to do those things to me so I could entertain everyone else with this wonderful story. For the first time today I want to be sober. Today I want to live. And, the lights are about to go down, which means its time go go back on stage and begin scene 2 of this drama. Instead of a comic tragedy, the next scene is going to be a romance!