I remember when the drinking first started. I was in thrid grade and we lived in Huntington Beach. At the time I didn't really think much of it... most of the moms on the block got together in the afternoon and had a beer or two before we all came home from work. I get that now - I can understand why you would need a beer before we came home - simply to keep your sanity. At least that is how I think it started.
Then in Libya that is what people did... they made beer and wine and drank. I think it was a way to deal with the world we were living in. A way to deal with the idea that the four of us would stand in separate lines hoping to be able to purchase a pound of ground beef. Of your having to wear low cut shirts to get what we needed in order to live another day. Even though Libya was hard I wouldn't give it up for a moment; but I think the drinking increased there. It gave you a way to escape the reality. I get that now, when I need to escape my reality as there are times it is so overwhelming... sometimes it takes a conscious choice not to pick up a drink; takes self control; takes keeping busy so I don't have time to stop and think to contemplate things too deeply.
Then when we moved to Wisconsin is when I believe you got sick. They (the researchers of the world) say it takes a major life event to kick in bipolar - we had some major events - leaving Libya, adjusting to American life, and Grandma passing away - watching her pass away with all the treatments and doctor appointments. Your drinking got worse as you were unable to deal with the highs and lows of your disease and you were misdiagnosed as an alcoholic while you were actually self medicating the bipolar... but of course that wasn't in the current DSM so no one knew what it was at the time.
Rob self medicates. I choose to take meds, but sometimes when they don't do what I need them to do there are times when I think "I could so easily become the alcoholic I grew up with." You see Mom it was never really your fault you just wanted peace and didn't find it. You wanted your mind to stop and be quiet and it wouldn't.
I remember your sleeping until 11 almost every morning and I thought it was just due to the alcohol; when in fact it had to do with your disease as most people with bipolar have issues with sleep. Up at all hours... I get it now. In order for you to sleep you drank. I write, I think, I read, I pace. Rob drinks... we all deal with the disease in different ways.
As I look back at your life so many things that i thought were uncontrolled choices based on your part were really things way beyond your control. I didn't know it then and I don't think you knew it either. So I just want you to know that I understand, I get it, I forgive it all so that now I can move on... you may have not needed to know that, but I did. I needed to it so that I could understand me.