The truth is, no one knew everything that was going on with me. I only told people bits and pieces – whatever I felt I could trust them with, or whatever I felt they could handle without judging me. But… no one knew everything.
Before I finish the Seattle story, I’d like to let you in on a peek of what life was like for me prior to moving out and living on my own. There were strong beliefs I had learned from my parents, Christian schooling and church. It is important you know these things to fully understand the rest of this story.
- Dating relationships were very much discouraged, especially by my Mother. Her desire was to protect me. I don’t question that. But…there wasn’t a lot of conversation about relationships other than, “I want you to wait to date so you don’t get distracted.” She knew how crazy I was about boys and knew I would easily get distracted to the point that school studies would slide down my list of priorities. In her ideal world, I would have waited until after graduating college to have any sort of romantic relationship. In addition to this, there were strict rules involving my interactions with the opposite gender. Even at the age of 22, when I lived at home, boys were not allowed to step foot in my bedroom.
- Financially speaking, I was taught it was important to pay cash for whatever I purchased. If one DID have a credit card, it is expected that person would pay it off every month. You never allow the balance to accumulate. That is stupid and irresponsible.
- Drinking was okay if you were of age, but it was not good to get drunk. My parents may have had a drink on occasion, I don’t really know. I don’t remember seeing alcohol ever in our house unless there was a bottle of wine for a holiday.
- I had a lot of pressure on me – perhaps because I was the first born – to perform well. I felt like it was not okay for me to screw up. I learned that I would rather not tell my parents the whole truth, than to experience their disappointment in me.
- In my circle of friends at work, I was one of the ringleaders. I was a “go to” person on the social livelihood of our clan. If someone wanted to know what the plans were for the night, they’d ask me. And my home was something I had proudly converted into a fun party atmosphere.
So now… Seattle. Last week I shared that I was supposed to travel from Seattle to Florida to visit friends. But I knew I couldn’t do this. I felt too weak in that moment to return to my life and merely try to be a better person.
The night I sat with Halsey on her bed, I made her a promise. I promised I would give up alcohol for one entire year. I’m sure some people reading this are thinking, “What’s the big deal Alana? It’s just alcohol.” Yeah, maybe for you. But for me, this was my social life, my pain killer and my drug. Imagine making the decision to give up your “vice” for one whole year. It was an extreme promise. But my commitment to change did not end there.
The day I should have left for Florida, I got the big idea to go home to my parents and tell them I had been drinking a lot more than I first let on. I would confess this and then tell them I gave up drinking for a year. It would be hard to do, but feasible. Then came to mind, all the guys I had messed around with. I was still a virgin in the technical sense of intercourse, but beyond that, I had done many things I was not proud of. There was a nudging inside me to share this with my parents as well. Then I remembered the $16,000.00 credit card debt I had been hiding! EEK! What is going on! WHY am I remembering all the crap I have done now… now that I decided it was time to unload my guilt and start a fresh life – free of all these secrets. I had a nervous excitement about returning to MI.
I was about to expose the real me… to my parents. The two people I wanted to please most and never let down.
It came time for me to leave Seattle. In a sense, I felt like I would be traveling home to my death. I know, I’m being really dramatic – but “social” was my life and the decision to go home and expose ALL had high potential to kill everything.
Stop by next Thursday to hear the end of this story.