I love watching the show “Intervention”. I was a “good” kid growing up and was never once tempted to try drugs or abuse alcohol. David says that if I were a super hero my super power would be an immunity to peer pressure. Indeed I have a sort of impervious attitude against what other people think of me. You combine that quality with the fact that I hate feeling “out of control” and you can understand why drugs and alcohol never held an allure for me. That makes “Intervention” fascinating to me. Why? Why do people do this to themselves? Why do they consciously choose to escape their own reality? But since becoming a mother the real underlying reason I watch is to answer the question, “could that be my kid?” I have this unquenchable desire to understand why people start drugs. What drives them to that choice? What could their parents or family done differently? How can I create an environment that shields my children from that same life choice?
Within the last month David and I have received the news that four of our friends are starting or finishing divorce proceedings. These are friends for whom we stood at their weddings. We bought presents, attended parties, wished them well and shared in their joy of marital happiness. We all started at the same gate with presents and dresses and ceremonies of one kind or another but we won’t all finish. The same fear and curiosity that drives me to watch “Intervention” makes me obsess over my friends’ divorces. What went wrong? How did two seemingly happy people grow apart? How did they end up hating each other? What happened? But the most important question is “am I next”?
It’s weird how we all get married, have kids, start careers and the tracks of our lives seem to run smoothly and parallel. Oh, we get busy and perhaps we don’t spend as much time together but we assume that our life experiences remain similar. Until one day you find out your friend’s life has taken a major detour and you never saw it coming. I’m not angry at my friends or even disappointed. I am sad. I am sad for them and fearful for myself.
Inevitably while watching “Intervention” it will come out that during this person’s past something traumatic happened. They were abused, molested, neglected, etc, etc. Some life-altering event happened that started this person’s downward spiral into drugs and alcohol. It is always easy to identify and point to the source of this person’s addiction and bad choices. But with divorce, there is no clear reason. Even an affair is not the reason for the divorce the problem started long before the affair. How do any of us know if we are doing the right thing? How can I avoid this happening in my own marriage? Overall I think David and I have a good marriage. We talk, we hang out, we care, we’re respectful, but didn’t everybody start off like that? When does talking and loving dissolve into resentment and distaste?
I wish I could fast forward to the part of the show where they tell me if the person stayed sober or fell off the wagon. I’m always hoping for a happy ending and perhaps the idea of divorce really messes with my desire for life to have neatly squared off corners.
6 thoughts on “The D-Word”
Very profound blog, Beth. Love your writings.
Growing up as a good kid, this topic interests me as well. I realize now that as a “good kid” I fell into the trap of pride and self-righteousness and is something I still struggle with. Great topic.
Eric: you are so right. I think when I was younger it seemed so easy to be “good” and I was dumbfounded by those that were led astray. However, as I get older I realize that just because that particular sin did not tempt me others do. And I’m no better than those who might have been classified as “bad” kids.
Addiction is crazy. I don’t think it happens, for everyone from some crazy traumatic event. I don’t think it can be classified into good kids or bad kids.
It can happen for reasons as simple as someone saying something to you in passing that drives you to do something reckless or just starts you on a downward path that leads to addiction. I’m addicted to food – I mean that in all seriousness and it started it out slow and it happened from hearing things from certain people in my life along the way. No one intended for me to be plus size – I certainly didn’t but I am and it is something I’m not proud of but it is something I have come to terms with. Anyway, outside of refraining from physically and emotionally abusing your kids, there’s really not much you can do but be the best parent you know how to be and pray for your kids.
Now as far as the d-word, I think, at least for me, that its about realizing that yes its a reality and it happens to the best and worst of us. But making your marriage/friendship/partnership a priority will keep this word from having power in your life.
I didn’t really edit this so sorry for the grammatical and spelling errors. 😀
Many of the same character traits that made you a “good kid” also make you a “good adult” and that is why the other “D” word will never apply to your marriage! You both made a commitment. Remember that marriage is about the journey. Now you will experience the highs and lows of life together. You’ll do life together – growing, learning, living and loving together. Along the way, you’ll produce some more “good kids” who will grow up strong and capable because they are secure in their parents’ love for each other and for them.
Spoiler Alert: we’re never ever ever never going to get a divorce.