The Fighting Alcoholic Meets The Cowardly Lion

Put ’em up, put ’em up! Which one of you first? I’ll fight you both together if you want. I’ll fight you with one paw tied behind my back. I’ll fight you standing on one foot. I’ll fight you with my eyes closed… ohh, pullin’ an axe on me, eh? Sneaking up on me, eh? Why, I’ll… Ruff! says the Cowardly Lion.

The Cowardly Lion, as far as I know, is not an alcoholic but I am. I sometimes sound like him, though. And to be honest, there’s not much I can do about my propensity to fight. I was born a fighter and also, I believe, was born an alcoholic.

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone — even alcohol. ~AA p 84

Really, have I? Or have I been practicing with one hand tied behind my back, looking like I’m at a disadvantage hoping that no one will take the first swing. Well, they did.

I’ve become the target for another alcoholic’s poorly disguised issues. She has decided her life is miserable because of me, or more accurately because of my choices in life.

At first, I thought of really cutting and accurate remarks that I could make to her in my defense and then I surprised myself by realizing that I don’t want to do that. I don’t even want to make a defense for myself to my family that have been hearing all about how bad Heidi is, was, and will be. I care…a little. I especially don’t want my son to believe the worst of me. But so what? He’s heard it all before, I imagine.

So I don’t want to take a swing with both paws at the person who is just itching for a fight and I don’t want to defend myself from the image she’s creating of me. I just want to be sure my son knows he can talk to me about anything, even about how hard it is sometimes to be my son. I console myself by hoping that it’s not as hard as it once was.

I called him. He didn’t answer my call for a day. My fears increased. I eyed my paws again, took a couple of practice jabs at the air. Then on the second day, we talked. I asked him how he was doing. I tried to be subtle and not do any blaming but giving him every chance to tell me if he was frustrated with me. Finally, he said, I’m not as dense as you think, Mom. I can see that she just needs to blame someone and it’s usually you.

Duh! I was assuming my grown son was still clueless but that hasn’t been the case for a very long time. Perhaps it’s me that’s clueless. Clueless about how to survive if I don’t fight. How to help people instead of hurting them by my fighting behavior.

Where I have been putting up a defense and swinging my paws, I will now have the choice to come along-side and try to understand others, even those who take the first jab.

I didn’t see that coming.

Sneaking up on me, eh? ~ Cowardly Lion