Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Possible Parolee?

“George might be eligible for parole in October!” Florene told me over the phone very animatedly and excitedly tonight. “I talked to him on the phone late this afternoon.  He said he is going to have to wear an alcohol monitoring device for months, though.  Possibly a year.”

“How did he feel about that?” I asked excited, but worried about my friends tendency to drink without thought.  The urge to drink can be all encompassing for an alcoholic at times. 

“He said he was willing to do anything to get out of jail,” she told me. “He promised me.  He said he would gladly give up drinking for his freedom. Andrew, he sounds so miserable!”

I can only hope my dear best friend gets home before Christmas.  October would be a boon. If George doesn’t drink and keeps his freedom then I vow not to drink as well in support when he gets home for as long as his monitoring device is on.  

George’s letters have been so morose and pessimistic lately.  He is absolutely miserable in jail as Florene had said on the phone. He says it is a horrible place.  He says he is constantly scared for his life.  A lot of guys fight and get hurt.  Prison gangs are prevalent.  I can only imagine.  I was in jail for five days one time with a broken arm and shoulder after a DUI related accident and it was absolutely horrific. I can’t imagine being there for months on end. 

Florene spoke of going to visit him soon.  George’s cousin Monte is going to drive Mrs. Florene’s car and I am going to tag along if I can get off of work that day.  The prison in Atmore is a very long drive – just miles from the Gulf Coast.  It will be an all day trip.  I would drive Mrs. Florene if I thought I could make it.  It will probably take five hours to drive to the prison. I’ve driven to Atmore many times when I worked for the University.  I’ve also passed that very same prison many times as well.  It is right on the main highway near the Creek Indian reservation. 

The Talk…

I hesitate to write about this as I don’t want to put my father in a bad light, but dad and I talked for a short while on the phone last night. I almost didn’t answer the phone, but one commenter had said he would think I was drinking when I didn’t answer and they were right.  He told me he was disgusted with me for doing that to him without asking – me returning to work and taking a job.  He said he wasn’t going to worry too much, though, as I would get too drunk to work when I got paid and would lose my job.  I calmly told him I was determined to work and I was going to surprise him about what he just said.  I wasn’t going to lose my job to drinking.    

“You’re not going to be able to work!” he then hollered at me over the phone very loudly and excitedly.  “You need to tell them you have a mental illness and that you have to quit.  Tell them that you tried, but you’re just not able to work a job.  You are sick!”

I didn’t say much.  I just listened.  I felt so terrible.  I felt horrible.  I felt like I had just pissed on a crucifix.  A lot of self doubt started to creep in. I absolutely hate upsetting my father.  I am terribly very scared of him.  He controls so much of my life and my well being. 

“You’re going to get in a mess and I might not be able to bail you out this time,” he told me. “Your going to lose your disability and your prescription drug coverage and live the rest of your life just crazy as nuts without medications.  Your medications cost $1300 dollars a month and I nor the pharmacy can afford to subsidize that!”

“You really need to be put in a home for the mentally incompetent,” he then said now with a calmer voice almost trying to plead with me as if he was trying to get me to agree to go. He will often threaten me with this when I am not doing well mentally.  “You can’t take care of yourself or make rational decisions.  Your crazy, son!  Don’t you know that?”

“I am not crazy!” I exclaimed growing angry at being told that. “I am tired of everybody in the family telling me that! I’ve been labeled!”

“There’s going to be conditions to you returning to work if you insist on doing this,” he then told me assertively growing ever calmer and ever calculating. “Your going to have to start paying rent.  The house is still in my name.  And I am tired of paying for your cigarettes!  Your mother is not going to bring you your Monday and Tuesday night meals anymore either.  Your going to have buy your own groceries.”

“I thought the house was part of my inheritance from Memaw?” I asked as one of the only few things I said.  “That’s what you told me when we traded this house with Charlie and I moved in.”

Dad grumbled some and told me we would discuss it further when he got home Thursday night.  He hung up abruptly without any pleasantries.  He was pissed. 

It went as I had expected. No real surprises.  Punishment, threats and coercion. I just didn’t talk much.  I was just too tired to fight after my big day of work yesterday.  I was exhausted.   I just want to be left alone to live my life as I see fit. I swear I wish I was an orphan.  I am not a child, though.  Yes, I’ve had a lot of problems in the past, but this doesn’t make me an invalid – a non entity. I have human rights and shouldn’t be treated that way.  I’m not as crazy as dad seems to think I am.  And I can make rational, sane decisions for myself.

Adventures in Yard Care Land…

I cut two yards today for $40 dollars in total in the far west side of my neighborhood.  One man wants me to come back tomorrow and cut down a huge mass of undergrowth on the side of his yard.  It is going to be a very big sweaty exhausting two day job, but he said he will pay me $75 dollars to do it thus allowing me to buy that muffler for my mower.  I am breaking it up into two days as not to overdo things.  Tomorrow and Friday are supposed to be two of our hottest days yet this summer.  I am going to save my two Klonopin to take just before I start work on his yard tomorrow afternoon and the next day as well.  I was very apprehensive about taking this job.  Riding around on a mower is one thing, but saws, clippers, and trimmers are a whole ‘nother matter and I am worried about my heart rate getting up and having a severe anxiety attack. I fear those things more than anything else in the world.  Even my father.  I am going to face my fears and try, though.  $75 more dollars would be so nice to have! The worst thing that can happen is that I can’t do it and won’t get paid. I will just have to go sit in my cool car until I calm down and then drive home. I am also going to use the $40 dollars from today to drive down to Best Buy Saturday and buy that camera part to get my camera working again!  That is going to be so exciting!  Get ready for lots of boring photos of Maggie again! LOL


Diana said...

I'm sure that was tough to talk to your father today. If you are telling us how it really went then it sounds as if he is very controlling. I am aware you have been through lots of scenarios with your father getting you out of many a jam....however, if you truly aim to change your ways then your father will come around because he DOES love you. He just needs to trust you and that takes a time. You have to EARN trust. Hang in there. You actually sounded more mentally right today than ever. Working is good for you...idle hands are the devil's workshop ya know. Keep your eye on the prize and you won't go wrong. Best of luck!

glittermom said...

I am sorry to hear the cruel things your father said to you..I believe he is scared and this is his way of controling you to do what he wants..Just stay strong and you can show your father that he is wrong..You may have relapes but you are not crazy..No one should have that label put on them...

This IS The Fun Part! said...

Yep, you're going to have to prove yourself and earn his trust. You do have to admit there have been some screw-ups in the past. Just don't repeat them. Do the best you can to show him that you are truly ready for it this time!

Stay calm, breathe deeply and keep in mind that dad is only human, too. I think he's afraid that you will be disappointed if you find that this is all too much for you.

Love ya,

Sophie said...

I am saddened, though not surprised, by your father's reactions. I understand his fears, and we know he loves you. However, I wish so badly he could be supportive and helpful in guiding you thru this new experience. For you to step out of your comfort zone and go to work, and go again even after his disapproval, is such a big step for you! Keep taking those steps, carefully, slowly, and with thought. Your father has issues of his own, as we all do, and sometimes confuses caretaking and control. An example would be his presence in your counselling sessions with your psychiatrist. I know of no one who would find that acceptible and I'm, surprised the psychiatrist allows it. I also understand why you struggle with your father's control of your medications and money. Given that he has reasons to want to do so, I know he wants to keep you safe and well. If you proceed slowly, you might eventually win him over to see that you can have a much more fulfillling life than he has allowed you thus far. The point is to not go to extremes so that you can keep things on an even keel and continue with your path toward greater independence. I will be cheering you on every step of the way.

Syd said...

I don't know the history with your dad. I have found it helpful when people are encouraging, rather than being negative. Coercion and control are not behaviors that I like. Hang in there. Hope that things go well for you.

C.A. said...

You really got me thinking when you were describing how badly you felt when talking to you father. This has to be horrible for you and I hope that his in person reaction is no worse than what you had to deal with today.

Stay strong, Friend. I believe in you.



PipeTobacco said...


Again a bravo for locating more lawn care work! Doing it over a span of two days sounds like a very logical method of pursuit.

I am also glad to hear the potentially good news for George.

In terms of you and your Father's discussion. It is good that you started your conversation about this over the phone. The phone gave you both a bit of distance to start. Even though it could very likely be much harder to do when you are face-to-face with your father... try to keep in mind the idea of moderation... moderate tones, moderate emotion, moderate and calm descriptions. From the few exchanges you have written about between you and your father before, it seems as if his manner of discussion is typically very passionate, very vocal, and very emotional. You can still behave and respond moderately even with the emotions that may come from his side of the discussion... and I suspect if you are able to engage moderately, you will be very pleased with yourself and pleased with the success of the discussion... because you will not need to feel the extremes of the emotions.

Again, this is just food for thought... I am offering it as a possible method for you to employ... if you do not feel it workable, please ignore the advice.


TheBipolarMom said...

I have other thoughts on this post but I will come back tomorrow. I just wanted to say that I wish I could meet Maggie in person. I actually wrote a sentence about her in my own blog post tonight. She just sounds so awesome. :)

pattycakes said...

sounds like you have had an exhausting couple of days lately , you are stronger than a lot of people . just be careful when george gets out . the temptation to drink with him again could be strong. but so far you are doing very well. if you ever get a panic attack , think of maggie and how excited she is to see you when you get home . she loves you a lot . you wouldnt want to get along with out her. your dad is very scared right now thinking of what could happen . but you handled it very well especially when he got excited and said bad things to you, i know it hurt you but u really handled it well . congrats on doing so well
have a good one :)

pattycakes said...

sounds like you have had an exhausting couple of days lately , you are stronger than a lot of people . just be careful when george gets out . the temptation to drink with him again could be strong. but so far you are doing very well. if you ever get a panic attack , think of maggie and how excited she is to see you when you get home . she loves you a lot . you wouldnt want to get along with out her. your dad is very scared right now thinking of what could happen . but you handled it very well especially when he got excited and said bad things to you, i know it hurt you but u really handled it well . congrats on doing so well
have a good one :)

Sharon said...

I'm sorry that it was so unpleasant with your father, although you were expecting something of the sort. But just think, you asserted yourself calmly and rationally, you've been proving yourself a valuable employee at Walmart, you went to Social Security - on your own - and did the proper reporting. And you've been getting yard work, also on your own. This is a sign of true independence and positive thinking. As much as it's tempting to get on your case about the drinking, I won't do it. Instead I'll encourage you to continue with the work and hope that eventually, as you get busier and more comfortable with your independence, you can set that aside. In the meanwhile, your work ethics are very commendable, be proud of yourself.

Happyone :-) said...

I am sorry that your dad gave you such a hard time about getting a job. I would think he would be proud of you. If you were my son I would be. :-)

doyourememberthattime said...

i am so sorry that your father spoke to you that way. you have the right to make your own decisions, to build the life you want.
i know you can do it.