The Haunted Heaven: Chapter Seven: Dark Preludes To Rebirth
By Michael Moriarty
Are there visible signs of another human being’s confrontation with ultimate despair?
Your own mother’s?
Hmmm … from the inner paradise I live in now, it is not only difficult to recall those days but almost incomprehensible to me.
However, recalling my own drunken days … well … hmmn … thanatos, the love of death … crept into my soul at times … but, I must say, a slow suicide from drinking is, indeed, very slow and, in the end, ultimately boring for the central figure and infuriating to his or her audience.
My mother’s suicide attempt happened even before I had left her; and before she came up with the label she pinned on me: Judas!
I realize now that the entire, pro-abortion, Feminist Movement would call me Judas.
That’s perhaps the reason I was trained early to expect it, be prepared and know the eternal victim’s psychology behind it. That alcoholic’s role was played out by my mother to all the possible extremes.
Thank God for Alcoholics Anonymous, both for myself and my mother’s victorious struggle for and to sobriety.
If you suffer from it, alcoholism is an obligatory invitation to visit hell.
The greetings at the gates of hell are splendid and more than pleasurable. The euphoria a drink can generate is irresistible to an alcoholic.
The only savior from such an inferno?
“Let go, let God.”
The letting go is your job. God does the rest.
The Devil wants you to take that drink and the only power that can overcome that desire is God’s entrance into your life. You cannot possibly and never will, free yourself from addiction without God’s help.
If anything proves the existence of God, it is Man’s helplessness before his own addictions. The miracle of Man’s liberation is in God’s hands. Not ours.
Of course, it took me ten years in Canada of “on and off the wagon” before the Devil lost this alcoholic’s 15 rounder.
The freedom of abandon and the end of neurosis, anxiety and fear?
It’s all there in a drink.
So is a slow death.
“Since I will have to die anyway, why not go out with a smile on my face?!”
Well, that smile soon turns into a level of depression you’ve never seen before when you face your umpteenth hangover. Not to mention the chaos your drinking has brought into your personal and professional lives.
Then the decision is: do I want to live perpetually tossed back and forth between heaven and hell?
Soon, even the heaven begins to lose its angels and their wings. One bar begins to look like every other bar you’ve been into.
Then you willfully try to quit and fail. That effort by yourself, without any help from anyone or anything, is an early stage of waking up to your problem. A number of those failures will either send you over the cliff or force you to reach out for help.
Then you start drinking alone, all by yourself.
That is when you are closest to the edge of that “cliff”. Then is when you must either make the decision to go back to AA or die.
Enough of those “trips back” and the reality of “letting go, letting God” enters you.
Then when you finally and sincerely return to AA for the help you need, you realize that the other men and women, all alcoholics, can’t help you but God can.
That is the message of AA: only God will pull you out of the alcoholic swamp and only God can keep you out of it.
Why go to AA then?
AA is the profoundest and most unrelenting proof that God does indeed exist. That God is the medicine we all need and all the true medicine I ever required to live the Renaissance life I always dreamed of after visiting Florence, Italy in 1964.
There are too many success stories in AA, more than any other system of treatment for addiction.
You will come to hate the meetings … but you will go anyway.
If you want to live, you really have no other choice.
“Keep coming back. It works!”
AA eventually worked for me and it eventually worked for my mother.
However, the price for alcoholism is paid most unfairly by the children of alcoholics.
My sister and I were two of those children … and we both ended up alcoholics.
She and I lost contact with each other over a decade ago. Prior to that, she had already sobered up with AA and I was just starting to drink seriously, knowing full well that it only held a sad and pathetic end for me.
This, however, would be my second flirtation with suicide. Both of them rested on my childhood memories of my mother’s attempted suicide.
“Your mother’s suicide attempt wasn’t sincere”, said my father at the time. “You and your sister were there … and the amount of sleeping pills she took probably couldn’t have killed her.”
Hmmm … this scientist, an alcoholic himself, was, for most of the time, certain about everything.
Who can blame her for being a drunk with a husband like that, a tyrant who always kept her glass filled and her own free will in prison?
I’ve made peace with my mother, largely because I went through the same nightmare of alcoholism and recovery that she did.
As for my father?
He wasn’t there in that bathroom when my sister and I stood in silent horror as our mother stared into the mirror, slowly succumbing to the booze and pills she had taken, mumbling incoherently and then, falling straight backwards toward the bathtub, banging her head on it, she hit the floor.
What could cause such despair?
My father ordering her to have not one, but two abortions!
The other, dictatorial talents he possessed: picking out her clothes and her friends?
They were merely tyrannical, not homicidal.
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and 4Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.