For this entry, I asked Tim the following questions about choosing alcohol:
What might trigger a binge? And when you were driving to get the alcohol, what was going through your mind? Were you considering the consequences you might face? How much would you usually drink and when/why would you stop? Could you ever just have one drink? If not, what was that craving like? Could you ever control it? Did you want to control it?
Because I am not an alcoholic, I cannot fully understand living in that world. The mental torture...
I have wondered for years about a 'why'. Why was Tim an alcoholic? I'm confused about whether genetics plays a part; Tim's biological father was an alcoholic. Depression runs in our family and I believe that Tim chose to medicate his depression with alcohol. But why?
I will tell you this...My brother is a big manly man. He has never easily shared his feelings. Because of alcohol, I learned early on not to trust him with my feelings. He wasn't able to share his true feelings either. So our relationship through the years has been mostly superficial. Reading the words of this most recent letter, hearing his voice in my mind, was tough. This is the first time he has ever shared the 'why'.
I cried. For the lost little boy. For the hurting man living the rest of his life in prison; tortured by his past.
I am angry. That someone took Tim's life from him. And that Tim allowed his life to be taken from him by continuing to be a victim.
Oct. 1, 2011
Why I chose alcohol
For as long as I can remember I knew my life wasn't right. I was raised in a dysfunctional family, where I developed a negative view of myself and my secret - to cope- by using unhealthy behavior. At a young age I learned not to trust anyone or myself. I stayed quiet most of the time, except for my anger that would lash out. No one in my family could help me. Anger had made it's home in me. It would dwell with me day and night. I was always scared. We moved when I was nine years old. Anger came right along with me. I had my first drink of alcohol at 9 years old. I hated the taste. The effect was good. The past souldn't be found and it went away. Alcohol became a good friend.
What would trigger a binge?
Anyone who would hurt my feelings or treat me bad. I would keep record. Alcohol would protect the past. Keep me from being hurt. I lived in fear of change and although I hated my situation it was a safe place beause it was familiar. Oh how the years would pass by, my mom's words ringing in my head, 'You are a alcoholic just like your dad.' Drinking gave me power! (like the hulk) I became a people pleaser and tried to fit in with the "in crowd". As I grew older I rebelled against my parents. Years went by - girlfriends-marriages-alcohol-getting in trouble. My past was screaming.
Driving to get alcohol and what was going on in my head.
There was a boy crying, saying no. It didn't matter. I had to calm him down. Getting drunk would make his voice go away, sometimes until I would blackout. I would protect him. That was my job.
Why would I stop?
I would stop drinking when I was trying to be the good boyfriend or husband. But when things would get out of control and I wasn't in control, it would start again.
Could I ever have just one drink?
I could never have just one drink. My anger, being scared would never allow me to have one drink. the past always came for me. In everyone I met, I felt they wanted control. I needed to always be in control or it wasn't going to be good. And every person in my life I've hurt because of my drinking. The harder I tried to make alcohol work for me the more miserable people around me became.
Do I want to control it?
I will go beyond of controlling it. I want to stop forever. As much as I tried to protect my past it almost killed me and destroyed everyone around me.
"Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
Have you ever wondered what a seven year old boy remembers. I remember well. In 1973 I went into the neighbors house and my life changed forever. I was 7 years old. And no matter how much I drink I could never protect the past. Thank you Julie for praying for me!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I think it might be difficult to read Tim's writing so from now on I'll by typing out what he has written. I have added some punctuation, but otherwise kept it just as he wrote.
I asked Tim to tell me about his days in prison. I wonder if some people think prison life isn't quite hard enough for inmates. Personally, I cannot imagine the depth of the loneliness.
August 16, 2011
"My days in prison would be like a person bound to their bed. Each day is about the same. I work in the kitchen from 7am to 2pm off on Saturdays. I work on the serving line in one of the 4 chow halls. when I get off work I come back to my living quarters and sit in the dayroom. The dayroom has steel benches in front of 2 tvs and 7 tables with stools. Like a picnic table. They have ins and outs every hour. Ins and outs are when you can go in your cell or come out. The cells have 2 men in them. I sleep on the top bunk. We have a sink & toilet a desk and 2 shelves. They have table games and we have outside rec. We are under constant watch. All the time. Count time is every hour. We all get counted 2 times every count. When I'm not working I take a shower and go to the cell. I read the Bible, write letters, listen to my radio. From 7am to 2pm I'm working. From 2pm to 7pm I'm in the cell taking a nap or reading or just thinking. If you take medicine you have to go the the pill window. That's a pain. They call it over a loud speaker. Everyone gets ready to walk to the pill window. We all have a picture I.D. that we carry on us all the time. The picture ID has a magnet strip on the back ran like a credit card. It will show the pill window lady what pills you take and she will give them to you. We have no A/C here, that would be to much like home! We have a commissary that we go to each week. A copy of the list is enclosed. I have a fan you must have in the summer, a nightlight with a multi plug. A radio with headphones. Hotpot to heat water or heat a meat pack. A pair of rhino boots. To have all these things or to make store is nothing because I'm still in prison. We have a law library for legal work and a regular library for checking out reading books. We don't have computers at all for inmates. Breakfast is at 3am, we get nothing like at home. We get powder milk 'Yuk' - oatmeal or pancakes or both maybe a egg if we are lucky. Lunch starts at 9:45am. They serve chicken or chicken patty, a lot of pasta and veggies. Supper about the same as lunch. The menu is the same 7 days a week. I appreciate most where I'm at for my walk with God. Getting a better foundation in his word and helping other inmates to know Jesus. No drinking and it feels good not to be drunk. I face my feelings sober and when I'm afraid or scared I face my feelings sober which is all new and weird. September 3rd I will have been in this unit for one year. I do hate it every day. There is nothing in this place that has meaning. Nights are hard for me, when sleep comes I never want to wake up. I've often prayed for God to take me in my sleep. When I do wake up I thank God for another day and get up one more time to start my day in prison. I miss my wife everyday. She comes and visits me 3 times a month. Weekends are the visits. We get contact. She smells so good when she comes. We get a 2 hr visit. Life is a gift we all take for granted. Our 2 hour visit is precious to me. We get a picture every month. I should have been dead when I rolled our car because of my drinking. I was by myself, God had a plan for me. We do have church here on Sunday mornings. A plane for my life? My wife and I are working on my case always looking to God. Prison isn't a good place. There is a lot of hate in here. Whites against Blacks. Prison is a different world, a lot of gay men, things God says should never be talked about. I stay to myself a lot. It's better. Oh I have men I talk with but nothing to deep. I've had no problems here. I'm 6'5" and weigh 255. I also have God walking with me. What I hate the most is being away from my wife our home. Prison is hard if you let it. I'm using this time to help me. I'm in AA, I go on Tuesdays from 7pm to 8pm and Thursdays we do work sheets and get involved with the class. I pray to God every day that I don't die in this place. I know if I would have died at my wreck I would have gone to Heaven. I try and keep my mind on God daily and not let worry come in. I will always keep it real when writing to you who read my words. My life isn't over, I've been lost the day I was born. I've made it for 45 years still being on this earth. I'm mad at myself for being here and the pain I've caused my wife and loved ones. I will never like ths place, I will always hate it. Somedays I'm like the wind blowing. It's hard to explain. I lay in the bunk thinking I need to get out of it, but wonder what for. I lay back down and thinnk of my home and cry and I try to sleep. My best time is writing. Writing about my life is cool. I pray I may help someone with something. I will say this life is a bitch and I have traveled down some bad roads in my time and even in prison there are bad roads. And even when I feel like crap most of the time something keeps me going and I want to find that something and get closer to it every day - "Jesus".
Days are hard. God bless you all.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Tim has always been an amazing artist. When he is in prison, he is able to focus on his creativity. Not since we were kids have I seen such wonderful art, besides when he is in prison.
He made this birthday card for me.
He made this birthday card for me.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
In this letter Tim shares some of his favorite memories from childhood. A sweet example of how important grandparents are to children.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
(Your positive feedback is greatly appreciated.)
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Here my brother tells a little about himself. Including being introduced to alcohol by his father (also an alcoholic) at 8 years old. From that moment, Tim's fight with alcohol basically consumed his life.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
I'm including scanned images of Tim's letters...because I've always appreciated his handwriting and perhaps reading his words in his handwriting will seem more real.