8-23-23 Alcoholism - (in my case, IMO, the cause of breast cancer and multiple myeloma)
WARNING: Long and personal -- I am not sorry for being an open book. I am not apologizing for being me anymore. This is my life. And if sharing might help one person reach out for help, then I am just not holding back because of what people might think of me. I am not here to impress others. I am here to help others. I am here to be of service to God and my fellows. So here it goes:
Many of my friends know me from a 12-Step program, and/or know my story of the battle of the beast. If you are not one of them, or never dealt with the wrath of alcoholism in your life, you might scroll past this story. I am not offended. πŸ™‚
The beast ruled my life from the age of 11. It truly can be hereditary. My mother was not a drinker, but she surely was surrounding by them, especially me, her first of five children and eldest daughter. My poor mother. The first time the police came to our house, I was 11 and had gotten many of the neighbor kids drunk, so their parents called the police. The police sat at the kitchen table that evening calling me the bartender, little did I know that would be my future, cocktail waitress, fake IDs, and lots of drinking! My first DUI I was 18 and married the cop that arrested me. My second DUI was the day I found out I had breast cancer. My first sobriety date was from April 15, 1998, to Feb of 2006.
My father could be a mean and violent alcoholic that put the fear of God in me for the few years he was around or in my life. I was terrified of him when I was a little girl. To this day, if anyone raises their voice in that MEAN tone, the tone that always brought violence next, I am blasted back to my childhood memories of fear I cannot put into words. I am scared and terrorized like I am waiting to be hit. Memories of crawling out my bedroom window to use the neighbor’s phone to call the police. Memories of watching my mother get punched and beaten and hiding with my hands over my ears. There were other men in her life with the same violent, alcoholic issues. Maybe she wanted to save everyone.
I stayed up tonight until midnight to celebrate with my mother, our respective birthdays. She left this world in Feb of 2010 at the young age of 69. My sobriety date falls on her birthday, August 23, 2009. I was six months sober when she passed.
I am 14 years sober today, by the Grace of God and the loving memory of my Mother. All she ever wanted was to see me stay sober. She was so proud of me. She used to tell me I could do and be anything I wanted if I would stop drinking. I am sorry, Mom, for all the pain and worry I caused you for most of my life.
August 23, 2009, (Mom’s last birthday) I hobbled into a 12-Step meeting on a Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. in the Pacific Palisades, walking on crutches, due to my left femur spontaneously breaking as I walked through a doorway on June 3, 2009, and a side effect of a cancer medication (Zometa) for multiple myeloma that I had been receiving via IV for many years. Fighting terminal cancer and alcoholism was a lose/lose, or so I thought.
I remember crying hysterically and asking everyone in the room to please help me. Please help me. My mother was living in the Seattle area and in a sort of coma from MSA, Multiple Systems Atrophy. A horrible disease. Did she hear my cries for help? I have not had a drink since that day. My life was gifted back. The craving just left, that day…just like that. It is truly cunning, baffling, and powerful.
How? I wish I could answer that. Was it my prayers? Was it my mother knowing that if I could get sober on her birthday, it might last because how much more important could August 23 be to me? A day to honor her wish, and mine. A day we would celebrate for the rest of my life, one day at a time.
One day I can know she is with me, smiling, and I am saying, Look, Mom, I am doing the best I can. Life is hard, but I am doing it SOBER! Oh, and trust me, that morning, I was too much in an alcoholic daze to know it was her birthday. I figured that out the next day.
Did my Mom and God have a little agreement, like what would make her happier departing this world than to see me sober, and for me to be sober for my younger siblings, and our grieving, not knowing she would pass away the following February?
I wanted to die the day before, August 22. I wanted to die for a long time. I was so mentally and physically ill and in so much pain. My liver hurt and blood was coming from everywhere. I had lost all hope. I was doomed.
But something the next day, that Sunday, August 23, put me in my car and drove me to that meeting. The room was filled with sober friends I knew since I moved to Santa Monica in 1999. I was bloated and overweight. I felt the stares of disbelief like, “What happened to Cheryl?” -
Well, Cheryl had relapsed, after being sober since 1998 and close to eight years, and had been fighting the beast for the next three and a half years, fighting to get back the life she threw away with the twist of one bottle of vodka. I was at the point of begging God to just take me. The pain was too much. The monster (alcohol) had me by the throat and would not let go.
Parents are not perfect, but they all do the best they can. I would give anything to be able to have conversations with my mother today. Life is short. Life is precious. Be grateful! Be kind! Keep smiling! God has given me a beautiful life in sobriety, one that I could never have thought possible. I love my job. I have a home. I have new dreams. Dreams to travel and meet new friends all over the country. So, thank you, God! Thank you, Mom! Thank you to my family and friends who have supported me through the bumpy roads. Now I take those roads on a mountain bike or my 4 x 4 Sprinter van! LOL
I might regret this and delete it later, but for now, this is my page, my story, so I spreading the love.
�Peace and Love - Believe in miracles!
Cp
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Karen Tyler, Thomas Hollenbeck and 49 others
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  • Cheryl Parrish
    Mom when I was told I had six months - 1995
    May be an image of 1 person and ocean
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  • Cheryl Parrish
    Mom went to nursing school in her 40s.
    May be an image of 1 person
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  • Larry Goldenberg
    You are who you are. And you’re an inspiration to many of the hopeless ones out there.❤️
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  • Elaine Barbata Childs
    Love to you, Cheryl!! You’re a strong woman. Your mom was beautiful.
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  • Leah Willersdorf
    You are a remarkable woman, Cheryl. Your path is your path and I thank you for sharing it so openly. You should be very, very proud of yourself; I’m pretty sure your mum is. As are those of us who love you, friend x πŸ©·
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  • μ£Όμ˜μ•„
    Love you, Blondie... you may not know it but I talk of you often... you are an amazing and resilient woman who has lived, loved and persevered beyond measure.
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  • Lori Beckler
    What an incredible story you have had in your life. Thanks for sharing! πŸ₯°
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  • Heather Suarez
    I love you, Cheryl! You’re such an amazing human and inspiration to so many ♥️
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  • Trina Fehlman
    Happy birthday to you and happy heavenly birthday to your mom. ❤️
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  • Lesley Ann
    Please don’t ever delete this! You and I are first cousins, though sadly I don’t have any memories with you (yet.) But I am proud of you, and I’m inspired by your story. Keep going! Keep posting! You’re a miracle! Sending love to you on your mama’s bir… 
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  • Shelley Dillon Pearce
    I love this so very much! Your story deserves to be told/shared as a testament and inspiration to all of us! Thank you!!!
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  • Jeannette Correia
    Thank you for sharing, Cheryl!!
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  • Doris Henderson Skaggs
    You are a living testimony, may your life story be the encouragement someone is waiting to hear. You truly have family that loves you and are so very proud of you.
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  • Karen Tyler
    Love you, Cheryl.
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  • Chris Lunt
    Love this! People need to hear your story! You are a rock star!
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    • Chris Lunt
      Cheryl Parrish we are hoping to be at the rally. My dad is fighting colon cancer and has surgery on the 1st. It will depend on his recovery and what will follow. Hoping for the best!
  • Linda Henderson Counts
    Yes Cheryl! Keep telling your story!! What an inspiration for anyone going through a hopeless situation- and YOU fought back! You cried out to God- and he rescued you! Praise God. So yes- keep telling- if you help one other person feeling hopeless, i… 
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  • Debbie Henderson Steckler
    My sister Cheryl is strong, beautiful caring, giving and the best big sister I could ever ask for! Happy 14th Birthday sister.
    Luv you❤️
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  • Jeri Stanfill
    Cheryl my dear friend, you have accomplished so much, and overcome so much in your life. Praise God for His grace, mercy and love for us. When we were roommates at 18 we were on a course of self destruction together. Boy were we having fun— for awhile… 
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