I have not written for over a month yet I have literally thought of writing each and every day. When I pick up the pen, I go blank. I have a flood of thoughts and cannot put them in any order at all. The only thing that has any clarity or any semblance of a positive pattern in my mind is when I think of “FAMILY”.
I want to take some time and write about family and how important the concept of family is. Being raised Italian, the importance of family was always stressed to me. However at this stage in my life I believe that I have learned so very much more about what family is…..who family is……and what it really means. There are so very many many mixed messages given by the Italian people. I don’t really know how to explain this because on one hand they teach loyalty and love and on the other hand they hold onto resentments and can be very angry. Now I am speaking about my family system nobody else’s. So please do not take offense if you think that I am speaking about the entire Italian culture…..because I am not.
I was raised to believe that there were only two types of people in the world……..Italian people and those who wanted to be Italian. I know that people laugh when they hear this…..especially Italians, unfortunately Italians believe this to be true. Let’s talk about the closeness and the tight bond between family members. There is always a lot of love and a lot of hugs and a lot of I love you’s for the babies in the family …. but something happens when you reach the age of say six or seven. If you are a little girl you could no longer sit on daddy’s lap if you are a little boy mommy can no longer hold you or hug you in fact, that behavior came to an abrupt stop, with no explanation given whatsoever. So actually I never remembered anybody telling me that they loved me until I started to say it when I hung up the phone from my mother when I was in rehab. ….. uh, by the way I was 29 years old.
When my father died suddenly and I was only 10 years old the trauma of that impacted me and my family for the rest of our life. My Italian family rallied around me and tried to fill the void and let me know as many times as they could that I was his little girl and that he loved me very much. My older brother of 20 years had a family of his own where I felt as though I was always on the outside looking in. My brother felt very badly for me and he tried very hard to reel me in and make me part of his family. His wife on the other hand was not too keen on the idea and did not really want to share him with his immediate family. I spent most of my time trying to please her and trying to make her like me. She tried at times to like me and she even felt bad for me at times, I could tell, but those times were very few and far between. She was not Italian. It was very obvious. And she resented our family. Enter the dreadly in-laws!!!!!! Lol they had seven of their own children and I spent my young adult life wishing I was part of their family. I had another brother who was 13 years my elder and he was sort of the lost child. He also had very much respect for my older brother. We were raised to respect our elders and we were raised to believe that family is the most important thing in our lives. My middle brothers wife was Syrian and she was raised similar to us. I loved her and I felt as though she loved me. She was very caring and compassionate and still to this day is one of the most compassionate women I know. She has gone out of her way to help me all of my life and for that I am very appreciative and grateful. She is genuine. Overall me & my two brothers are close. We love each other. We care about each other. If there were nobody else in our lives we would be extremely close. I had to say that because I just realized that recently.
I used drugs between the ages of 15 and 29 and I caused an enormous amount of pain in my family. In the world of addiction “enabling” is a behavior that family members need to learn how to stop doing to their addict. Enabling are things like giving your addict money, giving them a place to live for free, paying their bills for them, feeding them, lying for them ………. in an Italian family enabling your addict and loving your addict are the same thing. However medically, clinically and spiritually; enabling the addict is killing them. Trying to explain to an Italian family that they must stop enabling their addict is almost futile. The addict takes full advantage of this situation. I know that I did. I also know that my sister-in-law did not like me so she had no problem stopping any enabling that she did. Ha ha
During my stay at Gateway rehabilitation it was then that I realized that I had a lot of work ahead of me if I decided to stay clean. That is whenI came up with my own dual diagnosis …….the disease of addiction and the disease of Italianism. Deciphering between the two was difficult! And oh please don’t let me forget the disease of codependency also! Once I got clean I realized that I was going to need a lot of therapy and a lot of twelve-step work to recover.
I have spent my whole life on the outside looking in. I always wanted to be part of. I always felt different. I wasn’t rraised with a dad; I was a drug addict; I was alone most of the time. During my addiction nobody wanted me around and I cannot say that I blame them one bit.
When I learned about feelings and what they were and how I felt I was very involved in the 12 step program.I had developed some very very important relationships with people. They were my “WE”. They loved me unconditionally They listened to me when I spoke and they made eye contact with me. They did not interrupt. When I was sad, they were sad. When I cried; they cried, when I laughed, they laughed . I learned how to have friends. Those people became my “FAMILY” .
I had 4 children. And I had learned so much about what type of family I wanted to create. I wanted them to be loyal to each other, I wanted them to have each other’s back’s at all times, I wanted them to be able to talk to each other and allow each other to express their feelings, I wanted them to not judge each other, I wanted them to love each other unconditionally, I wanted them to know that there was nothing more important than family. So I went on to raise my kids and watch them grow and teach all the things that I wanted from a family. Some of the things came from my family system. I told my kids they were Italian. Ha ha. I carried many of my families traditions, even the dysfunctional ones. But mainly my kids learned that they had each other no matter what. They believe that everything will be OK as long as they have each other.
Family is not always blood. And I know that you know that. The crisis that me and my family have been through this past year has taught us so very very much about other people. The people who have stepped up to help are people who were never really close to me. Suddenly those people showed up. And I believe they showed up because they are people with compassion and people who feel and they are givers. And the people who I thought were close to me were the ones who betrayed me. All I can say is………….”wow”.
And finally, this disaster is coming to an end. I will be sentenced on June 27. God will show up. This is all in his hands…. I want to say a big big thank you to all of you who have supported me and my family. We appreciate it more than words could ever express. You know who you are and we know who you are. You know who you aren’t and we know who you aren’t. 🙄
The Sugarmann Family will prevail and we will get through whatever is coming our way with the love & support of our extended family & friends. I am forever grateful to those of you who are here for us and as for the remainder of you back stabbing, low life takers and two faced hypocrites………..well, never mind….I’ll pray for you ❤️❤️💋💋💋💋❤️❤️🌷🌷👍🏼