I have just read "Ashley's Eyes" and I must tell you how much it touched me. I found it through the Cathartic Poetry newsletter and it not only urges me to read your work further, but it also inspires me to get back to writing my own poetry, which is another thing that I had given up during my own struggles.
I am a recovering alcoholic, 27 days sober today, and writing my own personal blog about this journey (Welcome Back Jekyll, Goodbye Hyde). I have personally seen and felt what my disease has done to my family and loved ones and it is one of the most regretful and darkest things that can happen with this terrible monster called alcoholism. Some of the ways it has affected them are feelings and hurts that I am not sure I will ever be able to forgive myself for. In healing myself, I see that my family must heal as well as my drinking hurt them as much as it has hurt me.
To have someone "on the outside" seeing this hurt and not only understanding but caring about those people caught in the maelstrom of an alcoholics drinking is so very touching. Forgive me, touching is not a strong enough word. You have seen it and you have reached out with love and support to Ashley and her mom. That is no mere touching, that is COLOSSAL. I thank you for your heart.
When you wrote " I know that someone who lives like this doesn't do so willingly, even though it is hard to imagine why she continues to imprison herself the way she does." you hit the nail on the head. Not many people understand that we alcoholics lose self-will somewhere along the road of the disease. It is no longer "I want to drink" but becomes "I have to drink". This distinction is lost on most and the usual response to our drinking is something like "Why doesn't she just stop drinking? Why does she keep buying the booze if she can't control it?" Therein lies the answer - we have lost the ability to control it. It controls us. Until one day when we make that life-altering decision to live instead of die. Some of us are able to get to that decision, some of us tragically do not. But it is the support of those same loved ones that we have hurt along the way that help us to lift our heads up out of the quagmire of darkness and slowly struggle up onto the right path once more. You and your daughter are two of those loved ones that have helped Ashley and her mother. You are a blessing.
Again, thank you for your words, talent and heart. I look forward to reading more of your work. Have a glorious day.