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The Shadow of Shame


"Beyond the Shadows" by Robin Lee Hatcher
The 1950's are often thought of as an idyllic time: poodle skirts, bobby socks, saddle shoes, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, doo wop music, hula hoops, Barbie dolls, and a conservative time period that was thought to be the host of the ideal nuclear family. Alcoholism can affect anyone, and it often masks itself in a family that is thought to be "ideal." Once upon a time people did not talk about certain issues, they gossiped about "other people's" problems, but families did not talk about what was really going on in their own home; problems with alcohol, child abuse, child molestation, spousal abuse, they kept it hidden, "if you don't talk about it, and ignore it, it will just go away." The shame and trauma that a family feels that is affected by alcoholism can be unbearable, they need the support of their church, extended family, friends, and counselors. Alcoholism affects not just the person drinking, it affects the entire family.
The 1950's and up to 1964 is the time period for this current book that I recently finished, "Beyond the Shadows." Deborah is the main character, she is in her early 30's and recently widowed. Deborah was married to Andy the man of her dreams, the boy she had known most of her life and had waited for. Andy and Deborah had bought a farm near the town of Amethyst, Idaho. Everything was all this newly married couple had hoped and dreamed that it would be, until the tragic farm accident that took Andy's life. At the funeral Deborah meets an ole' Army buddy that Andy had been in Korea with, his name is Gideon. Gideon offers to help Deborah out at the farm, to repair things, he also helps to repair Deborah's grieving heart. Gideon and Deborah have a quick courtship and quick marriage. They move to town to be near their jobs and they settle down to life as married folks. They have 2 children close together, Sharon Rose and Peter Alan. Slowly through the early years of their marriage Deborah realizes that Gideon has a problem with alcohol, and an accident at his job causes him to loose the job. They move back to the farm, Deborah tries hard to keep the family together, she tries to cover for him, she lives in shame, she cannot stop him from drinking, and he must acknowledge that he has a problem. Eventually the climax to the story happens, another accident, Deborah must make a decision, she cannot continue living in this insanity.
I too have been affected by someone that I love that is an alcoholic. This person has been sober now for many, many, years, but I can still remember the feelings that I had so long ago: what's wrong with them, why can't they just be good, don't they know how foolish they are, don't they know they are breaking my heart. As a Christian I clung to God, and held on tight, God was my life raft and He still is.

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