Powerless No More is a story of hope for anyone dealing with a history of broken relationships, destructive addictions, or families who have almost given up on the addict in their lives. This memoir details the painful work the author needed to do in order to become happy, joyous, and free.
Part of growing up in an alcoholic home meant moving a lot because landlords would not renew leases. Because of the police in the driveway every weekend and the damage done on drunken rampages, the alcoholics in the family always hoped a new location (the geographic cure) would help them turn over a new leaf. The author, until her junior year in high school, attended a new school every year. In addition to the violence in her home, the constant moves made it difficult to make friends or to even know how. She and her sister, years later, recalled a drunken scene in front of a friend, which taught them never to invite anyone in the home again. While these moves gave her lots of experience in being in new situations, it only added to her insecurity and always feeling like she never quite belonged anywhere, including in her own family. She grew up being told she was the cause of her mother’s death; it took years later, looking at it from an adult perspective, to forgive herself. In addition to guilt from her mother’s death, she spent years wondering what might have happened if she had been the one to call for help sooner when her first stepmother died.
By the time she reached her twenties, she discovered the release she could get from all these feelings of guilt, grief, and insecurity: alcohol, and lots of it. Of course, she was going to drink differently from her parents! She was not going to get drunk, make a fool of herself, and have people call the police on her. She was going to drink like a lady and be as sophisticated as the glamorous stars on the big screen in the ’50s and ’60s.
At the time of President Kennedy’s assassination, the author was just getting ready to celebrate graduating from business school and turning twenty-one. The birthday party was cancelled, along with everything else that weekend. But her drinking career had started three years before, so it wasn’t such a big deal to be turning twenty-one! In the next twelve years, she married, had two beautiful boys, and moved nine times. But a childhood of abuse and alcoholism, and the loss of the two most important women in her life, had already set the stage for core issues of abandonment, insecurity, and rejection.
With insightful references from spiritual authors Jody admires, she tells how she reached her dark night of the soul and how she managed to come out of all the chaos feeling grateful. One of her most poignant memories is of a reunion with her siblings after a fifty-two-year separation. Over a period of a week together, the three sisters and brother finally talked about the elephant in the room and found healing.
Women she finally came to trust and love later made up for a mother who died much too young, a stepmother who died when Jody was only sixteen, and another stepmother she loved who left because of the battering. Her growth in recovery and her spiritual life are supported by some of these same women. She credits her wonderfully supportive husband whom she says “believed in me long before I believed in myself,” with the joy she has in her life today. Though she tells of feeling like she had no power as a child to change anything, as an adult she consistently gave up her power to those around her and to her addiction. Today she not only feels powerful but has changed in ways she would never have thought possible. “Paying it forward is what it is all about now,” says the author. “While the past twenty-eight years have certainly not been without challenges, losses, and health issues, they have been easier because of learning to ask for help. Life is no longer meant to be struggled through alone. With the God of my understanding, my husband, and ‘m