Story of Jane

The Story of Jane

Jane was a senior in high school who came from an upper middle-class family. Her father owned a car dealership and made a good income. Her mother was on the Board of the PTA and played an important role in the community by getting parents involved in their children’s education and school.

Jane was the oldest of four children in her family. She had two sisters and a brother. Her grandparents also lived in the same town and were involved in her family life.

When Jane turned 16 years old, her father let her have her pick of the cars in the dealership to drive. Jane was always very responsible and made excellent grades in high school. She planned to go to the university to major in psychology and earned a scholarship based on her academic achievements. She was on the varsity cheerleading squad at her high school. Because of her responsible behavior, she was allowed to drive to and from the games with her cheerleading friends.

During the fall of Jane’s senior year, some of her friends threw a party. It was the first time Jane had been to a party where there was alcohol. Jane had a few drinks with her friends and drove herself home. Pulling into the driveway, Jane misjudged the distance and scraped the front fender on the mailbox.

Jane didn’t want her parents to know that she had been drinking and driving so she lied to them about how her car got scraped. Her parents believed her story.

Jane got a part‐time job at a “Shop and Go” during Christmas break of her senior year to save money to help with college expenses. All of her friends were planning to go to a big New Year’s bash at the home of one of the varsity football players but Jane was scheduled to work and she couldn’t get off. She felt pretty low about not being able to go to the party and told one of her co‐workers, a sophomore at the local university that she was thinking about calling in sick. He told her not to do that. He said she might be surprised at how much fun they’d have at work on New Year’s Eve. She just needed to come to work and wait and see.

When Jane got to work that night, she noticed that someone had brought five one‐gallon bottles of wine and put them in the ice cooler. All through the evening, Jane and her co‐workers drank. Jane told herself she could drink as much as she wanted because it wasn’t fair that she had to work while her friends were all out having fun. She remembered having about three drinks and feeling drunk but she couldn’t remember anything else about the rest of the evening. She was surprised when she woke up the next morning in the apartment of one of her co‐workers. She couldn’t remember how she had gotten there.

Jane’s parents were frantic with worry. When she showed up at home the next morning, they grounded her from driving for two weeks.

During Jane’s first year of college, she met the man she wanted to marry at a party hosted by some of her friends. They both hit it off and had a lot of the same things in common: friends, ideas and values. They both liked to party and enjoyed drinking, too. After her freshman year, Jane dropped out of college and she and her boyfriend got married.

For a wedding present, the best man gave her and the groom a bong pipe. Jane didn’t know what it was until her new husband told her it was for smoking marijuana. Jane didn’t smoke at all and thought smoking marijuana was wrong. She didn’t know her boyfriend, now husband, used drugs and she wasn’t too happy about the present. But her new husband showed her how to use the pipe and told her to get used to it.

During the first four years of their marriage, Jane and her husband had three children. A year after they were married Jane had twins: a boy and a girl. Eighteen months after the twins were born Jane gave birth to another baby girl. Her husband worked off and on during this time and both he and Jane partied a lot with their friends. Jane had developed a tolerance for alcohol. Jane didn’t drink or smoke while she was pregnant, but started up again after the babies were born. Drinking and smoking kept her from having much of an appetite so she easily lost the weight she had gained during her pregnancies.

Over the next several years Jane and her husband’s drinking progressed until Jane was less and less able to get the children dressed and ready for school. Her husband didn’t go to work regularly anymore because he was either too drunk or had a hangover. Jane’s sisters became concerned about the welfare of their nieces and nephew. They told Jane that unless she stopped drinking they would report her to child welfare services. Jane was upset about the possibility of losing her children and tried to talk with her husband about it. But he went on a drinking binge and didn’t come home for three weeks. Jane called her mother who agreed to take care of the children until Jane could get her life turned around. The children went to live with their grandparents.

Jane started going to counseling for her drinking problem. She continued in treatment even after her husband returned from his three‐week drinking binge. When he saw that the children weren’t living at home, he promised to sober up. For the next four months, he cleaned up his act and went back to work. He stopped drinking, but he still smoked pot. Through treatment, Jane maintained sobriety for five months. Her mother returned the children to Jane’s household. But one week after the children returned, Jane’s husband started drinking again. Jane tried to persuade him to stop, but after a few days she began drinking again, too. Jane’s husband stopped going to work and after several days of absenteeism his boss called to tell him he was fired.

Jane panicked and called her mother. When her mother arrived at the house and saw what was going on, she took the children home with her again. The Department of Children’s Services became involved and custody was formally granted to Jane’s parents.

Jane entered treatment again and made a commitment to get her life back on track and make a home for her children. Jane told her husband that if he didn’t follow through with his commitment to stop drinking and using drugs, he would have to find another place to live. She didn’t want to continue living the way they had been. Unless he chose to make these changes with her to create a more healthy home and life for themselves and for their children, she didn’t want him to live with them anymore. Jane’s husband told her the problems were all hers and he moved out.

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