My family. November 30, 2020
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
I haven't talked to my extended family about this and I am not sure when I will. I have a complicated relationship with the majority of my family: my father, my mother and my two sisters. But if I don't mention them now then I don't recognize a large part of who I am and also a large part of where my issues are rooted.
My mother struggles with alcohol. She has been her entire life. She has battled with this for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of her pulling her massive jug of chardonnay out from under the kitchen sink and filling up a huge tumbler and tossing her three ice cubes in. Every. Single. Afternoon. Most nights she got her buzz on as any 80's housewife would do, and just like I have been doing these like few years. I have a vivid memory of my dad putting her to bed wasted after a company Christmas party. She could barely walk, and we were home with a babysitter. She was just always drunk and happy, but she was sloppy. She also used to beat us with a wooden spoon, and I am fairly certain she was drunk when she did that.
She always had a glass of wine in hand at night, had her lady friends over for wine playdates (just like I do these days,) and argued every evening with my dad as she slurred her words. I remember one particularly bad fight when she brought up divorce. I was in elementary school.
My more vivid memories are later around when my dad left her. That is when her drinking worsened, and things went drastically downhill for everyone. This is also when I had my first alcoholic beverages. (More on that later.) I remember her coming to my field hockey team dinner my senior year of high school and she was embarrassingly drunk in front of the other parents, and I had to drive her home. My dad moved in and out my senior year of high school, leaving me to deal with her on my own at times. My older sisters were away at college already. Finally, once I went away to college the following year, my dad officially left my mom.
As one might imagine, that is when my mom's drinking really took off. I stopped calling home, because she was always drunk. I was angry at her that she wasn't strong enough to be on her own and that she was drowning her sorrows in a bottle of wine. She annoyed me. I was mad at my dad. So, I distanced myself from everyone.
This is also around the time that I fell in love with Evan. I, in turn, buried myself in my college life at Colby. I LOVED COLBY!! I found the greatest friends and had the most incredible experience. Then, I went home that first summer to try to help my mom. My sisters and I encouraged her to go to AA and we went to Al Anon to try to find our own support. None of it ever felt right for any of us, and she never stuck with the program. She found a therapist she liked though and she insisted she would get the help she needed. I went back to Colby for sophomore year, and I never went home. I basically never looked back.
My dad was an entirely other issue that caused me years of therapy. If anyone knows, it is an incredibly long story. Perhaps, he gets his very own blog post next. Anyway, I think ultimately my drinking problems started here. The binge drinking that we did at Colby was not healthy by any means. My friends know it. We talk about it. But none of my friends have the issues in their family like I do. (Or not that I know of at least.) I have it in my blood and that cannot be denied.