Waking up every day, not knowing what side of a personality you will get from someone is the life I live with my mother. My parents are immigrants from Europe and back there drinking heavily isn’t something that is seen so much as taboo. As you can imagine, drinking 5-6 glasses of wine every single night isn’t something we would think is normal here.
Starting from the beginning of my life: I never realized my mom had a drinking problem. Heck, I couldn’t even tell when she was intoxicated. It didn’t really settle in until I was about 14. It was one summer night we were all swimming in our pool. I had gone to the bathroom to find out I had gotten my period. As you can remember, the first time you get your period brings along so many emotions. It’s the first sign of turning into a woman. Just like most girls do, I went straight to my mother to tell her. She was freaking out saying how awesome it was and explained everything that came along with this transition.
Fast forward to the next morning, I asked my mom if we could go to the store to get sanitary products and she didn’t know what I was talking about. I remember saying “you know since I got my period”, her responses being “you did, when?”. My heart sank, I just sat in silence and It truly hit me how much alcohol impacts my mother and her actions. From then on, every night I would watch her drink one glass of scotch, one glass of wine, whatever she could get her hands on, over and over again. She totally changed into another person while intoxicated, I couldn’t even recognize her.
Growing up, this was extremely hard. Her drinking separated our family and it really resonated with me because all I did was compare my family to all my friend’s families who lived such a “normal” life, you could say. My mom never went to any of my softball games, musicals, choruses, anything really of importance was put on the back burner for Mr. Old Glass of Wine. All I wanted as a child was a mom who was my best friend, that I could tell all my secrets to, and I never did. People would even make fun of me or put me down for not having “family time’, kids are brutal.
With every drink I wouldn’t know what to expect from her. Was she going to be aggressive, loud, caring, loving, mad, or just completely shy away our whole family. Even the smallest amount of alcohol changed her mood. She would be one minute happy and caring, to the next getting extremely aggressive, yelling, and sometimes even violent.
As I grew to be older, her drinking made me totally separated to everyone in my family. I couldn’t even talk to my mother without a bundle of emotions coming over me and flashbacks of certain times when she was incredibly drunk. Every night she would come home from work and was a miserable, not functioning person until she had a glass of some kind of alcohol. She would see how this all affected me so much but didn’t really seem to care. This addiction had completely taken over her and still does.
This overall affected my relationships with everyone. I was so scared that the people I surrounded myself with were going to turn into my mother and I just truly only saw the negatives in people and still sometimes do, since that was the only thing I was surrounded by.
I am now a sophomore in college, I just recently moved out of my house and got a place of my own and it was the best decision of my life. I have gained a sense of peace in some way. I am no longer terrified of coming home to the unknown or be surrounded by my family who was so distant and emotionless.
Every day I wish this wasn’t the case for me. If you know me, you know family and relationships are EVERYTHING to me. Having close bonds to someone and knowing you have people to look to in times of need is in my opinion the most important thing in life. I want the chance, in the future, to have kids of my own and give them everything my mother didn’t, and have a bond that is unbreakable between my own family.
Growing up with an alcoholic has affected me emotionally and physically, but has truly brought me to be this independent good headed woman. I am one of billions of kids who grow up with an alcoholic parent. I am still a work in progress but it’s a productive journey of learning and healing. I believe it is truly important to share these stories so people know they are not alone.
Take care of yourselves.