Drinking Is In My Blood

My mom starting drinking when she was barely a teenager. By the time she graduated high school she was a habitual drinker and drug user. She managed to keep it somewhat in control. She always had a job and a place to live. But from what I’ve been told and what I’ve read in her old journals, she was an emotional mess. Hardly ever sober when she wasn’t working, she bounced around from guy to guy, partied all the time, and never had any real goals in her life. She was just flailing. When she got pregnant with me she wasn’t even 22 years old. She’d been dating my father for about three months and had no plans to stay with him. She has always sworn that as soon as she found out she was pregnant she quit drinking and doing drugs. She said she barely took so much as an aspirin.

After I was born, it didn’t take long for her to resume her old habits. I recently read her journal from the year I was born and although it hurts my heart to read about her getting fucked up while I was a little baby, I understand now that she was an addict and, even at that time, had already been one for many years. She never caused me any physical harm. She made sure I was taken care of. She had lots of family to help out and take care of me when she had to work, or when she had to party. When I look back on my childhood, I do remember it being as if I was being raised by several people. My grandma, my great aunt, my great grandma. They all had a hand in helping my mom parent. Without them, I can’t really imagine what she would have done. If they hadn’t been there, she probably would have lost me eventually. Or she would have kept me and things would have been much worse than they were.

All of my memories of my mom from my childhood involve drugs and alcohol. In pictures from birthday parties, holidays, family gatherings, etc, you can usually see a drink in my mom’s hand. Or if there isn’t a drink, you can look at her face, her eyes, or her body language, and you can see that there is something going on there. She is not sober, she is not happy. She is barely hanging on. In the pictures from the five years she was married to my step-dad, you can sense a particular desperation. Sometimes, you can even see a bit of it starting to spread to me.

When I was 13 I smoked pot for the first time and at 14 I got drunk.  At the time, it never occurred to me that I was doing anything similar to what my mom had done. I was just living my life. No one was telling me not to drink. No one was telling me not to stay out all night, snort speed and go to raves. By the time I was 16, I was on my own and living my life with no rules.

I never thought of myself as an addict. It was something I associated with people like my mother. I knew that I couldn’t do drugs for the rest of my life, at least not as heavily as I had been. And there were many times in my life when I forced myself to quit certain things and I was able to do it.

At 32 I am now able to finally see that there is an addict inside me. My whole life I have just viewed myself as “a child of an alcoholic.” All things considered, I thought I had done pretty well for having such a fucked up start. Getting through my teens and early twenties and being able to leave my past behind, get married to a good man, and become a mother to two amazing kids seemed like an incredible achievement. In the last several years, I certainly never thought of myself as someone who might have a drinking problem.

This last year I have had to take a hard look at myself. There have been many moments I’m not proud of, almost all related to drinking. I have decided that the best decision I can make right now is to be sober. And even though drinking is most definitely in my blood, as it was in my mom’s, I am going to resist what comes naturally, no matter how hard it might be.

The women who raised me.

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  1. #1 by Janet Johnson on September 1, 2012 - 8:14 am

    this really touched my heart Andi.

    • #2 by Porkchop on September 1, 2012 - 3:55 pm

      Thanks for reading, Mama.

  2. #3 by Sword-chinned bitch on September 1, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    Now I’m home and can see the picture — before for some reason I couldn’t open it — stupid ass computer — I love this picture!

    • #4 by Porkchop on September 1, 2012 - 3:56 pm

      Me too. My grandma recently gave me a bunch of good old ones, this one is a favorite.

  3. #5 by Alabama Brenda on September 3, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    Porkchop – I’m a friend of your mama’s. She pretty proud of you and so am I. Would you like to “share” your story? It’s beautifully written and there are a lot of people that can identify with you. Keep the faith and I hope to continue with you down the happy road to destiny. Love – Alabama Brenda.

    • #6 by Porkchop on September 3, 2012 - 3:46 pm

      Hey Brenda, Thanks so much for reading. I’d like to share my story someday. Right now, I’m still learning to be comfortable talking about this stuff. Writing about it feels the most comfortable for me. I appreciate your support!

  4. #7 by XLMIC on September 24, 2012 - 9:30 pm

    This is written with such compassion…for your mom and for yourself. You have done VERY well…for having such a fucked up start…and even if you hadn’t. You show such strength and love. Just beautiful.

  5. #8 by Nadine on October 24, 2012 - 8:41 pm

    I thought it was an amazing story.. I am also a friend of your mothers. It takes courage and strength to do as you did…one day at a time…. it really is a beautiful day to be sober.. Nadine.

  6. #9 by uccrevbob on September 4, 2013 - 8:56 pm

    I went to high school with your mom, and as I look back, even then she had the look in her eyes that indicated something was missing. It is truly a blessing for me to finally see joy in your mom’s eyes, even these many years later. I applaud your mom’s courage, and this post is but one example that you are definitely her daughter. Congratulations and prayers for your continuing recovery.

    (I’m a recovering addict, too.)

    • #10 by Porkchop on September 5, 2013 - 10:17 am

      Hey, thanks so much for reading my blog! I am so proud of my mom and myself for how far we have come in this journey.

  7. #11 by Cathy on May 9, 2016 - 11:48 am

    Hi Andi, This brought tears….As you know, we are connected by love, fate and alcoholism. When I think back on the solace you and Ricky tried to find it tears up my heart. I thank God for you and Melissa everyday. No doubt you are part of our village, without knowing, you two helped me raise an awesome, very confident Son, and without yours and Melissa’s unconditional friendship, Ricky would not be the person he is today. Love is mere words, if only my heart could tell you how much

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