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A Woman Exposed
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I am an alcoholic…such a simple statement, it belies the complicated mess it embodies. I didn’t start out wanting to have a disease that can debilitate me. I saw my dad, who drank too much and most of my relatives. My dad was a calm drunk, really. He was fun when tipsy and passed out when drunk. It was when he was sober that I had to run. I think all his past woes came up to bite him when sober. I can’t imagine that he had any coping skills other than drinking to deal with his immigrant past and his mother that was heavy on the “prute” (green willow stick). He had to support the family when his dad was hurt in the mines and he put his younger brother through college. He wanted to enlist, but his CXR showed tuberculosis and he was denied. The middle son, “the nice one” got to go and come back a hero. That xray was a mix up and he was drafted 10 years later, after the hero’s war and went to Korea, the non-war. He was much older and never felt good about his service years. His sister married a fellow countryman who built houses and made out quite well. My dad worked at Boeing as an engineer’s assistant. He tried to go to school at night but I don’t think he ever got a degree. He was forcibly retired at 55 and never had quite enough money. My mom had given him a choice to quit drinking or lose his family and he chose the latter. But not before I experienced a violent childhood. My drinking never looked like my dad. I drank brandy and he drank scotch. We both liked wine. He made 250 gallons a year with 2 buddies and I just made a gallon at a time. He drank beer and I was not a big fan, even though I made it for the quick turnaround. I had seen movies of men in trench coats with bottles of MD20/20 in their pockets, lying in the ditch. I didn’t look like that, although I did drink MD20/20 and Thunderbird out of a paper bag. I lived in my car for a while, but I was not really “homeless”, although was without a home. When I was a kid, my mom gave me allergy shots so we had syringes in a drawer. My sister and I would take my dad’s scotch and inject it into an orange and take it to school and get drunk. We were never caught. We added water to the scotch bottle as it was used up, but he never noticed. I made wine in my bedroom and drank it under the bleachers at the football games. One day, my friends asked me to go to a program to help our friend who was drinking too much. It was called TeeDruNar and was for teens using drugs and alcohol. It was based on confrontation. When I got there, it was me that was put in the middle and yelled at. I’m still not sure why I stayed. Probably because I had friends there. I never actually stopped drinking wine at dinner, since that was cultural. I learned about heroin there, though. I had two kids with a man that I never really meant to stay with. He didn’t drink, but loved pot. He would bring me home drugs and carried me home after parties when I drank too much. We had a big fight and I was quite drunk and slept with someone else. I tried to hide it, but I couldn’t keep the secret, so that ended the relationship. I was alone with 2 kids, living in my car when I became pregnant again. I knew I’d lose all my kids if I kept this up, so an abortion and then AA for me. It was hard. I didn’t believe I was an alcoholic. Did I mention how I didn’t really look like one? I had tried controlled drinking first. I never had more than one drink. I refilled my cup before it was empty, so it was still just one. I put it in a coffee cup so the kids didn’t know. I tried non-alcoholic wine, but always ended up drunk on real wine. So, AA… The thing is, no one really understands unless they too are an alcoholic.

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