No one could be more amazed by this than I.
First of all, I’m not even supposed to be an alcoholic.
I come from a long line of them, and, while most little girls dreamt of riding ponies or the latest hair style, I was thinking, and planning – very seriously – how NOT to be an alcoholic. In fact, I had my first strategic plan to avoid the disease by the time I was 9 or 10. Unfortunately, my plan included my alcoholic father so I had to revise it, just one year later, when he died from our disease at the age of 34.
My sober friends say this, “We plan. God laughs.” Alcoholism had its own plans, and, in the face of the power of the disease, my own strategic ideas were a folly.
I cannot emphasize this next point enough —
If you are an alcoholic, the ONLY choice you have is whether you are going
to LIVE or DIE from the disease.
And, even then, the window of opportunity to embrace sobriety opens for just brief moments at a time. If you have a problem with alcohol, I hope this moment — this ONE RIGHT HERE – is such a time for you. If so, PLEASE grab it, and reach out for help.
I have never written about my alcoholism in a public way. But it is time. My disease can’t hurt me any longer, but maybe, just maybe it can help you! If you are an alcoholic I hope that, by writing this, I have opened the window of sobriety for you.
If you are reading this, there is at least a one in ten shot that you are silently suffering from alcoholism. You may think no one knows, but, trust me, we ALL do! And, if you won’t admit that for yourself, please admit it for the children, the loved ones, coworkers, and neighbors you are taking down with you. Because alcoholism, apart from any other disease, takes out a whole village with it.
My father wasn’t the only one who died on January 2nd, 1974. The version of who I might have been died as well that day. I will NEVER be the version of Jenny that I should have been had I not been abandoned by an alcoholic parent and left to languish for years pretending like I was like all the other little girls.
I will never have what should be the birthright of EVERY child – an opportunity to grow up safe and loved and free of adult worries. This is not a slam against my parents. My father left. My mother picked up the slack. I didn’t get the childhood I should have had. But my mother was there. She was NEVER not there.
I’m an adult now and I am now responsible for my own children. As a sober parent, I can AND DO provide a sober home for my family. My children have NEVER seen their mother take a drink. In fact, MY CHILDREN are the FIRST sober babies in THE HISTORY OF OUR FAMILY who have not grown up with active alcoholism!
Their Christmas season memories don’t include running to the mailbox every day after school looking for the acknowledgement that never came from one of their parents. They have not been shamed by being the only little girl with no one to take her to the Father-Daughter dance. (Who thought of that bullshit excuse for an event anyway?)
If you have the disease of alcoholism and you are not treating it, you are likely – very likely — to DIE from it. Alcoholism doesn’t care if you acknowledge it. It will happily kill you without your permission.
So, if you won’t get well for yourself, get well for the little girl that is going to attend her father’s funeral today. The one who didn’t have a daddy to walk her down the aisle, or teach her how to deal with abusive people. Get well for that little girl. You don’t have to know her, but you could honor the loss she feels by taking care of your own family.
IT’S ONLY TOO LATE IF YOU DON’T START NOW!
Today, one day at a time, I embrace a commitment toward my sobriety. I fully intend to die with my disease, not from it.
Let it begin with me.