“The evening begins when I am eight and my sister, eleven. We were trying to finish dinner before he’d unraveled. Within minutes, I’m hiding under the dining room table, cowering’ praying that he won’t see my hiding place.”
Hiding places – we all have them when growing up in a family that battles addiction. The rage – physical and mental – comes unexpectedly. We never know when our daily life will change. We are children that hope for the loving parent we only see glimpses of, hoping for a day of what we envision is NORMAL, like other families.
Hiding from the violence, verbal assaults, red, drunken faces — we find the places where we’re safe. Sometimes it gives children respite. Sometimes the hiding place is more frightening that being involved in the actual rage. One of my hiding places was the dining room table. Another was the basement. I feared the basement. Shadows, skeletons lurking, the unknown . . . it was a tradeoff for me.
Now here is the positive side of being raised this way.
If you can.
Take one small step.
Join a committee at school.
Join a meet up group.
Go to an AA meeting
Join an Alcoa group.
Anything to remove yourself from the toxic, spinning situation at home. Can’t? Too young? Write in a journal. Allow yourself to write the most horrible thoughts. I wrote about killing my father. Did I really want to? No. But metaphorically, yes. I wanted his alcoholism dead. Writing down my fears helped me understand them.
Take a moment. Meditate. Sit in the park. No park? Find that hiding place.
#BrokenBottles #YALit #ComingofAge #FamilyDrama #WomensContemporaryFiction