HOW I STAYED DETACHED FROM DAD’S ALCOHOLISM
What are the adventures we create to enter an alternate world of joy, love, and a healthy family when we are only children?
For me, it was making friends, real and imaginary.
- Real friends
- Things to do at school
- My sister
My neighbor was my best friend. I hopped the fence to play at her house any time I could. She was real. Her parents knew about my dad, but never talked about it. They saw him passed out on the front lawn, knew the countless vehicles he totaled, but never mentioned anything.
The things they did for me? I was invited to dinner, shopping, and countless play dates, day after day. It was my great escape.
Another friend? My sister. She was six years older and often in her own circle of friends, but when she was home, she engaged with me and we detached together in games, music, and TV.
Imaginary? Yes, I played with them, taught them in imaginary classrooms and explained imaginary lessons. I played handball with them against the back of the house, and basketball on the playground. I didn’t need a partner with me for those games.
It was food. My mother rewarded me with it. She comforted me with it. When dad was at his worst, she bought bags of cookies, gallons of ice cream, dozens of candy bars, bags of potato chips . . . I sat in front of the TV on Saturday morning watching cartoons and eating. Eating. Eating.
It turned into my battle. No, I did not rage like my father. I did not become co-dependent like my mom, but I was left with an addiction to battle forever . . . just like dad.
Does this resonate with you?
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