When I was 8-years-old, my mother and father got a divorce. They were always arguing and yelling at each other, so the divorce was probably for the best. My father was always a workaholic and during their marriage, my mother actually had stopped drinking alcohol, except for a couple times a year. However, after the divorce everything changed for me, although my siblings seemed to handle it better than I. My mother went from barely drinking to going out and getting drunk multiple times a week. She left us with whoever would watch us: our grandmother, our uncle, other family members, neighbors, boyfriends she had, and the list continues.
My Mother Fell Into Alcoholism
I had watched my mother fall into her alcoholism very fast. Of course, being young at the time, I didn’t realize she had an addiction. What did I know at the time? Well, when I would wake up in the morning, I would go into my mother’s room with her lying there passed out in bed. She would have migraines and hangovers, so we had to be quiet or go play outside. She needed someone to take care of her and that is when I became the caretaker – I still am today with everyone. I would bring her salt water, bring her breakfast, take care of her clothes, and clean up after her. There were even times when there would be vomit on the floor and I would clean that up as well. My childhood was never the same after my mother started drinking.
One Very Traumatic Day Leading To Many More
There is a traumatic day in my past that led to many more. A day that I never talked about until a couple of years after I had gotten sober from my own alcoholism. At this point, I was 23-years-old and I started having nightmares. The reason I had never shared this specific memory was because I had repressed it due to the trauma it caused me in my early childhood. I know it really happened because of the personal history of the guy involved and because I’ve finally talked to others in my family about him.
On many occasions that my mother does not remember, when she would go out drinking, she would leave us with a distant relative. This relative was around 27-years-old at the time. I was only 8-years-old. He would come into my brother’s and my room when my brother was sleeping. I had the bottom bunk on our bunk beds. He climbed into my bed, the first time was about two months after I turned 8-years-old. He started by only holding me and caressing my hair. Since I didn’t get very much time with my own dad, I craved the attention. I was just a child and I didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong and inappropriate. This happened repeatedly and eventually it led to him molesting me. This continued off and on for about a year until he went to jail for raping a teenage girl.
That molestation never went noticed by anyone in my family and I have since found out that he did the same things to someone else in my family, all around the time he was molesting me. My need for attention and blocking out any real emotions were never noticed by my mother during my childhood. Everyone seemed to be blind to the pain I was going through, so I blocked out the pain too.
Wonders of My Mother’s Alcoholism
I can’t help but to think how my life would have been different if my mother hadn’t started drinking and become an alcoholic. Would I have ever been molested? Would I always feel like I was being ignored? Would I have acted out in my teenage years? Would I have been raped when I was fifteen years old? Would I have three different children with three different fathers? Would I have ever become an alcoholic? Would I have been divorced at the age of 21? Would I have met my current husband in a topless dancing club?
Now, I don’t blame my mother for everything that has happened to me but my mind still asks these questions from time to time. These questions will all go unanswered because I can’t change the past. What I can do, however, as I have learned in my own addiction recovery process, is to find the positive in the situation.
Positives I Can Take From My Mother’s Alcoholism
While there is never going to be a way that I can have a real childhood, I can learn from everything that has happened to me. Yes, I had a rough life and went through eight years of living in an alcoholic lifestyle of my own. However, I am now over four and a half years sober. I have three beautiful children. I have a husband who stands by my side no matter what. I have written and published an addiction and recovery self-help book. I have learned many lessons in my life and I still have a smile on my face, almost all day, every day.
I know that no matter how gloomy my life looks, I remember that I have made it through more than many can imagine, and I am still alive! I can do anything I put my mind to. I have control now, my mother’s alcoholism does not!
Cara Havens, author of Overcoming Any Addiction: Finding the Inner You, works as a professional freelance writer. Cara began her sobriety in April 2011 and specializes in addiction and addiction recovery. She also enjoys spending time with her three children and her husband.