Alcoholism This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Sheremembers the time they didn't get picked up at day care. You'd think she wouldhave forgotten by now, since so many years have passed, but some things areetched in your mind forever: the room emptying child by child, twilight darkeningthe sky outside the playroom windows, the child-care workers glancing at her andher brother, whispering among themselves. Then her mom rushing in, apologizingprofusely, her face red with anger and shame, bundling them up quickly andhurrying out the door.

That's when she saw it - her father's truck, parkedoutside the center. She remembers her confusion - what was he doing here? Why hadthey both come? Her mom's lips in a thin line, face tight with anger, she carriedthem to the truck. Banging on the window, shouting to him to wake up, she startedto cry.

"How could you do this? They were the last ones hereagain!"

It's funny the perspective the years can give you. At thetime, it was just another day, another argument, the same turmoil that markedmost of her childhood. Now, she sees it for what it was - the tangible result ofalcoholism.

He started drinking when he was 16, just like his friends. Itwas no big deal - riding around Friday nights sharing a bottle, blasting themusic and having a few laughs. As he got older, he drank in clubs and bars,legally. But it wasn't the same as for his friends: he wasn't interested in themusic, the conversation, the girls. It was about getting that first drink and thenext and the next - until he had that glow he craved.

And then he grew up,or so he thought. He got a job, got married, had kids, bought a big house in anice suburb. He was living the American dream. Except for the sneaking downstairsat night for a few beers. Or the ones he hid in his pockets when he walked thedog. Or the empties that rolled around the floor of his truck. Or that he hid inhis tool box, the toy chest and behind the water heater in thebasement.

He never knew how much his kids saw. He didn't remember half ofwhat he did - or didn't do: the days the bus dropped them off from school andthey found him passed out on the couch. There was the time he fell asleep anddidn't bring his son to his first Little League practice. The evenings he camehome from work late, half-drunk, so his wife couldn't go to Bible Study withoutworrying for their safety. The nights his friends had to carry him into thehouse. The nights the police brought him home, or to jail. The drunk-drivingcharges, the counseling sessions, rehab. None of it made a difference. Not eventhe final straw - the time he held his wife at the second-floor window andthreatened to throw her out.

And so he lost it all - his wife, his kids,his house, his job, even his dog. But he still had his drinking; that never lefthim. And if you ask him today, he'll tell you everything is fine. He has anotherjob (for now), he lives with his parents (sometimes), he gets rides from hisfriends, he pays his child support (most of the time), his ex- wife still talksto him (when she has to), and his kids still love him.

You're right, Dad,we do.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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