The Downs are the Ups in a Topsy-Turvy Life

Apparently alcoholism is a disease… But you can’t just catch it from being around a drunkard nor have alcoholism transmitted into your blood from another specimen. Doesn’t that defeat the definition of a disease? If you ask me, alcoholism is not a disease. It is a substance cowards waste their money on to run away from their problems of life. Oh, and I mean ‘run away’ as in passing out on the kitchen floor, bathroom floor, bed, you know, wherever they happen to drop—doesn’t really matter where. Quite frankly, drunkards don’t get much running done.

Growing up your whole life with a drunken parent isn’t fun nor is it easy. The loving parent-child relationship is never formed like it should’ve been long ago. Now, for the rest of the paper let us forget the alcoholic parent. Let’s view the child under the microscope. How do they feel? What are their goals? How does everything they do change from having the influences of an alcoholic parent? Let me be the one to tell you from firsthand experience.

My earliest memories were the good times. The irony in that is that my mother is absent. The next earliest memories with my mother are brutal, scary even… When I was six and seven years old my mother, her boyfriend, and I lived in a house in Hainesport, NJ. It was the worst year of my life. I would often suffer from insomnia as a little girl. Cartoon network was on yet sleep never came. The screams erupted from downstairs. The curious little girl named Nicole, me, would creep out her bedroom door which was at the top of the steps. Then she would slide down a few steps so she could peak between the railings. Mommy being choked with an extension cord, gasping for breath, boyfriend screaming ‘what’s it like to breathe?!’ What’s a little girl to do? Shed a few tears but she was used to this. She scurried up the stairs soundlessly to lie in her dark room with the cartoons usually sleeplessly. How else would I know what Gumby was? Inevitably, Mommy would be there in the morning.

The next morning, she would be alive. Of course, she was but our house was dead. Glass shattered across the floor, phone broken, everything scattered across the floor, spots of blood here and there. Hell had officially broken loose in my home… My home. A mess. A disaster.

Soon, we would move away from this broken home and retreat back to my grandmother’s. My safe haven. My grandmom’s is a warm welcoming place but my mother’s “disease” wasn’t cured. It would never be cured. My own young mind in a battlefield with itself… Was I the one who caused her to do the things she did? Did I stress her out so much that there was no other way for her to react?

As I grew older it only seemed to grow worse. Still to this day endless name calling, put downs, excessive verbal abuse. I deal. I always have. One only gains strength by how many times you get back up after being knocked off your feet.

As I grew older I bottled everything inside. I became a ticking time bomb by attempting to shelter myself. When would I go off? It was the 1st of April my junior year when I finally did go off. It was like I woke up a different person. My whole world was distorted. It only got worse as days progressed.

I couldn’t talk with anyone. It was almost as if I couldn’t hear. When someone said something to me or called my name I’d only acknowledge them if they were screaming in my face. I had no time perception. Nor could I decipher between my dream-state and reality. It was like a part of me wanted so desperately to believe that my entire life were one huge nightmare (it was easier that way)… Wanted to believe that I’d soon wake up a perfect daughter in a perfect bed on the perfect day with a perfect life and a perfect family. While the other part of me subconsciously knew this wasn’t true. It would never be true. How could it ever be true? I was lost in my own mind is one of the only ways I could describe it simply. This psychotically delusional episode ended me in Kennedy’s Child Adolescent Psychiatric Unit. They’re extremely nice people there and they helped me through recovery.

Even before my rare episode, I’ve known this; my episode just helped me understand it better in a way. It was a learning experience. My mother puts me down because she’s insecure in herself as a mother. Putting me down makes her feel powerful like the parent figure. She wants the best for me but doesn’t know how to express it. After reading this, you may believe my mother has been one of my worst influences in my life. I would have to agree with some aspects of that; I’ve grown to resent the woman I call my mother with every ounce of my loving soul… Yet, somehow she managed to teach me a hell of a lesson.

She taught me not to be like her. She taught me to be better than her. Taught me to go beyond the expectations. To go to college. To make something of myself instead of being a drunken waitress making minimum wage struggling to make what ends we have meet. Through all the underlying hatred she’s managed to inspire me to be all that I can possibly be. Sometimes, all the negatives in your life can make a positive. I’m not looking down from here. Only up. Up to all the wonders in the world saying ‘that could be me!’

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