I announced that I finally understood what everyone had been saying about how alcohol was a clear gateway to drugs, a fact I'd never known before because I'd always done drugs all the time -- without ever needing alcohol to ease the transition or give me the idea.
It's not that I have any doubt that I'm an alcoholic. I know what alcoholics look like, and they look a heck of a lot like me. And my mom, and my aunt, and my grandfather. The specter of all those slurry words and empty, glassy stares loom large in my childhood memories.
I began drinking more often and little by little, I was out of control. But, I couldn't admit it to anyone. If I said it aloud, it would be an admission that I was a failure. At the time, I felt that I'd rather be dead than a failure -- a less-than-perfect mom.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force just issued a report and an advisory that all sensible men and women would do well to take heed of. This panel reviewed a large body of research on drinking patterns among adult men and women.
I knew that my father had been an alcoholic, but as my parents divorced when I was 5 and I had no memory at all of any of my early years (a clue!) and only remembered a mother who adored me, I really thought I'd had a great childhood. I always believed I was unaffected by his drinking!
Adult children of alcoholics (ACoAs) can and often do suffer from some features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that are the direct result of living with the traumatizing effects of addiction.
Recently, my eight year old son asked me if I'd ever been in jail. We were talking after dinner about what happened to "bad guys," how society dealt with them, where they ended up. He had been allowed some cable TV, and this is, apparently, what he learned.