Manic laughter, slurred singing, shrill voices.
Breaking bottles, slammed doors, muffled sobs.
Screaming, cursing, fighting.
This was the soundtrack of my life with alcoholic parents.
When they cracked open their first bottle of Heineken, everything seemed just peachy. They would wrap their arms around each other, swaying and singing ‘Pink’ by Aerosmith at the top of their lungs by candlelight. But that seemingly innocent first drink was always followed by another… and another… until the 12 pack was gone. Some nights, they would also consume something harder – vodka, goldschlager, jager bombs… shots, shots, and more shots. Our kitchen would be littered with so many bottles, you couldn’t see the counter.
The party would then go sour. All the pent up anger and frustration my parents had towards each other began to pour out. I’ve never heard anyone scream as loudly as my mom would as she was cursing out my father, brothers, and I. There was no forgiveness in our household – and each night, all the offenses would be brought back to the surface. My brothers would get involved, as well. There was a lot of physical aggression. Once, my brother slammed my dad’s face into our concrete block wall outside, and I had to accompany him to the hospital in the middle of the night. It was safer to go with him there than to stay at home
When I was younger, I would stay in my room, crying my eyes out, praying for my parents to get a divorce. As I grew older, I started to join in with the screaming matches. I would try so hard to convince my parents that they needed to stop drinking. I would cry, would curse them out, would try to reason with them. Then I would storm into my room, slamming the door behind me. My mom would follow me to the door, screaming, calling me names I couldn’t ever begin to repeat here. The door was barely hanging on by the hinges, and the door knob was loose from all the times she’d rattle at it and try to break it open. All of the doors in our house had multiple holes in them from angry, punching fists.
I hated my life. I didn’t know where to turn, what to do. I dreamed of committing suicide, but I was too afraid of death. Every week, the cops would be called to our house, and they knew us all by name. I was so ashamed of my family, and I would never have friends come over to spend the night. I was extremely envious of my friends who had ‘normal’ families with ‘normal’ issues. I wanted so badly to run away, but I felt trapped.
Not knowing what to do with the loneliness and despair I felt, I ended up embracing what I had always hated. I began to drink. I drank with my ‘friends,’ who were way older than me. I started to sneak beers out of the fridge, even though I hated beer, just to try and drown my thoughts. Eventually, once I realized my parents wouldn’t care if I started to drink, I would drink openly in front of them. When I was young, at 12 and 13, my mom would buy me alcohol to keep stashed in my room. By the time I was in high school, I would keep alcohol in my backpack and drink out on the dock behind my school. I absolutely hated the taste of alcohol, and almost would vomit each time I took a shot, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to forget. I couldn’t handle my thoughts anymore. From there, I turned to weed and trying out ecstasy, to try to make me feel ‘good.’ To make me ‘happy.’ But I was anything but happy.
It was when I felt the most broken and hopeless, that something unexpected happened. A girl that I had recently met invited me to join her at something called a Lovely Group. Frozen by insecurity, I refrained from going. I thought, “What would those girls think about me? I’m anything BUT lovely. They couldn’t handle my baggage. This girl doesn’t even know me! Why would she want me to come with her to this group?”
I am now so grateful for that friendly girl who continued to sweetly invite me, week after week. Eventually, I decided to say ‘yes’ to her invitation. That one small decision started an incredible domino effect of change and growth in my life.
I am no longer addicted to alcohol. I’ve found out that I have value – that my life has meaning. I have found an incredible support system of friends who are loving and honest with me, and who help me stay on track. I’ve had to work hard to break old habits and to form new ones – change didn’t come at the snap of my fingers. But finally, for the first time in my life, I wasn’t alone. Now, I’m a quirky perfectionist who loves fresh flowers and reading good books.
I have dreams of writing a book of my own one day. My favorite thing is to spend time with people (preferably over a delicious cup of coffee). Nothing has really changed too much with my family, but I have changed. I no longer let my parents decisions and lifestyles dictate how I live my life. I’ve learned how to love them, but also how to be independent from them.
Now, I love talking to other girls about their value! It’s the most exciting thing to me to see other girls get out of tough situations, find healing, and get connected with others who will love them, guide them, and push them towards their dreams. I once was known for always being depressed and desperate for attention. Now, I’m known as an encourager- I am Lovely!