By Becky Sherrick Harks
I am an adult child of two alcoholics, and although there are nifty acronyms used to refer to us, I prefer my real name: Becky. The Internet knows me as Aunt Becky and I blog over at a seemingly incongruently named site: “Mommy Wants Vodka.” Perhaps you have heard of me, mixed into articles about Diane Schuler, the lady who killed her kids, bashing me for being a Cocktail Mom.
My blog was named as a tongue-in-cheek joke, which is easily lost in the negativity swirling about the tragedy. Perhaps on paper (or computer screen) this is how I sound: like a lousy drunk who is unfortunately a mother. When, you know, I can sober up enough to actually, you know, parent my children. I hate to shatter expectations to those looking for a quick target to let their anger at alcoholics out on, but I am not a drunk. Humor–tasteless to you, perhaps–is the way that I cope.
In reading up on the other issues facing my cohorts, my fellow children of alcoholics–who also, presumably, have names–I think that in spite of the flack that I get, humor is the far healthier way to handle it. I’ve somehow, by the grace of God, perhaps, been able to avoid many of the nastier lasting effects of my childhood. I am not shy, I do not suffer from low self esteem, and I don’t obsessively hoard china cat figurines.
I do have anxiety and guilt, and I frequently blame myself for things that never had anything to do with me. I cannot trust even my husband with certain things, not because he wouldn’t be unfailingly kind, but because it is ingrained in me to not trust other people.
For all of the controversy surrounding me on The Internet, on the sites that bash me, nothing–NOTHING–can compare to what swirls within me. Every day, every single day that I wake up, I wonder if today will be the day that it hits. We adult children of alcoholics are four times more likely than the general population to develop issues with substance abuse. FOUR TIMES.
For someone like me, who has not one, but two alcoholic parents, this number must be infinitesimally higher. So I wait. Somewhat impatiently, I wait for the day when I will feel the need to become staggeringly drunk and fall down the stairs. Or take to my bed, weeping at what has become of me.
It’s exhausting, this waiting for the other shoe to drop.
But I don’t think that drinking is Of The Devil, no matter how much I hate the smell of scotch and the scent memories that live on, well beyond their lifespan. While I do not recall the last time I had a drink, I have had one and I will continue to have them now and again. The liquor cabinet is well-stocked at my house, and always has been. I’ve not felt the urge to drink myself to obliteration in at least five years and I don’t longingly wait for a cocktail at the end of a long day. Frankly, for as uncool as I will no doubt paint myself now, forever banned from the tattoo-biker moms, I’d be horrified to drink at a playdate.
So I sit and I wait, and while I do this, I build a life for myself: I’m a mother, a writer, a wife and a friend. A daughter. A sister. A niece and a cousin.
My name is Becky, and I am not an alcoholic.
Becky Sherrick Harks is an overachieving nurse who retired from the profession after an admirable 3 months. She stays home now, writing, raising kids and making mischief. She blogs at Mommy Wants Vodka (http://www.mommywantsvodka.com) pretty much every day that ends in “day.”