by Karen Franklin
My father’s alcoholism was an embarrassment. Some families had their dirty little secrets but my dad was so extreme with his drinking that I felt like everyone knew, which made it feel even more humiliating. My family lived in a two-story house with my mom’s brother and family upstairs. I imagined what they must have thought as they listened to my father’s drunken rages against our family. I hated everything about alcohol; how it smelled, how it tasted and how my father behaved when he drank it.
So how did it happen that I too touched the bottle to my lips at the age of thirteen and became an instant alcoholic? I was smarter though because I didn’t need to drink every day, only when I felt I needed it. I moved far away and married a man who was a quieter version of my father and we started a family. His increased drinking and abuse of drugs soon disillusioned me. If he was the problem, why did I still feel so empty after I divorced him? I curtailed my partying as I took on the role of single parent and breadwinner while creating an illusion that my life was under control. That worked well until the addiction started to show up in my young teenagers.
When the pain of watching my children being consumed by addiction became greater than my occasional need to self medicate, I knew that it was time to break the cycle. I understood that my family was once again being destroyed by addiction and it was time to take action to stop this legacy of pain. I became willing to take whatever action was needed. My sobriety date is one month behind my daughter Lauren.
In a way… I guess you could say we saved each other.
Karen Franklin, the co-author with her daughter of ADDICTED LIKE ME, A Mother-Daughter Story Of Substance Abuse and Recovery (www.addictedlikeme.com), has spent the past twenty-one years recovering from the legacy of her family addiction. She resides in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and has committed her life to helping others in their personal recovery process.