Not Repeating The Cycle

People wonder why we don’t drink alcohol. Why there is no alcohol in my house and why we may take a sip or two of a wine cooler once a year. I’m not a prude. I’m not judgemental of those who drink socially. I’m not going to shun you if you have a little drink now and then.

The reason is simple. I don’t want to repeat the cycle of my childhood with my own daughter. I will not subject her to the trauma that I was afforded as a child.  I do my best not to call people out in my blog, because I do know people personally who read it. I have family and friends who know me outside the internet and will likely read it.

However, this time, the straw is broken. I am so fed up I can’t stand it. My little girl is playing happily in the livingroom where I am typing, my partner is asleep. The only way to vent this anger I have about to explode is to write it down. To share it with unsuspected internet followers.

For that, I apologize.

I will never understand why grown people find it FUN to get drunk. To get so wasted they don’t remember what happened. It’s so incredulous to me that grown people think it awesome to teach their teenagers that it’s ok to disrespect people and it’s ok to be violent. Especially when you are drunk, you just don’t know what you are doing, so it’s ok.

I will never understand why these grown people are parents. I suppose I shouldn’t say that, because if the grown people I am talking about were not parents, I would not be here. Yes, I am talking about my own parent. I am the product of alcoholism.

Growing up, I have learned, especially after having my own daughter, that our parents do the best they can. The baby doesn’t come out and hand you a parenting manual with their screaming first cries. Parents do the best they can with what they have. I get that. I give a little leeway for that.

Frankly, though, no child should have to hide under a bed with a pillow over their heads to muffle the sounds of glass breaking and screaming matches in the kitchen. No child should have to watch their parent dragged away in handcuffs – headed off to jail. No child should have to worry where their next meal may be coming from because their parent is too busy locked in another room drinking it up.

So, when people say that my daughter is at a disadvantage because she has two moms, I want to remind those people of my childhood. A child with two straight parents. A mom and a dad. I don’t ever claim that I had a worse childhood than anyone else. I don’t write this for pity. I write this for awareness. I write this to remind parents that their children should come first.

I understand addiction. I do. I was addicted to cigarettes. I am the first person to admit that I smoked throughout my ENTIRE 42 weeks of pregnancy. Demonize me if you must, I deserve it. I am so ashamed of those moments when I lit up a cigarette while my daughter was kicking in my womb. Thank goodness, she’s healthy and had no birth problems. I am still ashamed.

That addiction was a hard habit to kick. I have been smoke free for over a year now, so I know how hard it can be to stop something that has it’s claws in you. I also know how hard it is to make that decision to stop an addiction for the sake of your child. So, I don’t write this from a martyr’s standpoint. I don’t stand here and proclaim perfection.

Parenting is about decisions. It’s about sacrifice. I don’t care if you are a mom and a dad or a mom and a mama or a dad and a papa. It doesn’t matter your family dynamic. Children benefit from love and responsibility. Children benefit from support and encouragement. They benefit from parents who try their best and do what they feel is right.

Society says that children need to have a female and a male influence. I agree that children benefit from seeing gender roles that are set forth by society. I do not agree that they have to be a mom and a dad. I also don’t agree that children have to know the gender roles set up by society so that they can emulate them, because I don’t agree that children have to be what society wants them to be.

I got off on a tangent. What I mean is, children benefit from parents who teach them to love, respect, and encourage. They benefit from parents who show them acceptable ways to behave. They benefit from parents who care enough to put their needs before booze or addiction.

I’m so angry that I am 29 years old, and I am still affected by the parenting I was raised with. I am still crying – still having flashbacks of myself at 12 and 15. Then, just when I think it’s over, just when I think I am over it, something like this happens.

Something that makes me remember why I plan to teach my daughter about love, cause and effect, and learning from our mistakes. So many of the people I know, have never learned from their mistakes. That’s the biggest lesson of all.

I apologize, I am all over the place. My head is not quite here today. I just don’t understand how some people get so far off track. Anyway, thanks for being a sounding board for my rant.

16 thoughts on “Not Repeating The Cycle

  1. The mere fact you recognize the changes and circumstances you need to adhere to speak volumes about what type of amazing mom you are. Shitty childhoods can produce amazing people DETERMINED to not make the same mistakes!

    • I completely agree with CJ and it was almost exactly what I was going to say as well. You are not your parent who struggled with alcoholism. You recognize the effect your behaviors are having on your kid and you take responsibility for those behaviors. This was something your parent couldn’t do even though you needed it desperately. I’m so sorry for your loss of the parent you needed and know intimately that this kind of pain never disappears completely. However, it does get easier over time. I am sending you a big hug today. Love and light from me. xoxo, Abby

      • Abby – thanks so much for commenting with your awesome words of encouragement. I have, once again, gotten over it until the next episode of drama! I really appreciate your virtual hugs! I absolutely love having all these awesome people to turn to in such a time of need emotionally! I sure wish I knew you all in real life! 🙂

  2. Much love to you as you figure out how to parent with love, respect and responsibility. My dad is an alcoholic and addict – although he is currently sober – and I totally get the lasting way this gets to us and impacts our ability to show up in the world. Have you ever been to an al-anon or adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) meeting? They have been lifesavers for me, especially when I repeated some of my childhood lessons by dating active alcoholics and abusive partners. I’m so grateful for the things I learned and learn in 12 step programs. Love to you!

    • Andie, thanks so much! I actually have never heard of anything like that for adults and I always thought Al-anon was more for teenagers or spouses. I will look into it. Though, unfortunately, with my anxiety, it makes it difficult to actually get out and meet new people, so it may take me a while before I make the step to go, but I appreciate you bringing it to my attention!

      • I really recommend ACOA – if you can find a good group! There are fewer of them but they really are a good fit for me. Al-anon is for anyone, friend or family, impacted by someone else’s drinking, but ACOA is really specifically for adults with alcoholic parents. My partner is in recovery as well and it is such a huge support to her and I’m so grateful for the ways AA has changed the lives of people I love. I’m so glad you posted so we could connect about this!

      • I’m so grateful to have such a network of strong and wonderful women like you! I will look around for a group. I never really realize how much this stuff weighs on my shoulders until we have an incident, ya know. It really just makes me question how I will parent and how my childhood affects that.

  3. I understand how you feel! Both my mother and father (if you can call them that) Had addictions to cocaine, my mother still does!! I grew up in and out of homeless shelters and worried every second of my so called childhood! I vowed I would be different! I have never done drugs or drank! It is amazing how much your background can effect who you grow to be! I struggle from time to time with flash backs and the fact that I don’t really have a mom or a dad! They have no relationship with me and they have very little if any contact with my daughter! I feel stronger because of my past, I feel it has empowered me and helped me see the world a little differently! I believe my experience has made me a much better parent. Counselling helped me work through a lot! As hard as it is sometimes we have to search for the good that those bad times have brought out in us! Hoping your day gets brighter girl!! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your story with my Crystal. It reminds me again that someone always has it worse than me. I’m sorry you had such a crappy childhood. I know how that feels to a degree! I’m glad I have such a network of women who can be supportive of each other and so determined to make sure our children are so much better off than we were.

  4. You have come so far. And you are changing the future for the little girl you have given life to. You have every right to be angry, and you also have every right to try and understand your parents. We all have to strive to do better for our children, no matter how we were raised. You are already doing this. Bravo.

  5. Wow, thank you for sharing such a powerful and important message. I know it can be hard to share some of the darker aspects of our lives over the internet, but your post has certainly touched and resonated with readers, including me. Your daughter is lucky that you’ve chosen to break that sad cycle.

    • Thanks so much, Katy! I appreciate your kind words! It’s comforting to me to know that my daughter will not have the same childhood, it’s just something that scares me sometimes to think about repeating.

  6. Ugh.

    One, you’re a gorgeous lady and doing a great job.

    Two, I am so sorry that someone had to behave like a trigger for you.. I drink maybe 3-4 times a year and I lay off it like that just because unfortunately (although fortunately not a parent) I was exposed to someone who has forever drank and behaved like an ass when doing so.

    Three, no way is your kid going to behave like that with a mom like you.

    • Oh, now, Jenny. Thanks so much! I really appreciate such great words. They are kind and reassuring. I am glad to know I am not alone in this crazy world of addiction and sadness. Again, I just keep saying how thankful I am to have ladies to vent to that understand!

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