Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Memories

As I've mentioned many times, my mother was an alcoholic when I was growing up. I don't blame her anymore and our relationship is better now than it's been in years. But dem's da facts. Part of the reason I started cleansing was not just to be able to keep drinking in my life in a healthier way - but because I didn't want to end up like my mom! And that was happening to me.

Some of my worst drunken memories of her happened during Christmas - understandably since so much partying goes on. I remember one time when I was about seven or eight, she was up drinking all night on Christmas Eve with her friends. When they went home, she kept at it and she was still up - absolutely wasted - early Christmas morning when my brother (who's two years younger than me) and I got up to see if Santa had come.

I don't remember exactly how it happened, but something set her off and she went into a drunken rage. She actually grabbed my tiny white suitcase and packed some of our clothes into it and then, yelling and screaming, she sent me and my brother out the door into the cold ... in our flannel pajamas ... so early on Christmas morning, the sun wasn't even completely up.

The sky was a dull gray-blue, casting the same bluish light on the freshly fallen snow. The roads hadn't been plowed yet and the snow was at least six inches deep. I remember feeling the cold air on my legs, bare underneath my nightgown, and the snow sifting into the tops of my boots as we started to wander aimlessly through the neighborhood.

I always felt responsible for my little brother and I remember feeling so helpless that morning. I held his hand in one hand and carried my suitcase in the other. I was crying, looking around at all the houses, wondering where we were supposed to go on Christmas morning if we couldn't go home.

There was nobody about. Not a single car, nobody walking anywhere. The streets were abandoned. But the houses weren't. Because you could tell people were just starting to wake up behind closed doors. Christmas lights were blinking merrily around the eaves of the decorated houses. Wreaths were hung on doors. Behind glowing windows I could see Christmas trees and candlelight. I imagined all the lucky kids waking up in those safe, happy homes and wondered - with more than a little confusion - why I couldn't have a family like that too.

My little brother and I didn't get far. I really only circled the block once or twice, having no money and no idea where to go. When we got back home, I think my mother had passed out. I don't remember any other drama - not that morning, anyway. But there were many more drunken nightmares heading my way in the coming years ... I just didn't know yet.

Of course when my mother woke up, she had no memory of what she had done and as always, I was so eager for peace and love that I forgave her. And of course she said it would never happen again. Never!

But it always did.

I'll share some of my other drunk-mother Christmas memories over the holidays. Because seriously, I asked myself what I really wanted to accomplish with this plan (besides being able to keep wine in my life) and it's this: I want to save one kid's Christmas.

Because I know what it was like to be so hopeful for a happy Christmas. So hopeful that things would be different this time. That Christmas cheer would not turn into a raving nightmare for me. But it usually did. Even as early as ten years ago ... and that was the last time I went home for the holidays.

Ahhh ... Christmas memories ... the bad ones always seem to win out. Which is why I hope this plan will help one mom or dad, unknowingly trapped in the cycle of dopamine/depression and addiction, deal with (and enjoy!) the partying of Christmas - without traumatizing their kids. Because I know nobody really wants to ruin Christmas, no matter how drunk they are. They just didn't know how to handle it ... until now.

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