Tag Archives: family


Let me go back to the beginning…

I’m a child of seven, woken from slumber at the stroke of midnight. Doors began slamming like the roof was on fire and people were rushing to leave. I threw my blanket to the edges in a hurry. As if pushing my ear against the poster-filled wall would save me some of the heartache from the violence I’d hear in the moments to come. This lullaby sang for years and it never got easier, the more I heard it.

I grew up watching the lives of family pass by. I sat in the corner, by myself, watching in blank expression. The people that climbed the stairs constantly changed, and I couldn’t recognize the faces, though I saw them frequently. I’d go back to the computer, writing pages upon pages of stories because I needed a way to cope. See, this family was functioning perfectly fine, but those moments we slipped up, stayed with me as I grew older. Night quickly became associated with a P.O. shoving past me to reach her target and I couldn’t comprehend the events that unfolded. I no longer recognized the stumbling drunks that passed out all day and disappeared often. I was my own best friend because I never knew who to turn to as a child.

So as an adult, I’m trying to figure out how to explain that I need a friend, or better yet, a brother. I know that if you looked me in the eyes, you wouldn’t know who was staring back. And I’m bleeding on these pages, trying to come to terms that what I want is not what I have. Life just gets in the way sometimes, and that, I understand. Maybe I’m just frozen, ruminating about our lives that I recall in memories. But I don’t want these month-long silences to go any further and I’m not sure where to start; it’s like letting go of a grudge you’ve held all your life. Where do we begin?


It was just a day ago that I promised to stay sober. Failure is easy to come by, however, and I’m too familiar with the concept of relapse. As I’ve said before: no one tells you that relapse is so damn easy.

I find myself sitting here as a hypocrite. I’ve reminded the ones I love that drugs only destroy – that you can get clean and live a happy life. Yet here I am, doing the deed of flying high because I have the opportunity. And though today my recovery starts over, I can’t help but feel thankful for the experience. Now I understand why people become so desperate to get their hands on some kind of euphoria. I no longer judge or protest against it.

So mom and dad, if you’re reading this, just know I’m doing my best. I promise I’m doing just fine. And it won’t be this way forever. Please understand, and don’t stop being proud.

And to my brothers, I finally understand. Maybe we’re more alike than you thought. I’d love to sit and chat and recover together, but we no longer talk like we did when we we’re kids. I miss that, even though I don’t ever voice it. Just realize your baby sister is grown, and I will always be here for you, and part with the wisdom I’ve gained, to help you. 

I really think I need my family to get through this. I have a family of my own, composed of friends I admire, but I crave the people of my blood too. I just don’t know where to begin, or how to ease the pain of this new knowledge I’m sure you don’t know. I’m not trying to be a burden. I just think I need you. 

Have A Margarita With Your Pain Killers

You carried yourself like a goddess; no flaws, just a walking piece of art. And if I hadn’t known any better, maybe I would have believed it. But I watched you throw back the drugs like candy and wash it down with a little bit of liquor. I could time it down to the hour.

It’s four o’clock and you reach for the bottle. I guess I learned from the best. I’m eighteen years old, taking thousands of milligram pills from the neighbors. And in my head, I know it is wrong. I’m looking in the mirror, a handful of pills, thoughts racing around my head.

How did I get here?

I can’t stop myself from washing them down with a cool drink. I walk back to the little gathering we had every weekend. I’m sitting in the living room, smiling faintly and sipping on my drink, trying to focus away from the lump in my throat. An hour passes by and I feel myself slipping away, but I don’t really care. I feel sick to my stomach, but the only thing left on my mind are the remaining three and a half pills in my pocket. I’m fighting myself, wondering if I should take them now or save them for later. I settle for the latter, because I’m not really sure that I can continue hiding the fact that I’m high as a kite. But my secret I had to keep.

Did you ever struggle like I have? Was there a reason behind your ritual? Did you even care about the example you set? Or maybe the fault is all my own; I swore to never be like you, but I hate to say I may be a spitting image.

Now I’m sitting here, debating whether or not to go back to NA, because though I haven’t slipped in the past few months, the thoughts never left. There is a creature lurking in the darkness, scratching my skin as I daydream in silence, waking me from a slumber I’ve managed well thus far. Is there a cure for this hell? Will I find it in a room full of strangers, though I never found it among friends? Am I crazy to believe that anything will help?

I watched you sip on your drinks and throw back pain killers like it was nothing. It became a habit even before I had access to the drugs. And though I don’t really blame you, I can’t help but wonder if it would all be different, had I not watched your example.


Little Girl

I’m tired of feeling like such a failure. Like I’m wrong for not attending every family gathering; or for not calling every Sunday, each family member. I’m so exhausted trying to be perfect for all of you that I hardly have time for myself.

You don’t see my daily struggles, my constant, fighting a depression that’s trying to kill me. Nine dollars an hour doesn’t afford frequent trips across the country – I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I can’t be perfect: the daughter and sister you wish you had. I never show it hurts me too, because if we’re all in pain, who is there left to blame? I’m tired of being a failure because you want something different. So when we talk on the phone and your voice falters because I’m not there, just know I’m dying inside; being torn in two, because I may not have visited lately, but you’ve also never traveled 900 miles just to say “Hey, it’s great to see you”.

Money was always a problem, even before I was homeless. I’m almost twenty-two and barely making it paycheck to paycheck. I have no money for doctor visits, even with insurance. I can’t even keep my brain on a steady level, because a psychologist costs $100 a visit and I have to shell out $1,500 before those visits are covered. But my sanity is less important than seeing my nephew. Who is this aunt he’s never met? I don’t know, because neither does she.

But I should be so much better, because I’m bright and I have a family who loves me…I have places to go, but not one place to call my home. Because home is this life I’ve created with my friends, and though it may not be the best option, there’s not one thing I’d change.

One thing I always lacked as a kid was a happiness of my own. Be a straight A student, go to college. Never get arrested or break the rules. Always be civil and suppress your anger – despite the secrets you know destroyed your image of family. My happiness was what you wanted of me, not what actually made me happy. And here it is again. It drags me down, further from my own future when you beg me to return home to Michigan. Instead of growing and living my life, I’m expected to step back because there’s an old life waiting for me to come home. And though aspects of that life mean everything to me, you have to understand I wouldn’t be returning to the life I remember. I’m not okay leaving a life that makes me happy, to a life that made me happy for one part of it.

I’m not saying goodbye or that I’m not grateful – trust me, I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for you – I’m simply asking you to listen for once.

If I had the opportunity to visit more, I would. Because my god do I love my dysfunctional family. But I’m not even twenty-two, and I need to take care of myself. It’s not selfish, it’s needed. Because I’m not a little girl anymore…