I got sober when Meghan was 7 years old. During my drinking ‘career’ I selfishly believed that it didn’t effect her. I humbly and remorsefully learned otherwise. Since then, I have kept an open and honest dialogue with Meghan regarding my alcoholism and with alcohol in general. That being said, I was completely taken aback after a recent trip to Costco dredged up horrible memories for Meghan.
Now 11 years old, I will occasionally leave Meghan home alone during the day, while I run an errand close by. This particular day it was Costco. She was busy with homework, and didn’t want to go. So I packed up her brother, said I would be home in an hour, and locked the door behind me. Shopping got done quickly (for Costco), texted Megs to let her know I would be home shortly, and she responded with the thumbs up emoji (typical). While unloading our groceries, I noticed Megs acting uneasy. She wouldn’t talk ( giant red flag), and wouldn’t make eye contact. I persisted and she broke down crying. Through the crocodile tears she told me that when I asked her to go shopping, and responded no, the memory of my last drunk came rushing back to her. That day 4 years ago, I had asked her to goto the store with me, she replied no, and an hour or so later I came home wasted..
I was completely taken aback. I was speechless. All I could do was wrap my arms around my little girl and hold her tight, with tears rolling down my cheek. I’m still a bit emotional about it a few days later……
I looked Meghan in the eyes, and told her point blank I wasn’t drinking, and had no plan or intention to pick up a drink. She was able to tell me that she wasn’t worried about me drinking, but for whatever reason, the shopping trip brought up the horrible memory….. Dagger to my heart…
Truth is; my drinking, my alcoholism my past will never go away. Those I love the most will always carry a memory somewhere within their pysche….and no one knows what or who or when a trigger will drudge this crap up.
I know I can’t change the past, nor do I want too. The best thing I can do is to continue to be open and honest about my sobriety and recovery. I must keep talking to Meghan (and eventually her brother), about alcohol, addiction, peer pressure, and how my drinking has affected them. Knowledge is power.
I know this is what I should do, and I will, but as a mom, my heart aches knowing that I caused my child’s anxiety. No child should have to witness the self destructive behavior of a parent. I have worked to forgive myself, but it only took this seemlessley innocent encounter to rekindle so many miserable feelings of guilt and shame….Fortunately, I know in my heart of hearts that picking up will not make a damn thing better.
4 years ago Meghan and I made a pact, I promised that I wouldn’t pick up a drink, we pinky swore on it. A few days ago we did it again… It’s meaning not lost to either of us.