“Mommy’s on the floor and she won’t get up.”
Normally, I’d be mad at my sister for interrupting my homework, but on an otherwise regular Wednesday night of my junior year of high school, I knew that her tear–stained cheeks and panicked words overrode the importance of my A.P. US History class.
I’ve dealt with my mom’s alcoholism for as long as I can remember. I’d grown accustomed to the routine: glasses of red wine before, during and after dinner. Then she’d yell at me and my brother and sister, sentencing us to bed at around 7:30. Then I’d tell my siblings that its ok, “Mommy’s just had a little too much to drink.” Then I’d do my homework and try to forget all about it until the next night, when the whole cycle would start over again.
That Wednesday night, when I walked into the kitchen with my sister, I found my mom lying with her head and her torso twisted around one of the kitchen table legs. As usual, my dad was not home so I called the ambulance myself. My sister knelt in the corner of the kitchen hysterically praying and I held my mother’s tiny wrist, making sure she still had a pulse. I prayed too. Selfishly, I wasn’t praying for her health, I prayed that she'd had a seizure, a heart attack, a stroke. I prayed that it wasn’t alcohol that had put her under the table. I prayed that the AA meetings she’d begun attending a few months ago had actually led her to sobriety. But I knew, I knew, she was lying there because of alcohol—vodka, I’d learn later. Enough to bring her to a .38 Blood Alcohol Content. Enough to lead a petite woman like my mom to imminent death, which was her intent.
After that night, my mother spent a month in rehab and has been attending AA meetings twice a day. She’s been sober for four years. But I haven’t been.
I’m a college student. My social life revolves around alcohol. Drinking is inescapable. And honestly, I don’t want to escape it. But as I let the Banker’s singe the back of my throat, am I destining myself to become like my mother?
More than anything, I’m scared that I’m going to follow the same fate, drowning life’s hardships in alcohol. In ten years, I don’t know whether I’ll find myself at the head of a boardroom table or whether my children will find me passed out under our kitchen table. And that scares the shit out of me.
All I can do is remember and let those memories guide me. As I tip back a red solo cup, letting the vodka burn my chapped lips, I know that there are some things I will never be able to black out. I know that there is more for me than the seven types of alcohol in a Blarney Long Island. I know I am not my mother.