Welcome back to the Terror Dome! I have been a writing fiend this week. My parents are doing really poorly and processing out some of my history has been incredibly helpful. Let’s get back to it.

Where was I? Oh right. High school. Dun, Dun, DUNNN!!! I had given up trying to get the attention of my peers. They didn’t care. The ones who did care, I was too lost to notice. It was time to pull out the big guns, that’s right. It was time to get the attention of two alcoholics. Now, alcoholics are pretty consumed with their own lives. They don’t want anything added to their lives that could take away from their drinking. For example, an unruly teen getting in trouble would be highly unwanted.

Wait a second Grumpy Sunshine, who wants an unruly teen? That’s true reader, nobody. Teenagers suck. But this teenager decided to pull out all the stops in order to get the attention of her parents who were incapable of noticing what was going on outside of their bottle.

Decided to take it up a notch. I decided to start “sneaking out” at night. To be honest, the phrase “sneaking out” is a stretch. I literally would just walk out the front door around midnight and walk back in whenever I returned. I was never caught. I wasn’t incredibly quiet but I also wasn’t playing the trumpet on my way out the door. One of my friends would pick me up and we would go out for a few hours. Parents never seemed to notice. Next.

Let’s turn up the volume. I was hanging around people my parents knew smoked weed. I would bring them over, I would even brag about going to be with them, these kids that had been labeled as “trouble makers”. My friends were starting to pull away from me because even they had noticed I had changed. Not my parents though. Next.

I started dressing a little more inappropriately. My dad would roll his eyes but didn’t make any comments. I was an okay looking kid in high school. When I wore short shorts, they looked EXTRA short because of how long my legs were. Even my friends would comment when my shirts were skin tight or my midriff was showing (this was before it was in style to show off your stomach). My parents never advised me to dress otherwise. Next.

I started goofing off at practice and my coach would get annoyed with me but she never called my parents, probably because she knew they were alcoholics. I was striking out left and right trying to get attention from my parents. My two guy friends I mentioned in my last post, they noticed. They made a few comments but never really told me to get it together.

By the end of my sophomore year, I was sneaking out regularly, hanging around some questionable people, and my old friends had all but disappeared. Neither of my parents said a word. This is when it started getting sad for me. Maybe they didn’t even care. Maybe they knew all of this and they were so self absorbed, it didn’t even matter. How valuable was I to them? It felt like I was nothing. Well, not nothing. They still paid for all my expenses and let me do whatever I want…that’s caring, right?

The end of the year arrives. I am dating an older student so I am asked to the prom. My parents don’t think twice about letting me go. They take pictures, buy me the outfit, get my hair done, blah, blah, blah. There were no talks about rules really other than to be home by 1:00am. I decide to push my luck. That night after prom, we go out, and I come home way after curfew. I have to have gotten their attention this time. The only rule they gave me, I broke. I was even excited to wake up that morning. I quickly went downstairs at breakfast but my mom wasn’t around. My dad is sitting there doing the jumble and asks me why I was so late. I look ashamed but I am actually excited inside. He noticed something! I tell him we had been drinking and had to wait for a sober driver. He told me he was proud of me for not drinking and driving…that was the end of the discussion.

I think making that comment was a good parenting move but it probably should have been followed up by a “you’re grounded” or “don’t drink underage” or “where did you get the alcohol?” but it wasn’t. I don’t know if he ever told my mom but they never brought it up again. My friends were incredibly jealous that my parents didn’t care. A lot of them had gotten in trouble.

So, I had a decision to make. I could keep screwing up until the point where they had to pay attention or I could go back to being responsible. It really didn’t matter to them either way. I had to choose what would be best for me. I really enjoyed having fun and going out but I also missed being the responsible family member. It was nice getting complimented by people for being so mature. I missed being noticed for that. I wasn’t killing it as the unruly teen anyway.

I decided on a mixture of both. I was still sneaking out at night. To be honest, I really enjoyed the free food at 2am. But I stayed out of trouble in school.  The only way I was going to get away from my parents alcoholism was by going to a good school far away. I couldn’t imagine any other alternatives. That became my new obsession. I found a school in a different state that multiple family members had attended. I told all my friends about it over that summer. It was my new dream. It gave me something to work towards and it helped me imagine a life where my parents alcoholism didn’t affect my everyday activities. Let’s call the school, South City.

In my next blog post, I am going to discuss one of my biggest regrets from high school that happened at the same time my mom started going to AA. Junior year was a tough one after this incident. It’s one of those things that you think about and immediately squint your eyes shut to push out the memory. It will be painful to write about but I think it is necessary. The next few posts after that will be about my visit to South City with my mom and the aftermath.

Please subscribe if you are enjoying the blog! I have had some wonderful emails from those of you who can relate. I enjoy hearing from you!

-Grumpy Sunshine.

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Grumpy Sunshine

About me: Oh boy. The big thing here, my main focus, is that I am the adult child from an alcoholic home. My mother is a straight up, textbook, pain in the butt alcoholic. My dad drinks too much but probably wouldn’t be defined as an alcoholic. Enough about them. This is my about me. I love me. I learned to cope with my parent’s issues through my sense of humor. Sometimes I use it to distance myself, sometimes I use it because the situation really can be funny. I decided to start this blog because I can’t be the only person who appreciates humor in the darkest hours of our lives. And as a wise friend asked me today, why not invest in yourself? I hope you take something from these stories. It could be inspiration to address a family member’s problem, the strength to stand up for yourself, or even if it is just a laugh at my wonderfully awkward upbringing, I hope you get something out of this. My secret wish is that you find hope. Hope is hard to find and can be very dangerous when loving someone with addiction but, God, is it worse when you have none. Here’s hoping this helps someone.

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