Recently my boss and I were talking about my brothers’ alcoholism. I had taken a day to attend my brother’s intervention and I was telling him how it went.
“I thought your brother with alcoholism died in April.”
“They’re both alcoholics.”
It’s been nine months since my brother died, and I still have trouble speaking in the past tense.
“What happened to you?” he asked.
That sounded too flip. Too superior.
“Or lucky genes.”
The truth is, I don’t know why. This article seems to suggest it’s a little bit of both. Luck of the draw, and taking care to not get too close to the edge.
This excellent post makes me wonder whether the years of therapy (18, off and on), along with the antidepressants, kept me from self-medicating with alcohol.
Or maybe being a dabbler; a little of this, a little of that, but never exclusively one thing, kept me from going under. A little alcohol, a little drugs, a little sex, a little bulimia, a little anorexia, a little too much exercise, a little workaholism. Just a little too much of everything made me appear to have it together. Or maybe as a dabbler, I did have it together. Mostly. Nothing ever totally sucked me under. At least not for long.
But why were my brothers sucked under? Why couldn’t they control it? We grew up in the same houses. With the same alcoholic abusive father. (Alzheimer’s mellowed him. Took away the meanness, the anger. A post for another day.) We had the same codependent mother. We all moved to a different state as we grew up, every year, or so. We spent our summers at the cabin in Ontario. We drove in the mountains together in Colorado. We built snowmen in Michigan. We played with the dog in the creek in North Carolina. We sailed on Long Island Sound. We went to the “beach” on Lake Michigan, and the beach in Galveston. We had the same dogs, cats, rabbits, and hamsters.
How did I say no to addiction?