Three years ago today Momma died in a car accident while driving back home to Charleston from Myrtle Beach, SC. Her body was infused with so much alcohol, that she couldn’t see or steer properly and she lost control of the wheel. She was thrown through the windshield, over fifty feet in the air. Her friend was killed on impact. Within seconds, lives were changed forever, and as Momma lay dying in MUSC alone, no one in the family knew the horror that was taking place. However it was obvious; all the warnings were there. Years and years of signs pointed to the culmination of that tragic day.
I was only three years old when I had my first sampling of alcohol. As I stuck the red straw in my mouth and tasted the Long Island Iced Tea, I looked up at Momma and proclaimed, “More, more!” It was a joke to the family, a look-how-cute-she-is moment that no one thought twice about. Perhaps we should have. After all, Momma’s birth mom died from alcoholism. We never met her; she had to give Momma up at birth.
At thirteen, I was hitting the bars with Momma at my side, letting hormones and anger guide my way. Resentful at the abuse that had taken place for many years, I wanted to blow off steam, however I was careful to notice that Momma was quickly spiraling out of control with drinking. Frightened, I became turned off by alcohol.
By the time I reached twenty-one, I had gone through one divorce and several failed relationships. I was determined to be the one to leave, to always be in control. I was living on the other side of the country in California, wanting to be as far away from my family as possible. Momma was losing her battle to alcohol, although it was kept a secret for the most part. I became carried away in the party scene and played with the dangerous game of lets-see-how-many-drugs-I-can-take. Death was not scary to me, I just wanted to drink and take drugs.
In my mid-twenties, I was a successful model, and had tried to sober up many times. For a few years, I rode sobriety like a wild rollercoaster, never knowing when I would take the deep plunge and drop off the face of the earth again. When Momma finally passed away in 2012, I saw a reflection of myself in her casket. It was time to jump off the rollercoaster and choose life once and for all. I’m so thankful I got help and got sober before it was too late. Today I live my life in gratitude one day at a time.
If you or someone you love needs help, I recommend the following resources:
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc./ 1.800.622.2255
Adult Children of Alcoholics