Oh the D.A.R.E. program, that was such a good thing that came through my school. I still remember the black lung pictures, and the drunk driving statistics. When that program rolled through my school reality started to set in. They say that ignorance is bliss, oh is that ever true! After the D.A.R.E. program I came to a major realization-not all the kids I went to school with lived the way I did. All of my classmates didn’t have moms that drank themselves stupid on a regular basis. They didn’t sit at the bar with their mom for hours on end. They certainly didn’t have to be subjected to a drunk parent day after day. I never knew this until this program visited my school.
I sincerely learned a lot about the negative effects of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. I also learned what feeling hopeless and defeated truly felt like. I was so worried about my mom too. I feared that she would die suddenly because of how much she drank. I took all of the info and pamphlets home to my mom on the hope that I could convince her to stop drinking. I presented my case to my mom, I begged and pleaded for her to stop drinking-and she said she would! That night we stayed home and I really thought she was done drinking, oh how naive was I?! That lasted for all of one day. The very next night you could find us at the bar, me and my broken heart.
At this point a few things happened. I had come to the realization that most of my classmates and I were not on equal ground. I went to school and I tried to just be invisible. I was ashamed of my home life and what my mom was, an alcoholic. I became not only envious of the other kids, but I also felt shortchanged in the parent department. I realized my mom had a serious problem. She didn’t stop drinking of course, and every time we went to the bar my heart broke a little more.
Despite all of this I am grateful that I have a loving Savior that helped put me back together after all of this. Those feelings of hopelessness, and defeat are not something one can understand unless they have felt it themselves. While I wish that we didn’t have to ever feel that way I know it is a part of life. It’s what we chose to do with those feelings and experiences that make us who we are. We are not defined by our past, our parents and their choices, or others; but rather by who we chose to become after all of those things.