Because my mother was in and out of sobriety and my father remained solidly out throughout our entire childhood, it was common that mom would schlep us off to Alateen so that we would have a clearer understanding of the disease. This was the part that pissed me off the most. Here she was fucking up her life and her kids’ with booze and she wanted us to understand that it wasn’t our fault. Of course it wasn’t our fault! We hadn’t done anything, nor did we ask for such a shitty childhood. If my mother had the sense to teach us how to cope with her drinking why didn’t she have the sense stay sober and fix the problem?
I understand the issues of an alcoholic and how hard it is to see the situation for what it is when one is drinking, but trying to teach a preteen to have compassion for the one who is fucking up really blows. I’d like to make a few suggestions to those who run Alateen: upon coming to their first meeting give the kid a calendar, have them mark the days until they can get the hell out, and tell them, “fuck one day and a time, look to the future!”