There are few moments in my childhood that were not affected by my dad's drinking. As an adult, I believe I am just now starting to understand the long term effects of his drinking on my life, and on his.
Certainly I can come up with some happy moments. Unfortunately they are almost all followed by something that tempered the "happy" right out of them.
There is not a family celebration, vacation, or regular family moment that wasn't accompanied with a drink, a word, glance, or body language that could and did ruin everything.
But he didn't have a problem. He had a lifestyle, he "enjoyed" it. It was how he chose to live his life, right up until the end. Unfortunately for everyone else, we were forced to live that lifestyle as well.
The lifestyle for us was a little different though. It was a lifestyle of being quiet, to not draw attention, of being able to predict someone by the way that they walked, talked, stood, or drove. It was the lifestyle of expecting to be disappointed by people. It was the lifestyle of one day at a time. Ironically not like AA intends but as a "There's one more day without an outburst. There's one more day until I grow up and get out of here."
While my dad was dying, he said I was always quiet as a child. I don't think he understood that he was perhaps the cause of my quietness. Sure, it's part of my personality to be circumspect but it's kind of a the chicken and the egg thing.
He told the story of how I used to come into his shop, a silent little elfin appearing kind of kid. (tiny, glasses, golden haired, often mismatched clothes) I would sweep or straighten up then leave, often without a word.
I vaguely remember that. I don't remember when I stopped or why but I can guess. But that's how he remembered me as a child. A quiet little ghost.
I think that is who I was. A ghost child. Someone who was always surprised when someone actually saw me. Someone who just tried to fade into the background and not be noticed. Someone who lived their life as quietly as possible and tried to just get on to the next part of it.
All because someone lived a lifestyle. Of drinking.