Thursday, November 15, 2012


I spent an extraordinary amount of time dealing with bottles as a child.

Having a father who was an alcoholic, we spent a lot of time looking for bottles. Finding bottles. Hiding bottles. Emptying bottles. Filling bottles, trying to water them down. Being surprised by the bottles. Learning to expect them, everywhere. Seeing my sister get furious and leave them out, as a 'we caught you' footnote.

I learned to discern between big oversized tumblers of tea that I could sneak sips of and the big oversized tumblers of 'tea' that would make my eyes tear up with their syrupy sting of liquor over ice. I knew what different bottles meant- bottles of beer are a slow, tilting slide; bottles of caramel-colored whiskey are a deep water dive. Bottles, for years, signified hurt and abandonment. Not until I discovered bottles of Boone's Farm did bottles take on a new meaning, one that entertained me through college until I realized I did not want to be my dad. Somehow, I have escaped my history, and a bottle is just a bottle today, nothing more for me personally.

Thirty eight years of living. For years, I veered towards addicts; there is a certain charm about someone who cares about nothing except filling a void. I was a magnet for every kind of addictive personality out there, while managing to avoid being addicted to anything but them. I learned how to deal with an addict for a parent. I learned how to deal with an addict for a partner. I have not, however, learned how to deal with nearer loved ones who are addicts. I know all of the 'speak', the lessons of codependencies. I know the ten commitments, and I lived and breathed al-anon growing up, but somehow they are escaping me as I realize that I am right back to my West Texas hell. Right back to looking for and finding the bottles, figurative though they may be.

I'd really like to go back to bottles just being bottles. I have found, hidden, filled, and emptied more than my share of bottles.

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