You’ll never read this, and although I’ve said much of this directly to you, you won’t remember it. You were drunk. Not even drunk as a skunk. Skunks deserve better. You were ugly nasty mean fucking hideous drunk. This is more for me than for you.
You’ve crossed the Boundary That Shall Not Be Crossed with me. Your behavior has left me no choice. I’m erecting a wall, complete with barbed wire and a reptile-filled moat. You need to know that. My mother bear was already growling before this past weekend. Now she’s awake and she is pissed.
We’ve all watched you for years. You’ve never been an easy person to deal with. As an adult and after much reflection, I realize you likely have borderline personality disorder. You were volatile, swinging from being a candidate for the “most caring person on the planet” award, to swinging wire hangers. You said nasty things and then either pretended you didn’t or managed to justify it. You were lonely. You were frustrated with so and so, so you lashed out at other so and so. You were in pain. You had a horrible childhood. There was always a reason.
Over the years, the alcoholism got worse. Alcoholism and compulsive gambling are both common co-morbid conditions along with borderline personality disorder, by the way. Your body has been breaking down for years. Now, you look like a scarecrow. Your liver is so pissed off that your ankles are swelling and you itch constantly. You scratch your itch and then bleed. Your stomach is constantly upset so you can’t eat. Funny, though, how your upset stomach can handle the vodka.
We’ve managed to navigate this now for some time. We got together for our vacations, and for the most part, we managed to just flow around you. You wouldn’t get really drunk until later in the evening after my kids were asleep, should we be staying under the same roof, or after we retired back to wherever it was we were staying. And candidly, we just kind of pretended you didn’t exist (except that you did because you and your illness have dominated discussions for years and years). The good times? There was that one time when you fell – the second bad drunken fall where you had to be hospitalized and put into rehab for a lengthy period. We got our dad for a while. Just him and his laughter. Otherwise, you hold him hostage. He’s afraid to leave you. He’s fearful you might fall again, or burn something on the stove in the kitchen such that he comes in from a brief outing to smoke and the detector screaming. His world has gotten very small and the walls are your disease.
I’m oversimplifying, I know. But those are the nuts and bolts.
I had expected this trip to be the same. It wasn’t. Seems you decided to give day drinking a whirl. You were too drunk the morning you were supposed to travel, meaning you were delayed leaving. We thought for a moment the trip would be cancelled. Would that it had been. I’m not sure you were sober for even an hour of the trip. You spent most of the time either sleeping or mumbling pretty incoherently from the balcony. We kept the kids busy swimming and going places. They didn’t notice, at least not for a while. But you’ve developed this wonderful new habit: you get in bed and then yell and holler. The first night you did it, I was on pins and needles, just waiting for my kids to wake up and wonder what was happening.
The last night we were together, you had planned some kind of “birthday party” for my kids. This was confusing, as Stella’s was 3 weeks ago and Felix’s isn’t until February. No matter. You ordered cakes, got balloons, and had little gifts. We would have the party after dinner. Only at dinner, you arrived drunk and continued to drink. During dinner you complained – you couldn’t see, it was too dark, the menu was confusing, there was cheese on the salad, the bread they promised was late, the seats were uncomfortable, she forgot your other martini, it was cold. It’s always cold. In between complaints (which is pretty much standard for eating in restaurants with you, BTW….. It’s great. That was sarcasm.), you acted like a drunk frat boy with Stella. “I love you, man. You’re so sweet. You take such care of me. I love you.” You then proceeded to tell me about some fucking Vince Gill song about a little girl getting sexually abused – as you’re sitting by my little girl. The food came. You didn’t like it. It was too dark to eat. Your shoe fell off. You bullied the poor waitress into giving you a to-go cup for your drink, despite the fact it’s against state law. You said “I don’t care” when we tried to convince you she could lose her job, the restaurant could lose their liquor license.
I had gotten pissed at this point, and wanted my kids away from you and your horrible drunken behavior. It took you about 5 minutes to get your shoe back on and drop the F bomb throughout the restaurant crowded with families. I stood and watched from a distance with my kids in the rain rather than have them see that. We beat you back to the condo, at which point Will and I hurriedly suited them up for a night swim. To hell with your party. Turns out the party was a bust, anyway. You passed out immediately. We managed to get the kids to bed before your moaning and yelling began, but a short time later you awakened to…. You guessed it! Drink some more. All the while you chanted about the martinis “kicking my butt.” Yep. That’ll happen when you start drinking in the morning and keep it going all day.
The next morning, you somehow managed to get out of bed while my kids were still eating breakfast. You gave them each a balloon and started hooting and hollering about happy birthday. They were confused. You tried to show Stella her cake but that’s when the skin on your arm opened up and you started bleeding. Stella was upset and a bit scared. That’s when I was asked to discuss your behavior with you at dinner the previous night. I knew it wasn’t going to change you. I did hope it might keep you a bit contained until the end of the trip. I described the things you had done, had said. I told you that this behavior would not be tolerated around my children, that it was not ok. You actually thanked me and hugged me. We went to the beach and pool and took dad with us, because you said you were fine. You’d join us later. Instead, you drank and were already incoherent by the time we came up to break for lunch. Will, the kids, and I just left and went out to eat. We came back and then back out to swim. I wanted the kids away from you. That’s when we decided we just needed to leave a day early. You obviously would not be getting sober by dinner, and I had already come to the conclusion that we don’t need to go to restaurants with you anymore.
We went up to pack. You claimed you weren’t drunk. I asked you not to be dishonest. You persisted. I told you you were full of shit. I kept packing. You approached again, confused. Why were we leaving? I gave the synopsis. You approached yet again. This time you went for the time-tested mean and nasty approach. Christmas was off. They weren’t coming. I said that was your decision. You said some other mean things, but by that point (and this probably sounds dramatic), my adrenaline was flowing and my mind was chanting one thing: Get your kids out NOW. Will came in with some supplies and a luggage cart. You came stumbling back, wanting to say goodbye to the kids. I reluctantly let you near Felix. You started your shit about how he needed to give you a big hug because you probably wouldn’t see them for a long, long time. They wouldn’t be coming for Christmas. I told you enough, to get away from my kid (who thankfully was oblivious, watching his tablet and eating chips). You wanted to see Stella. Will was fuming by this point, and suggested you watch very carefully what you said to her – she was already worried and agitated after seeing your skin just split and run with blood earlier that morning. I told you to just go. You told me you were proud of me for being so mean. Whatever. We just needed to leave.
Dad came back a short while later, asking me to hug you one more time. I looked at him like he was insane. He asked me to hug you – for him. Stella was desperate to say goodbye. I reluctantly walked her back. She hugged you and I urged her to walk away. You walked toward me as if you would hug me, but instead shouted “Fuck you” at me in front of my daughter. We left.
I’m done with you. You will not be around my children anymore. We will never dine with you again. We will never stay under the same roof with you. You cannot be trusted. You fucked with my kids. You broke my most fundamental rule. Because of your disease and behavior, we drove my ancient car in the dark and pouring rain rather than stay at that condo with you for one more moment. Because of your disease and your behavior, we had to sit our daughter down the next morning to talk about addiction, alcoholism, and why she heard her Grammy say terrible things to her mother.
You say you’re in pain – that’s why you drink. I say you’re causing pain. I say that no judge would set free a drunk driver who mowed down a family, who was only drinking because they were in pain. And while I should be compassionate and understanding – you’re mentally ill, after all – right now I am glad you are in pain. You fucking deserve it.
You have one hope, although I know it’s a fruitless one: You go to serious in-patient rehab. You go to meetings. You collect some chips. THEN and ONLY then will you be allowed to spend time in person with my children. But we all know that’s not going to happen.
I should probably close this with the same “fuck you” you left me with, but I won’t. As angry as I am and as hopeless as I know it is, I do hope you get help. If not, I don’t think you have much time left. It’s a shame that our last interaction will be such an ugly one.