Thicker Than Blood

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
During this long, cold winter with snowstorms that kept the whole family in the house far more than was healthy, conflict rose around everything my alcoholic sister touched. By her side was my mother defending her every move as she thought it would help my sister recover faster. However, one has to stop drinking in order to "recover", and that simply does not apply. With aid of several examples of how my mother acted strangely during my childhood, I describe what it's like to experience a slice of my family.

Submitted: April 19, 2015

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Submitted: April 19, 2015



I told my mother about how, through the rear-view window, I saw her daughter L buy alcohol. My sister is an alcoholic who talks constantly about what she thinks we want to hear, including how she goes to her AA meetings and how she almost has her driver’s license back from her DUI. Her other talking point is why she will be fine working another bartending job. L’s gone through five jobs this year alone. For some reason, my mother still believes every word she says despite the mood swings, violence, and constant self-victimization in every situation. I told my manipulated mother that I, her daughter with zero legal offenses, saw L buy alcohol, bring it into her car (that I had to drive since she couldn’t), then smuggle whatever bottles the box contained into her very large, tacky, cheetah print bag. She stated that she was “just getting something” about 13 times as the top half of her body stayed twisted over in the back half of the car for about three minutes on the ride home. L said that she needed a liquor store box to store some of her room stuff in the basement. The box remained in the back of her car, untouched, for two weeks. My mother then smugly told me in a trance-like state of delusion that “She always tells me when she slips up [so I won’t believe you because I don’t want to].” My mother’s argument was that L, the known pathological liar and addict, would always undoubtedly confide in her the honest truth. L’s always had this special kind of honesty, whether it’s her telling you that she has never gone in your room in her life while she’s wearing your clothes. Or how she tells me, my siblings, and my parents that “family is like, the most important thing to me, and I love and respect all of you so much” and then throws an orgy in my parent’s house when they’re gone for a week (the first time of many that she was kicked out). In the words of my beautiful, witty, magnificent, and much more respectable younger sister, “Blood may be thicker than water, but so’s yogurt.”

I would never say anything like this about anyone who I didn’t think deserved it, but my sister L is beyond repair. I understand she suffers from addiction and that she obviously has a psychological disorder, but she has also put in no effort to get better. She has confidently stated to me multiple times, with her now permanently puffy face and red eyes, “I shouldn’t have to change.”

All of my family members have individually given her about a baker’s dozen of second chances. We’ve tried tough love several times as well. The most recent technique of dealing with L is to be blatantly honest about how none of us trust or believe her. It’s been working as well as anything else we’ve tried. No matter what anyone does, L will remain constant in her downward spiral into the deep dark pits of her own denial.

My mother, a nearly-60 year old woman, has had two jobs in her entire life that she spent less than two years at collectively, refuses to drive L to get a new job. She attributes her daughter’s issues to ADHD, a disorder that she believed was fabricated by pharmaceutical companies to sell Adderall to children who are fed too much sugar by their liberal parents. Now she is a whole-hearted believer, but refuses to get L tested or medicated, saying that it can be fixed with a gluten-free diet. Gluten is also thicker than water. My mom didn’t believe that gluten allergies were real until just before she decided ADHD existed. She has always looked for the alternative remedy. For example, no one in my family ever received medicine for sickness unless they were hospitalized for strep throat. If we were sick with the cold or the flu, she would give us what she called “health lemonade” which was a piss-colored liquid made of garlic, onion, and lemon juice. It did a great deal to lower my mother’s worries towards the health of her children, but had very little effect on our fevers. This woman birthed and raised six daughters and I have no idea how any of us survived. If she weren’t such a staunch conservative Christian, she would make an excellent witch doctor. My mother is trying to cure substance-abusing L of ADHD by refusing to drive her to job interviews. She has also ruled out rehab based on her belief that they trick people out of their money. Besides, she’s treating my sister like a project to fill her otherwise vacant life.

You put a 23-year-old alcoholic without a driver’s license in a house with her two well-adjusted, hard-working sisters. Add the fact that the addict can’t leave the house and gets restless easily. Sprinkle in a little motherly favoritism towards L. Bake at 3o Fahrenheit for one winter and voila! You now have a war of my mother and L versus my little sister and me. It’s the age-old fight of belief versus logic that will rage on until the sun explodes and humans evolve into beams of light. Until that day, L will still be an addict, my mother will still be dangerously delusional, and my younger sister and I will still be trying our very hardest to leave the house forever. If I’ve learned anything from my family, it’s that stubbornness is the worst disease humans can inflict upon themselves, that genetics are no basis for a relationship, and that blood is only thicker than water when it’s not mixed with vodka.

© Copyright 2019 Shaina Buckley. All rights reserved.

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