My Kids Think I’m An Alcoholic

Drunk Bree on Desperate Housewives

Drunk Bree on Desperate Housewives

Yes, my children think that I’m an alcoholic. It came up one night when my girls were in my bedroom. I try to keep my bedroom nice, as a retreat for me. I didn’t realize that it would attract my female offspring. They keep their rooms like hoarders-in-training but come to my room to relax. It’s just not fair . . . but I digress . . .

One night when they were lounging in my room one daughter told me she thinks I’m an alcoholic.

“What? Why?” I asked, completely shocked.

“Well, a recovering alcoholic,” she clarified, and further explained, “I’ve never seen you drink.'” She pointed out that she’d seen my sisters and my best friend drink but, “You never do, Mommy.”

“Even Daddy drinks,” she added. I must have made a face of some sort because she quickly said, “But not too much.”

She went on, “But Mommy you never drink so I figured — you can’t. And you never have alcohol in the house. What grown up never has alcohol in the house?”

Well damn. The kid has it all figured out. Her sisters chimed in and agreed. “Oh yeah, I thought that, too,” said one. “Me too,” said another. The one I call “The Quirky One” just smiled.

But I’m not an alcoholic!” I protested.

Recovering alcoholic, mom,” she corrected me.


Sooo. My kids think I’m an alcoholic because I don’t drink. Yup, It’s very difficult to prove that you are not a recovering alcoholic if someone thinks you are.

Am I going to have to throw a few back at the dinner table just to show my kids I’m not a drunk? Bring a six-pack to the high school football game maybe? Down a Bloody Mary at breakfast?

Damn kids don’t know my life.

The truth is, except for the college years I’ve never been much of a drinker. My ex-husband was absolutely and totally against drinking, see My High School Self and The Night I Became Cinderella. I didn’t make my own decisions about it, Instead, I followed his lead since he had very strong opinions that theoretically made sense. He had come from a family that had been plagued by substance abuse. Most of his siblings have had issues, serious issues. Even his mother, her first and second husbands, and his estranged father reportedly had bouts with addiction. He’d seen some bad things caused by alcohol or drugs and feared the propensity for addiction might be hereditary. I’d seen the effects on his family and vowed never to expose my own children to that lifestyle.

So he and I were going to be different.

I didn’t drink, except at college where I drank behind his back with my college friends whom he never really liked. After we were married we only kept alcohol in the house for holidays. Bottles of hard alcohol collected dust on top of the cabinets until they were wiped clean and set out at Christmas. We were definitely not a “wine with dinner” family. My husband and I shared a few drinks over the years, but by and large I completely missed the typical partying or bar hopping of youth and the happy hours of the young professionals. Then came the pregnancy and breastfeeding years where I had to abstain anyway — so it’s been years since I’ve been any kind of drinker.

No matter, after double-digit years of marriage and five children my husband left me. I could do whatever I damn well pleased.

Unfortunately, at the time that meant taking anti-depressants.

Fact: You’re not supposed to drink when taking anti-depressants. So, I didn’t. I follow directions, you see. I’m obedient like that. No drinks for me while I was on the meds.

No matter, after a very difficult “discontinuation period” (aka “withdrawal”), I’m off the anti-depressants. Technically, or should I say, medically, I can drink now. Hooray, hooray!

But I still don’t drink.

First, I’m a complete lightweight. After not drinking for years, I can’t hold my liquor. Half a drink and I’m tipsy, and not in a good way.

Second, since I roll solo most of the time, I’m always my own designated driver so . . . can’t drink.

Third, now is not the time to start having alcohol at home, not with a house full of teenagers.

And fourth, I’m the custodial parent of five children. I’ve got responsibilities, I can’t sit at the local bar with friends every night. That ship has sailed. I missed it. Damn it.

The gang hanging out at Mclaren's on

The gang hanging out at Mclaren’s on “How I Met Your Mother”

So yeah, I’m free to do what I want now — except that I’m not, not exactly, not really. Story of my life . . . but I digress . . .

But this is what kills me — my formerly anti-social, teetotaler, judgmental ex-husband is now the life of the party. After years of telling me that drinking was wrong, that he was afraid of addiction, that he didn’t think kids should be exposed to alcohol — now he drinks and to our kids, he’s the normal one . . . but me? Me?

Hello, I’m Mommy and I’m an alcoholic.

Just Me With . . . a drink in my hand. It’s coffee.

It begs the question: If my girls think that because they’ve never seen me drink I must be an alcoholic, what do they think about the fact that they’ve never seen me date? I mean, their Dad has found love and remarried. I, on the other hand, have not. I abstain, or so it may seem. The girls probably think I don’t occasionally enjoy the company of a man (or keep one in the house) because I’m either: (1) still heartbroken about their Dad, or (2) have herpes.

Humph. Offensive, either way.

Related: Getting Off The Meds

8 responses

  1. I am not a drinker either. So, guys I have dated assume I am a recovering alcoholic since I don’t drink at the drop of a hat. Like you, I drive myself everywhere. Plus, if a guy is going to have two drinks before dinner and orders another with the meal, someone needs to be sober.

    My ex told me teen children and young daughter that I was a prostitute. My daughter told me she knew it was true, that she had proof. When I asked her what was her proof, she said that she found stacks on 100 dollar bills in my dresser. (Three is a stack? What was she doing going through my things?) She said that the only way I could get $100 bills was to be a prostitute. I reminded her that I worked, and saved tips at the job I was forced to take. I cashed in tips for larger bills and put them in the dresser until I could pay bills or go to bank.

    I would imagine that your ex is agreeing or just allowing your children to think you are a recovering alcoholic. They surely learned about recovering alcoholics from his family experiences. I hope your rebuttal was all you said here. My daughter was in her 30s before she truly understood her father lied to her, that her assumption about the money was false, and that was only after her divorce when she was forced to grab just any job–waitressing. She put money$100 bills in her drawer the same way I did. She never admitted he lied, because, as you know, preachers don’t lie.

    Your children coming to your room to relax is the best way to actually know what they are thinking…lol. Keep it clean and calming.

    By the way, I was over 30 before I had a drink, and I was still married and had given birth to three children. Starting to drink for so many years would not have been an option for me, either. Besides, I just had no desire or curiosity. Now, a Tbsp of champagne, a sip, on NYE is all I ever ingest.

    1. A PROSTITUTE??? Seriously???? What is wrong with that man?????

      I don’t know how to respond to that foolishness.

      I don’t think my kids have a lot of conversation with their Dad so I don’t know what’s said. I think they learned about recovering alcoholics from TV. They don’t know about his family’s addictions and I don’t know if his family is currently using. I still get calls from bill collectors and the occasional lawyer about one of the sister’s problems but I don’t know. I just hope the kids aren’t exposed to too much.

  2. Wow, your daughters are very smart (even if they are wrong), their sense of logic is very good! 😉
    I’m very sorry about what happened with your husband. You have a positive attitude, which I think makes all the difference in the world. xo

    1. Thank you! I know, they are like detectives in training. I guess I’ll have to watch what I do!

      1. Haha, exactly. 😉

      2. The problem is that they are not capable all the time of discerning all the facts and often go with solutions to what they see and hear without having the maturity to really think things all the way through. My ex called me a lesbian in front of the children just because he had to stay home while I went to a gym with a female friend. He said the kids were mine, so I should always be the one to stay home to care for them. It was 8 pm, so he was already home!

        So, into their teens the girls were afraid of being close to females. My fourteen year old daughter was afraid and wanted to hold my hand and go into the one-stall bathroom with me because we had stopped in a truck stop full of men to go the bathroom after we got gas. She said, “I don’t care if we look like lesbians, I am going in with you.” I was shocked! He was so homophobic that he put these notions in their heads. He was oh, so subtle and did not have to come right out and spell it out. He could signal his dislike with gestures, grunts, and facial expressions. Kids pick up on that, too.

        Eye-rolling and disgusted looks are more powerful than words.

  3. Doesn’t it just figure?

  4. […] talk to people.  I’ll be my own designated driver and won’t drink.  See,  ”My Kids Think I’m an Alcoholic.”   I’ll be prepared to be seated with all couples.   But truthfully, sometimes […]

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