This week’s HTYH is about Larcine’s story. She was the daughter of and eventually became the wife of another alcoholic: It sort of ticks me off when I see a huge banner at an A.A. convention with giant words “Alcoholics Anonymous” and then in little bitty letters it says with Alanon participation. When our alcoholic significant-others were sitting in jail, they sure wanted Alanon participation. But I am indeed grateful for Alcoholics Anonymous, our Alanon literature encourages us to learn all we can about the malady of alcoholism and there’s no better place to learn than by attending open A.A. meetings. Being an Alanon amongst many A.A. people is sort of like being a corpse at an Irish funeral; nobody expects you to say anything but they can’t have the party without you. I’m supposed to tell you what my life was like, what happened and what it’s like today.
I’m the oldest of four kids and my dad was a Master Sergeant in the Army and that made me the Corporal of my family. I was born with a clipboard and an armband and at school, I was a hall monitor, playground monitor, cafeteria monitor and every other kind of monitor. I’m very good at writing down the names of other people who do wrong; I write it down and can’t wait to report them. I lived for that and it mattered little to me if the kids were younger or older than me, if they didn’t follow the rules by golly I reported them. It took several years of Alanon training not to look towards the 6 items or less checkout lane at the supermarket to see how many violators were there. The Alanon’s tell me that I’m suffering from a “control neurosis” and although I’m working on it, I still, nevertheless, love lots of rules and regulations. So long as I have a sheet of paper with all the rules on it and know what you’re expecting from me; I’m in heaven. I’m my father’s daughter, he was strictly military, and by-damned we went by the book, or else.
He ruled our family with an iron fist and as a child; I had no clue that he was an alcoholic. He yelled at Mom, she yelled at me and I yelled at the younger kids. I thought that was normal behavior and it was for me. When I first came to Alanon, I went to “open” A.A. meetings and one night I heard a speaker say, “Alcoholism is a family disease,” his whole talk was about alcoholism and the family. He said, “Living with an alcoholic in your house is like having a rhinoceros in your living room while everybody pretends it’s a coffee table.” There are no words to describe what it was like in our house, my Dad would drink to the point where he was about to explode and my mother knew it; she tried to prevent it from happening. Nobody dared to say anything and if she did say anything it would set him off so she used all sorts of facial expressions to warn us it was about to happen. We would be eating dinner and my mother’s facial expressions would say, “Warning–Warning,” and everybody would be silent and look down at their plates; nobody looked up. But a minor infraction would come sooner or later and the explosion would happen. Food got thrown on the floor and sometimes beatings accompanied his rage and we would be sent off to our rooms; we were in the brig again, nobody was spared, not even Mom and the dog. The next morning we would get up enough courage to creep down the hallway to the kitchen where Dad was sitting with his morning beer and nobody asked, “Gee—Whiz, Dad what was that all about last night? Why did you throw our dinner on the floor and hit everybody?” Nobody asked any questions we just wanted the rhinoceros to go back to being a coffee table. Mom would calmly ask, “What do you want for breakfast?” To be continued…
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