All the Success in the World, Yet I Failed

I’ve said all along, I don’t blame them for my alcoholism. Yet, by continuing to hold their drinking against them, I’m not getting anywhere. They drink. Every day. Beginning at lunch. And, by bedtime, often to excess.


I honestly don’t know how she doesn’t start earlier in the day. Just to stop the shaking. The way I used to.

He can put it down. For days. Weeks, if medically necessary. He knows how good it feels to not drink. Yet, he always goes back.

They drive to and from all the places where they drink. I worry. Constantly. They know intimate details about the lives of a couple dozen restaurant folks – bartenders, owners, managers, and servers – and their families; they tell stories about these people like they’re relatives and we should know who they’re talking about.

They don’t have any friends who don’t drink. They don’t acknowledge my struggles with booze. Nor do they applaud my commitment to sobriety. Things they’ve said tell me they assume I will one day drink again. That the lifestyle I work so hard to maintain is only temporary. I understand. If they admit I was broken by this disease, they will be forced to look at their own relationship with alcohol and the role this drug has played in our family for generations.

Yet, they freely talk about acquaintances who struggle with addiction. How they just need to find the will to stop. How they just need to make different choices. Like it’s that simple. It’s so easy to talk about others’ “flaws” when they weren’t influenced by your own.

I can’t change them. They actively chose their lifestyle and have worked hard to make sure it exists. There won’t be a rock bottom unless their drinking results in tragedy. Of course, I hope it never does. But, the thought terrifies me. Every day.

They don’t know about this blog (at least I’m pretty sure they don’t; they definitely wouldn’t approve). And, they have absolutely no idea how extraordinarily huge alcohol’s grip on me was. I think they’ve noticed my semicolon tattoo. But I can’t be 100 percent sure. I am quite positive they don’t know what it means. They haven’t asked me about it.

In fact, they haven’t asked me about anything having to do with me. They don’t ask questions about my life. They ask about the kids and what they’re up to. They ask about my husband and how work is going for him. They never ask me about me. Or my business. Or my recovery. Or why I decided to stop drinking.

I don’t think they want to know. And, I have to be at peace with that. The truth is painful. Excruciatingly so. I carefully slip into their shoes and instantly know for sure I would never want to hear a story like mine from one of my own children.

But, then I flip it all around. And, I wonder. Are they waiting for me to spill? Tell them every detail? Do they want to know? Perhaps it’s me who’s scared. Afraid of hurting them. Of how painful it will be for me to share my story. Because, in some stupidly gigantic way, it feels like I failed them. Again.


  1. NEVER feel like you have failed them. Your strength and commitment to yourself and the three other people in your house is most important. It is heartbreaking when those we love, those we always looked up to, those who should love us unconditionally are those who seem to put conditions on our relationships as we get older. We may be their “kids” but we deserve respect for the lives we are living, we should be able to open up and trust them as we once did and we should never be judged for the good we are putting out into the world. I’m so proud of you and know that the “family of friends” you surround yourself with are there to support you! ❤️

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