I am the baby in my family by three minutes. In addition to a twin sister, I have two older brothers. I sucked my thumb until I was in middle school. I stopped when I realized I was the only one with this habit at a slumber party.
Soon after, I discovered a new habit, the bottle. The bottle I speak of almost destroyed me. This bottle was full of poison. Alcohol is poison to someone with a family history of alcoholism.
Wikepedia.org describes the disease concept of alcoholism:
Those with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to develop it themselves; however, many individuals have developed alcoholism without a family history of the disease. Since the consumption of alcohol is necessary to develop alcoholism, the availability of and attitudes towards alcohol in an individual’s environment affect their likelihood of developing the disease. Current evidence indicates that in both men and women, alcoholism is 50–60% genetically determined, leaving 40-50% for environmental influences.
So, according to these facts, I had a 100% chance of becoming an alcoholic. I remember taking sips of alcohol from my dad and grandfather’s drinks as a young girl. We celebrated Christmas Eve with boilermakers and steamed oysters on the back porch. Jesus was there too, he just took the back seat to the party. Why my dad let me have a taste of his drink still baffles me. His dad was a drunk, he should have known better.
I was my daddy’s girl. I wanted to be wherever he was and do what he was doing. If this included sneaking shots of Crown Royal, so be it. I cherished my role as baby in the family and I used this role to manipulate and hurt the ones I loved. I had my dad wrapped around my finger and he became one of my best enablers.
Being the baby had its perks. I could get away with far more than my other siblings. I could get by on being cute and funny. I did not have to strive for good grades and other successes. I got a lot of attention, sometimes the wrong kind of attention.
Being a baby stops being cute when you are in your twenties. I remember the day I came home after a binge, hoping that my parents would rescue me, just one more time. Instead, my dad shut the door in my face. I will never forget that moment. It was a defining moment. I was not his baby anymore. It was time to grow up.