On the other hand, my daughter Alea, has no penchant towards over-indulgence in any type of alcoholic beverage. I’m sure she has experienced being drunk and has had a hangover in her earlier, wilder years. But, she is not much of a drinker. So what does that mean? She is Riley’s step-daughter, so she did not inherit any of Riley’s genes. But her teen years were difficult and filled with inappropriate behavior causing me to anxiously await her turn home after every evening that she went out. She protected Riley fiercely – after all he had been her father since she was six months old. They had a special bond that got stronger as she got older.
I just can’t help thinking that if I had left Riley and stayed away from him while the children were still very young, they would have a different life now. Maybe Brian would be alive to enjoy his life and maybe Alea would not have struggled so hard during her teen years. I’ve always believed that it takes a village to raise a child. If I had taken my children back to my village of non-alcoholic residents – my family – and provided them better examples of how to live their lives, maybe things would have been different.
My children are incredible. They are strong, independent, loving and I’m so very proud of them, even though one is gone. But, if I had it to do over again, I would not have subjected them to life with an alcoholic. If I had understood then what I understand now – I would not have hesitated for a moment.
If you are struggling with a decision of whether to leave your alcoholic consider the cost of staying from your children’s point of view. If you have very young children, do some research and find out what they might have to endure while wrapped in that insanity. It is scary to think about. Put yourself in your children’s situation. How would you want your childhood to be?