ACEs – Parents were too drunk or high…
Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?
My mother met my 1st stepfather when I was 6 months old. For years I believed he was my biological father. I found out the truth while playing in the neighborhood with his nieces and nephews (my so-called cousins who hated me). From their perspective, I had everything they did not have. The words, “You ain’t really my cousin!” was the revelation of a lifetime. I was about 10 years old.
Mother was a great housekeeper. Our home was immaculate. To this day, mom’s food tastes the best to me. She cooked wonderful meals and made sure I was well fed. She did all of this while drinking everyday. She would rotate drinking beer, wine, and hard liquor. However, she was very consistent with her duties as a wife and mother.
My stepfather had a routine of partying every weekend and chasing other women. My mother settled for that as long as he brought home his paycheck. Because she knew he caroused with women, she would sometimes send me on errands with him. Perhaps it was to get him to come back sooner than later or to simply NOT cheat that time. Either way, it did not matter. I saw more than I ever needed to see, and was pressured to NOT tell my mother what I knew.
One night, I was sent to tag along with my stepfather (I no longer remember where or why), but I do remember we were riding up and down the street in my uncle’s new car. His brother had just bought a brand new red Mustang. I was in the backseat. They were drinking and driving – yelling out the car window to God knows who – showing off.
Finally, they pulled over someplace like a parking lot. I remember a bright street light shining into the car. I heard an argument between my stepfather and some stranger. It became pretty intense. I couldn’t really see what was happening because it seemed as if I was sitting down low in the backseat.
I remember the passenger side door slinging open wide and my stepfather frantically climbing in to the backseat on top of me. Then I saw why he was so frantic. The man he was arguing with had a razor (a sharp blade) slicing the air with intent to cut him.
When the man realized I was in the car, he stopped. I remember how close that blade came to slicing my face. Of course, I was forbidden to tell my mother about the incident.
Over the years, I have often wondered why he would bring that danger to me – a child, whom he should have been protecting. Well, he was drunk at the time. I know that if he was sober, it would not have happened that way.
Although, I had a brush with danger – my answer to question # 4 is NO.
I have reconsidered this question and now I am dropping my score to an 8 from a 9. Mother always managed to physically take care of me. She may have been drinking but she definitely fed, clothed, and made sure I had timely medical care if needed. She had no idea about this particular memory until about a year ago.