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dad was an alcoholic
by the time he was twenty-two.
he was thirty-three
when i was born.

-

i am eight years old.
dad is drunk on the couch.
he wakes up and tells me to buy him food
and i tell him i’m his daughter.
he gets up to yell at me
then, as if realizing, starts laughing.
hard.

i am scared.

-

i am nine years old.
there’s a picture i don’t understand
printed out on the table.
i look at the web address and type it in
and there’s a site full of them.

the men look like they’re hurting the women.
they call them mean names
and tie them up.
in the one my dad printed
there are no faces. just genitals
and i am nine
and i understand.

i don’t tell my mother.

-

i am nine years old.
every night i get up when dad leaves
to close the browsers open on his computer.
one night,
there are seventeen open
and i close them
one at a time.

some of the pictures are scary.
one woman is screaming.
another is one who looks young,
like a high school girl.

SIXTEEN YEAR OLD SLUTS,”
the picture proclaims, with the girl sprawled
without underwear.

i stay home from school the next day.

-

i am ten years old.
dad slips on the porch stairs
and hits his head.

the next morning, mom pours all of the whiskey
down the drain.

she tells me that dad’s moving out.

-

i am ten years old.
dad still lives with us
and the landlord kicks us out.

-

i am eleven years old.
dad still lives with us
but mom tells every landlord we meet
that her sister will be moving in with us.

dad calls this summer his “dark period.”

-

i am eleven years old.
“what’s your daughter’s name?”
the officer asks.

“katherine,” dad says, and it is
and no one calls me that.
definitely not him.

he’s too drunk to remember my name
or that he was the one
who called the police.

they tell me that no one’s in trouble
but there’s still a suitcase on dad’s bed.

dad still hugs me goodbye.

-

i am eleven.
dad is sober and says to my mother,
“i hate these guys that say
‘i was an alcoholic
but i was still a good father.’

because i was a shitty father.
even when i wasn’t drinking.”

he was.

-

i am thirteen.
i say, “my dad was an alcoholic”
for the first time.

it hurts
like coughing too hard
or smoking for the first time.

but i have to do it.

-

i am fifteen.
a girl in my drama class
who used to live across from us
tells me she remembers my dad.

“my dad backed into his car once,”
she says,
“and your dad was cursing and screaming at him.
like he was crazy.”

“is. he is crazy,” i say,
“and he was an alcoholic.”

that shut her up.

-

i am sixteen.
they tell me i am also crazy.

-



i am almost eighteen.
i say, “my father was an alcoholic” out loud.


it still hurts.
This was harder to write than "things i want you to know."
Dad stopped drinking in September 2007.

I'll put up a mature warning if anyone asks.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwitchoftales:
WitchofTales Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've read 3 of your poems and ALL of them are very powerful, vivid, and expressive pieces of art. You write so beautifully!!
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014   Writer
Thank you! :D 
Reply
:iconnotensmsk:
NotenSMSK Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I cannot understand why it was hard to write - because I cannot at all comprehend your state of mind. Saying I understand would be a lie. Well It has been a long time I have seen you but it is sad that the first work I read is this. However I hope that the term remains "was". I would (hug you) if I could, but if I couldn't (hug you) I will still try :huggle:. Ah... don't tell me - I know it was a bad spin at playing words :dummy:

Anyway. I can hope that you are doing well, and all is fine. It is at times better to cry than to keep things inside. I won't comment on this from a technical perspective - it is your out pour. :heart:
Reply
:iconthebuttoverlord:
TheButtOverLord Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's good that he stopped. I have the same thing but my mom and heroin. 

This made me tear up. 

Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2014   Writer
Admittedly I had to stop to cry a few times writing this.
Reply
:iconfairytail1o1:
FAIRYTAIL1O1 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014  Student General Artist
My parents don't have drinking problems but one of my close friends, he step-dad does 
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2014   Writer
Alcohol touches everyone somehow. :iconsadhugplz:
Reply
:iconraylaopal:
RaylaOpal Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student General Artist
My parents never had drinking problems, which I should be grateful of. But I've had MANY friends who have had their childhood very similar to yours, and I understand in how that effects people in the long-term. Reading this almost made me cry, and some people are very insensitive, such as the commenter below this one.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014   Writer
I did cry while writing this. (I have a habit of doing that.)
It actually makes me sad that so many people can relate to this in some way. 
Reply
:iconraylaopal:
RaylaOpal Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Student General Artist
Yeah. But it's always good to see that they get back on track, and stay strong. :)
Reply
:iconpseudonymlizziedelov:

How can you call someone standing up to something they personally feel is insensitive, insensitive? That doesn't make sense.

How long can people be one of life victims? Because guess what, the world doesn't lack for wickedness, and if you play the role of a victim, then that's inviting tragedy into your life. I'm not referring to her father, I'm referring to people in general, who can't move on from their past.

I am sympathetic towards the writer of this poem (although I personally wouldn't call it a poem), actually- I'm not a cold hearted bastard! But the fact is, I know people who are former alcoholics, and I know their story- no hold bars. 

My comment, was that I didn't appreciate her insinuating that ALL alcoholics are complete monsters. Some are made alcoholics because of monsters.

People are very biased when it comes to their own problems- we're all guilty of it. Human nature. (FREUD MOMENT).

You need to remember, that there is 'your side, their side, and the truth'.

Reply
:iconraylaopal:
RaylaOpal Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Student General Artist

Umm, soz? I was just saying, that I didn't think your comment -that I was calling insensitive- held any consideration to what the author may feel when reading it. Although you "didn't appreciate her insinuating that ALL alcoholics are complete monsters.", I'm quite sure that since the topic she's writing about is a heavy, sensitive one, you could've spoken your complaint a little more kinder manner. I do agree with you that not all alcoholics are bad, most of my aunts and uncles get drunk quite often, but they are still caring people. :)

Reply
:iconpseudonymlizziedelov:

Listen, I don't like the stigma people like you put on alcoholics. Most have a reason as to why they drink. And for them to stop and face the repercussions... it's amendable, and it's strength that people like you and I can't see.

Him being perverse has nothing to do with him lapping up the booze. I'm sorry, but that's just him being perverse. And you should keep an eye on that, if not act on that. But please, don't try and tarnish all alcoholics as that!


Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014   Writer
I know exactly why my dad drank. He's bipolar and went without medication for years, and drank to soothe the pain. I'm bipolar myself, so I identify with that pain. But I'm still allowed to be hurt and angry with my dad for what he did. My dad was a shitty parent, and he was a boozehound, and it did hurt me, even if that's changed. I'm not saying that I don't sympathize with him or I haven't made amends with him. I'm proud of him for quitting. He'd been trying for years and finally did it. And there will always be a part of me that's angry with him, no matter what, for the damage done. And that is perfectly okay and acceptable for me to feel. 

"Tarnish all alcoholics" - where on earth did I say all alcoholics look at porn?? And actually, I repeatedly went on my dad's computers after he stopped drinking to check his history and saved files. No porn. I still do sometimes. So yeah, keeping an eye on that. 
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:iconkaniahlies:
Kaniahlies Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
Wow... Just... Wow. 
It doesn't take me that long to realize how much pain and thought went into this, it's pure, raw, emotion. I can't begin to understand what you've been through, and I can't say that I feel your pain, because I know I don't. I don't want to say I'm sorry, because that will be like bandaging a healed scar-- meaningless. But I will say this.
Beautiful. Raw. Incomprehensible. Hopeful.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014   Writer
Thank you. :heart: Your words mean a lot. 
Reply
:iconadamantravel:
adamantRavel Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
All I can do is to give you a virtual arm grasp (hugs are too trivial : ) ). It is good for you to express this by writing, I hope it eases you in a way. Hold the past away and struggle for your own life, despite the unfair start - it's worth it. And don't mind myself being a hypocrite here, I just know I should do the same. Alcochol had a major part in breaking my family too, it was confusing and emptying in a way. I guess we just have to live along. Our misfortune has it's intangible purpose for sure, be it a plan of God or other phenomena. Just stay stalwart, and if you need to talk, I offer my time.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014   Writer
Thank you. I've been alright for a few years now, and I'm positive that'll continue. :)
Reply
:iconartlmntl:
artlmntl Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
Your dad missed out on and could have really screwed up the absolute most important, best thing he ever did in his life.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
Yes. He could have. We should both be lucky he didn't. 
Reply
:iconartlmntl:
artlmntl Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
Stay strong. :hug:
Reply
:icongloryangel:
GloryAngel Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
My father wasn't an alcoholic when I was a kid, but he was abusive, neglectful and (I found out later) sexist. Haven't spoken in 5+ years.
* shrug* Guess some people just aren't cut out to be parents.
Reply
:iconpseudonymlizziedelov:
Most sexist pigs are! The thing that worries me, is the women that actually go for those type of blokes...
Reply
:icongloryangel:
GloryAngel Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
No kidding. Women like that could use a good kick in the head ... (metaphorical, of course)
Reply
:iconpseudonymlizziedelov:
Unfortunately though, they get the literal.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
Sometimes I imagine what my childhood would have been like if my dad hadn't drank. I think he could have made a good parent. He was just too selfish. 
Reply
:iconpseudonymlizziedelov:

Well, it seems you can't let go of your past. Look, you need to just move on from your childhood before it destroys your adulthood. It isn't healthy to harbour grudges and willingly become one of life victims. It will make you bitter.. and what do you think will come then?


It's a real shame how some people can have 99 out of a 100 compliments, and 1 insult, and for some reason, choose to think only of that 1 and forget the 99... where is the logic in that?

Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014   Writer
Sorry, but I already have a therapist. I don't need any advice, thank you.

I don't harbor a grudge against my dad, btw. Kinda pitiful you just...made that assumption just from me saying that he was a bad parent. And 99 out of a 100 compliments? Like - what? Where did you even get that?? Is there anything here that indicates that I have no self-esteem?  
Reply
:iconpseudonymlizziedelov:

How is it pitiful that I made that assumption? Excuse me, but isn't this piece on the subject of you holding a grudge. How can you say you don't hold a grudge, and then say you can't forgive him for that period of your life? That is the absolute definition of a grudge- not able to forgive or forget.

I wouldn't say it's advice primarily to you, but it is to people who look at this and relate to it, and who do not have a therapist. And I'm sorry, but clearly the therapy you're receiving is still a working process, because you certainly don't seem 'over it'.

You ask me, what indicates low self-esteem? I 'assume' that to be a joke, but I'll answer in any case. Well, I would say this piece and the other pieces of poetry/prose/memoir entries is reason enough. And then there are the descriptions to those works. And lets not forget your replies to comments left on those works.

I wasn't actually insulting you before, 'btw'. But, go figures you would think that.


Reply
:icongloryangel:
GloryAngel Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
Yeah, some people just aren't meant to be parents.
I was lucky; my mother's a good parent and I have an awesome stepfather.
Reply
:iconkayleytatts:
kayleytatts Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Professional Artist
wow, thats really hard hitting. so forward and honest. 
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
Thank you. :heart: I wrote this in about fifteen minutes, when I was feeling kind of emotional. That's probably where there's not a ton of imagery or anything. 
Reply
:iconkayleytatts:
kayleytatts Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Professional Artist
It doesn't need metaphors and imagery though, the simplicity works x
Reply
:iconhau:
hau Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I understand.
<3
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
I'm both relieved and sorry to hear that. :hug: I hope things are going good for you. 
Reply
:iconhau:
hau Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
It's all been over for a few years, and I hope everything is alright with you too. :huggle:
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014   Writer
It is! Thank you. :heart:
Reply
:iconbeyond-an-anomaly:
Beyond-An-Anomaly Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Student General Artist

A beautiful poem, and such a hard-hitting story. Simply gorgeous, and just...beyond words, in all honesty. Huggle! 

 

Beautiful job. :D

 

-BAA

Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014   Writer
Thank you so much! :heart:
Reply
:iconavalanchepark:
avalanchepark Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014
what amazes me is that you are so coherent and verbally gifted after all this - that the damage and the journey didn't rob you of everything. I think this puts the poem 'Titans' into a clear light.....
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
It took so long to get over this, though. I think part of it was I was so young when the worst of it - the DUIs, the jailtime, my parents' first split-up - happened. And also I've seen so many therapists for my disorder that Dad's alcoholism has crept into the stories I tell them. I'm amazed, too, but I understand that I had a lot of help to stay standing. 
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:iconwhyhi:
WhyHi Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014
amazing.. 
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:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmnis101:
MNIS101 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is really depressing and it seems very hard to live with
I feel so sorry for you even without knowing you
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
:huggle: It was hard to live with. But I'm much better now, and so is my father. 
Reply
:iconswissmello:
SwissMello Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Student General Artist
sorry for the personal comment, but sometimes it really scares me when reading this because a. my dad is a alchoholic, b. my name is Katherine
I really love your work anyway ^^; theyre very emotional and very well written *hugs*
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
It's a small world we're living in.
If it makes you feel better, nobody calls me that. I'm either "Katie Renee" or just "Katie."

Thank you. :heart: And I'm sorry about your father. 
Reply
:iconswissmello:
SwissMello Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014  Student General Artist
oh no thats how i spell my nickname XD not Renee though, hehe. 
Its fine :) 
Reply
:iconsquiddy-chan:
Squiddy-chan Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014
Very touching.
You're a very brave person. :)
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014   Writer
Thank you. :huggle: 
Reply
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February 16, 2014
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