Thank you for this great piece, Patrick. This article brought up a lot of personal memories, that I never really talk about all that much, but were traumatic and formative in hindsight.
TW: alcoholism, parental abuse
My mother is an alcoholic and she used to leave my brother and me at home on weekend nights, so she could go out drinking. We were 9 and 10 years old respectively when she started doing it every weekend. Because of my physical disability she tasked my brother with looking out for me. He used to call our uncle or older cousin, when she didn’t come home at the agreed upon time. She would come home staggeringly drunk, whilst calling out our names and telling us that she loved us, while we would have to convince her to get up and go to sleep in her bed. This went on for years. She never stopped and always had excuses ready, no matter which one of our family would try to talk her out of it. Meanwhile she would threaten us not to say a word about any of this to our teachers or friends, because she was scared of having child services called on her. This went on for years until we were in our late teens and were old enough to go out ourselves.
To this day I get very anxious, when I’m home alone at night. Once I had my own apartment I spent the frist few months staying awake for hours on end. Although I’m much more concerned about my brother who was burdened with responsibilities beyond his age for years.