Excuse Me

Basically, I believe we invent excuses so that we feel less guilty for the things we do or don’t do. As human beings, we can come up with a wide variety of reasons to justify our behavior or lack therof. As a child of an alcoholic, I have heard many excuses, none of them good enough. The alcoholic will blame everyone, but themselves. And their mate, will make excuses for both of their behavior. It is learned after living year after year with a drinker. The children learn also. They learn not to listen to words (excuses or otherwise). Children of alcoholics watch behaviors, it is the only truth. After begging Mom to leave Pop, we heard several excuses. The top two were money and love, both relevant, but not good enough. Yes, we all loved him, but he was not able to be a fully functioning, loving human being. He was not capable of being a father, husband, son, employee…etc. He was an alcoholic first, and it shadowed everything and everyone else. Alcohol made him incapable of being an asset in any other area of life. Money is the biggest excuse, believe it or not, and it is irrelevant to the child. First of all, the alcoholic spends money on drink as a first priority. Secondly, to a child, the enabling parent is seen as a protector (or supposed to be). The number one priority of a parent is to protect their children and provide support and safety. The child is dependent upon the adult. That adult is making excuses for why they cannot provide that for the child. Because, what loving parent would say, “I would like to make you feel safe, but we wouldn’t have enough money for me to do that if we left.” Wouldn’t you scrape, beg, plead, work, whatever you had to do to make your child safe? Would you not lose everything in this world, to make your child feel loved. In a sense, that parent is choosing the alcoholic or themselves over the children. By their behavior (staying) they are making a choice. Any excuse or amount of talking or explaining your actions will not make one bit of difference. The child has learned to watch behavior, not listen to reason or excuses. They may even agree with you, because that is what you want to hear and let’s face it. They have no control anyway. You are the adult. You have all the choices. It takes courage. Sometimes it takes losing everything and starting all over. It can take everything out of you, but in the end, it fills up your child. They can see a concrete action, where you are choosing their well being over the alcoholic or themselves. In my novel, I honestly tell my feelings for my mother at that time. Because she chose to stay for so long, there was times I hated her. She lied, she made excuses, she was a coward, she didn’t care enough about me, she was unreliable. It didn’t matter what words were coming out of her mouth. I was immune to talk. The only thing that made a difference was her leaving. When she left and moved us to a safe, steady environment, she was my hero, my parent. She was brave, determined, and filled with love for me. For an adult, it is complicated, and frightening. It is far from easy. For a child it is black and white. What will you do to show me that I am most important in your life and you love me? Will you make an excuse or take action?


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