I think a lot about Carter's future. Obviously, because I am her mother, love her more than I ever thought humanly possible and would do absolutely anything to protect her. Recently, I've been thinking about the possibility of her being an alcoholic and wonder how I will eventually approach the subject with her. When is it the right time to talk about alcohol and how do you introduce the idea that she may be biologically predisposed to it? It scares me because I don't want her to experience even one percent of what I went through but I also believe everyone walks their own path in this world. Her spirit is intoxicating and it's impossible to imagine that anything could ever dim her light but alcohol is deceptive and doesn't discriminate. I realize it sounds crazy because she just turned one but our family tree is riddled with alcoholism, and it would be unreasonable to ignore that there is a possibility that it is, in fact, part of her DNA. I know there are a lot of people who believe alcoholism isn't a genetic disease - I am not one of them. Seeing that I am neither a doctor or scientist, this makes me incapable of debating with any real certainty, but my family history serves as a good frame of reference for me. So, for argument's sake let's say Carter is biologically predisposed to it. This means someday she'll have to make decisions concerning her relationship to alcohol. I don't know, maybe it will be easy for her, or maybe she'll be so cool she'll laugh at it - that would be awesome and I hope to hell that happens. There is some sense of comfort in knowing that there is a reasonable chance that by me not drinking it will somehow have some positive subconscious effect on her. Fingers crossed.
If I look back at my education concerning alcohol you could make a strong case for the nurture argument or lack there of. I grew up in a house with a tremendous amount of chaos and being the youngest of six meant that by the time I came along, there wasn't a whole lot of discipline happening. Plus, my mother was free spirited with her philosophy on raising children and believed rules needn't ever be applied. As a kid, it was great because it meant the door was open to everything, but it's also like that saying 'idle hands are the devil's workshop.' I lacked guidance and stability so I looked up to my brothers and sisters who were smoking, drinking, doing drugs and it all looked like fun. I remember in my fifth-grade health class they were teaching us about abstinence which to me seemed positively laughable. I was already seduced by alcohol because I had seen first hand its effects on my siblings. I knew that as soon as I was brave enough to drink, I was going to do it. Later that year I drank for the first time in a grassy field at my parent's friends annual Labor Day party. It was leftover beer that had been sitting in the sun all day, but I loved everything about it. I didn't care that it tasted disgusting because I felt so cool and knew immediately I wanted to do it again.
Who knows if an open dialogue about the consequences of drinking would have changed my outcome, but it probably wouldn't have hurt. I suppose my alcoholism is a mixture of both - I am a casualty of my family atmosphere and our genetic code. Hindsight twenty-twenty I'm sure my parents would agree with that too. What can I say? I'm an alcoholic helicopter mom thinking about all this, but when I sit with her at night, it's hard not to look at her little face and want to protect her from everything that may cause her pain.