A version of this ran in The Drinking Diaries last year (it’s been rewritten for you, Pranksters) and today they’re running a follow-up interview with me today so I thought I’d be brave and post it on my real blog today.


I am an adult child of two alcoholics, and although there are nifty acronyms used to refer to us, I prefer my real name: Becky (unless you want to call me Princess of Power). The Internet knows me as Aunt Becky and there’s probably a number of you scratching your head over my incongruently named site: “Mommy Wants Vodka.”

I’ve been mixed up plenty into articles about Diane Schuler, the lady who killed her kids, bashing me for being a Cocktail Mom. Hell, I even made it into the New York Times for that, even though I seldom blog about drinking.

In reading up on the other issues facing my cohorts, my fellow children of alcoholics–who also, presumably, have names–I think that in spite of the flack that I get, humor is the far healthier way to handle it. I’ve somehow, by the grace of God, perhaps, been able to avoid many of the nastier lasting effects of my childhood. I am not shy, I do not suffer from low self-esteem, and I don’t obsessively hoard china cat figurines or keep my toenail clippings in jars.

I do have anxiety and guilt and the emotional range of a toddler and I frequently blame myself for things that never had anything to do with me. I’m about as trusting with even those closest to me as an abused animal. There are probably three people on the planet who really know me. Maybe less.

But I’m trying to work through this because I know I deserve better than I got.

Every day; every single day that I wake up, I wonder if today will be the day that it hits. We adult children of alcoholics are four times more likely than the general population to develop issues with substance abuse. FOUR TIMES. For someone like me, who has not one, but two alcoholic parents, this number must be infinitesimally higher. So I wait.

It’s exhausting, this waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So I sit and I wait, and while I do this, I build a new life for myself: I’m a mother, a writer, a friend. A daughter. A sister. A niece and a cousin.

My name is Becky, and I am not an alcoholic.

100 thoughts on “My Name Is Becky And I Am Not An Alcoholic

  1. It’s hard to be snarky when you’re all sensitive and honest, so I’ll save the photos of my toe-nail clippings jar until tomorrow. *slurp*

        1. No, they really dont. For most people it is genetic. They dont even dont start drinking in excess (with of course the exception of teenagers who get drunk on purpose. Most alcoholics start our as moderate drinkers, they dont realize they are drinking in excess when they are. It sneaks up on people. The more you drink the more you can tolerate, so they dont feel “drunk”. At that point in alcoholism the alcoholic doesnt even know they are one. That is stage one.

        2. “”Most alcoholics start our as moderate drinkers, they dont realize they are drinking in excess when they are. It sneaks up on people. The more you drink the more you can tolerate, so they dont feel “drunk”.””

          Isn’t that the way any addiction works? Start with small amounts and increase the dosage until your tolerance level reaches the point were actual damage begins to occur?

      1. People choose to drink alchohol. People choose sobriety. I bet breast cancer patients wish their disease left them with those kind of choices. As the child of enough alocholics to be a Budweiser heir, if you pick up the bottle, own the consequences as part of the choice you made. Don’t drink and you won’t ever become a drunk. That will be $500.00 for the office visit. Disease cured.

        Do I sound bitter? Thanks Mom and Dad.

        1. Dont get me wrong. You are right. But alcoholism IS a disease (AMA recognized in fact). There are tons of people that can drink all they want and are not alcoholics. Alcoholics with that disease are goners from the first drink. The compulsion is there right from the start. Its not that the alcoholic loves alcohol more than you. I would bet that they dont even want to drink and dont like themselves very much in fact. They are battling a demon that is very strong. Sometimes stronger than them. I have the upmost respect for recovering alcoholics, because I know from my family that it is a battle every day, every hour, every minute. It isnt that your parents didnt love you, its that their compulsion was stronger than they were (or are).

      2. I agree with most of what you are saying, I KNOW they don’t like themselves very much. And I KNOW they don’t love us less. But I just can’t agree with the “choice” aspect. And I refuse to ever recongnize it as a disease. A “sickness” … most definitely. A mental illness. Cancer is a disease, MS is a disease, alcoholism is something an alcoholic did to themselves and if they want to bad enough, they can get rid of it.

        1. No, I understand what you mean. I really, really get what you’re saying. I was watching something about a little kid the other night and he was crying (totally unrelated to alcohol or whatever) and I thought to myself, “there was a time when I was that kid, and someone loved me.” And it hit me really, really hard then. So I get it.

          But I’ve made my peace with who I have become and who my parents are. I wish I’d grown up differently. I wish someone had loved me more. But I’m going to do better than that for my own. Does that make sense?

          I wish you love and peace.

  2. Alcoholism is everywhere in my family, but no one’s an acknowledged alcoholic. I think it would be better if there were drunken horror stories I could point to, but no, it was a much quieter phenomenon in my house.

    Sounds like you feel me on that one.

    But you, Princess of Power? I don’t think you’ll ever become one. You’re much too full of The Awesome to suffer that fate (sorry, I was being too genuine. had to go back to snark, where I feel comfortable).

  3. It’s always there in the back of your mind. If I have a drink more than once a week I can’t help but ask myself if I am falling into that.

    All we can do is remind ourselves that we can be stonger than the demons of our parents.

  4. I am Natalie, the daughter of only one alcoholic. And my grandmother died of liver failure less than two weeks ago. (Her fault.) I can’t imagine growing up with two alcoholics in the house.

    You’re a superstar, btw. I love that you’re not the toenails in a jar kind of person. (Neither am I, but those trust issues sure are a bitch.)

  5. Power to the Princess! You wake up every day and you make. good. choices.

    That is all anyone can do, really. The other shoe tends to drop on those who are not awake, not aware, not actively choosing.

  6. Fellow Adult Child of two alcoholic parents that come from a long line of substance abuse. That led me to not have anything to drink until I was 24 because I was so worried about my own predisposition. I can relate to the whole post and I am right there with you

  7. I, too am the adult child of two alcholics…. and pot heads.

    Congrats, and I am proud to say that I am not an alcoholic or a pot head!

    Yea us!

  8. Statistics are just numbers. We don’t wake up every day waiting the results of a lottery in which we have more tickets in the draw. We still make the decisions in our lives.

    Keep doing a great job as a mother, writer, friend, daughter, sister, niece and cousin.

  9. I hear you. My grandfather died of cirrhosis at 47. Of my aunts and uncles more than half have had major chemical problems. But I don’t worry about that. They just drink/snort to cover the schizophrenia. That’s what I worry about. When am I going to wake up and ((know)) that Dave Letterman is my lover or that I’m receiving special messages through the google search patterns?

    Happy St. Patty’s Day!

  10. I totally feel ya. I only have one parent who is/was an alcoholic, but both my father’s parents and all 6 of his brothers battle(d) with alcoholism as well. I’ve always, always been hyperaware of this and never ever had a drink to solve a problem in my life. Luckily, though, I’ve never felt like I really needed to have a drink, despite what emotional woes I was experiencing at the time. I’ve cried and eaten comfort foods, but that’s about the extent of it. And after realizing that I had gotten uncomfortably chubby, I lost it all by salsa dancing by butt off. So I guess I’ve escaped the demon, but I’ve always wondered if and when it would hit me.

  11. I was completely disillusioned to learn that your drink of choice is bourbon. And then I thought, Hey! I need some bourbon for a recipe, but I’m not willing to spend $20 on a bottle that no one will drink. Do you have any extra? I need 3 tablespoons.

    Great interview.

    Do you think you’ll ever get to the point where you think “I’m in the clear. It’s too late for me to become an alcoholic.” and relax? Or will you just transfer your fears for yourself onto the children?

  12. you slayed that beast, girl. you’re full of the awesome!

    ps: i love your emotional range. i hope you remain as mature as a toddler forever and never sit still!

  13. I hear ya loud and clear. My dad was an alcoholic and after 30 hard years, his body quit and he died almost three years ago. I like a drink every now and then but sometimes it tastes “too good” and I have to stop.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  14. Big hugs for you Aunt Becky, I’ve got the alchoholic drug addict momma too. As much as she pisses me off with all her bullshit and games she is a great motivator to keep my shit together.

  15. My family is full of alcoholics too, and I get so irritated watching their trainwreck lives, when I’ve managed to scrape by with only some anxiety and depression for my experiences. You don’t choose to have an addictive tendency, but you DO choose how to handle it. Blaming other people, acting helpless and denying the problem are the typical strategies employed around here. Sickening.
    But good for you, Bexter (like you tv boyfriend but with a B, right?) for staying clean. Well, chemically speaking….

  16. Alcoholism runs in my family as well. My brother and two uncles. But I don’t ever worry that I’ll become an alcoholic. I was always the good kid, because I saw the devastation that my brother’s alcoholism brought to our lives, and I would never want to be the cause of that.

    So my advice is, don’t worry about it. You’re just giving it power by doing so. And you’re wasting precious energy being worried, when you could just be happy instead.

    My $.02 🙂

  17. As the old saying goes, “alcoholic’s go to meetings, I just an old fashioned drunk”

    I’ve been know to consume vast amounts of gin when the mood strikes me. But, that mood is always a happy one. If I’m angry or depressed, I never drink. There are no solutions at the bottom of a bottle.

  18. I think it should be pretty clear to anyone who’s actually read you at all that you don’t advocate alcohol as a crutch or even a hobby. I seriously can’t imagine where anyone would get such a misguided notion. Unless, that is, they saw how you Bedazzled your phone and just put 2 and 2 together …

  19. I lived in a house with an alcholic grandmother and four drug addicts, and I turned ok. Well except for the fact that I’m an imperfect perfectionist.

  20. It is quite clear to me, who IS an alcoholic, that no one who has commented so far has any real idea. Sorry, I am sure I am stepping on someone’s toes, but those of us who ARE alcoholics didn’t wake up one morning and “decide” to be a drunk. And to NOT drink for one of us is a lot more difficult than anyone can imagine-unless thye have done it. AND I think you are smart to worry-maybe not to the point of obsessing about NOT drinking, but statistics say that you are a lot more at risk than the average person-so you need to be aware of these things. And hey, even if you NEVER drink, NEVER smoke pot, NEVER do anything at all compulsively because you were the good kid and learned by example, well, good for you. you are a minority. Most ACOA’s have issues, lots and lots of them.

    1. I battle with this every now & then, resenting where I came from .. which is directly from a broken home .. incomplete with 1 drunk mom and a distant drunk dad (who are both still drunks and sick), and 2 sisters who have battled addiction. And so not to be left out of the cycle, I have a daughter whose drunken dad isn’t in her life anymore. I don’t feel sorry for them and I really don’t care how how hard it is for them not to drink. What I care about (when I get mad enough because for the most part … I’ve gotten over it all) is that I was ripped right the fuck off. Not 1, but 2 shit parents then at 18 when I was too young to realize what I was doing, gave my daughter part of that too. Oh hell yes they had choices … they ALL had choices, WE all have choices. They chose to break their families … even BEFORE they hit that point where the decision was no longer theirs.

      1. Stacey, I do feel for you, because a lot of that shit has gone on in my family, and it is a cycle. I have a brother and 2 sisters who I pray for every day. But you are clearly NOT over it all. Have you gone to AlAnon? Or COAP meetings?

        1. I said for the most part, I am over it. Meaning, I get on with my life the best I can and I “accept” who & what they are, as much as I hate it. But I don’t expect them to ever change. I guess I do pity them and am just greatful that I have a stronger mind & more will than them. I made a mistake with my daughters dad and I take full responsibility for that. I do what I feel I need to to make up for it and have changed the course of my path, hoping I “break the cycle”. I’m pretty sure I wont ever FULLY get over where I came from, or what I did to my daughter by chosing her dad. I may end up in counselling down the road, especially with my parents at their ages and as unhealthy as they are. I wont deny that, but it will not be with Al-Anon. I have been to meetings and tried an on-line group and didn’t like any of it. I guess you can say that I took what I wanted and left the rest.

  21. I’m with you. My father is a recovering alcoholic, as well as my husband.
    I worry daily that I’m going to lose it, and start drinking like a fish.
    I worry that if I do drink socially, I won’t know when to stop.
    I just stay away from it..Better to stay away then to let that other shoe drop, right?

  22. i didn’t grow up with alcoholics, but i have trust issues as well. as for the maturity (or lack of it) – i think that’s why i get along with middle-schoolers so well!

    you totally have the Power (all us princesses do) and you are full of the Awesome and i can’t imagine my life without you in it…okay too sappy

    pig bitch :O)

  23. Heart wrenching post. I’m with ya. My mom came from a long line of raging alcoholics. She doesn’t rage. She’s quiet about her drinking. My 6 siblings and I tread the spirit waters very cautiously. I know your pain. I have a few scars of my own, not to point blame, but mainly thanks to neglect. The bottle was a bigger love. You done good. Brave post there, girlie.

  24. I hear you too. I come from an Irish family. Nuff said. While people may disagree with stereotyping, stereotyping is done for a reason.

    PS – You are a wife too 😛

    1. I too come from an Irish family and your stance is the same as mine. Sad so many of us understand isn’t it?

  25. Although I personally do not know what it is like to have alcoholic, I have plenty of friends that do, and developed problems in their adult life.

    I think you are incredibly strong to be able to talk about this so openly. You are making the best out of the cards you’ve been dealt. You’re an inspiration to a lot of people.

  26. In 1987 we had a family reunion, thankfully the only and last one. I got a good look at my family tree and haven’t had a drink of alcohol since.
    Hi my name is Gaylin and I am not a alcoholic either.
    As it has been pointed out a few times one does not ‘choose’ to become an alcoholic but one can certainly choose NOT to become one.
    Personally the occasional bit of dark chocolate is way better than drinking anyways.
    Trust is a whole other issue, I have a few people I trust, none of them family.

  27. The simple fact that you are aware of the fact that it’s out there will help you go far in breaking the chain.

    But even if, at some point you are worried never fear – Sobermommy is here 🙂

  28. That was a great article and you rock! And totally missing the point of the story – please tell me that Princess of Power is a SheRa reference…PLEASE! 🙂

  29. My name is Denise and I am not an alcoholic either! During my youth I drank alot, just like all of my friends and family. As I grew older I chose to slow it down. My lifestyle couldn’t handle it to be honest. If you made it this far you will be fine!

  30. Leecee stopping by to give you praises.
    I, too, come from an alcoholic family, as well as substance abusers and a few other things.
    Hail, Princes of Power!!!

  31. Like me, you’re WAY too aware to ever let it happen to you. In fact, I’d wager that the vodka thing is a ruse, and that you probably either never drink or only have one socially when you feel like you’d stand out if you didn’t.

  32. My dad was an alcoholic and now I know why I hoard china cat figurines! I am glad I am not alone.

    Seriously, though, when that NYT article came out I wrote this:


    …and I normally would think it was douchetastic to like post a link to a blog in someone’s blog comments, but I figure since I mention/link to you in the post, you won’t hate me, Plus, we have writing partner bonding from a certain other site which shall remain nameless (the Site We Shall Not Speak Of?).

    Love your honesty/you.

    I’m kind of rocking the whole ‘dry drunk’ thing, so it’s all good. 😉


  33. You’ve probably wasted enough energy and stress waiting for the other shoe to drop. It probably will never. I wish you wouldn’t worry so much about what your parents are and how far the apple falls from the tree. You know you are a strong woman. If you were me though, I’d tell you to be a little careful because I have the itch. I’ve identified it and I pay a little more attention to it than the average person whose parents aren’t drunks would lol … I like to gamble and drink. And way back when, I even tried most drugs out there. Drugs are not my thing. I am bitter towards the people that gave me a shitty life when I was too young to make my own choices, but as a responsible adult (and that’s disputable at the best of times … 😉 ) now, I am comfortable with my own choices. Even when my choices lead me to a wicked Saturday hangover or to a blackjack table for 3 hours on a friday night .. still comfortable. I have given their addictions enough of my time & energy. It’s time to move on.

  34. This was such a wonderful post. My mother is a recovering alcoholic, sober now something amazing like 20 years. But from the time I was born, until I was about 4 she was apparently a train wreck of epic proportions.

    I was lucky that my mother realized that to be a good mother she would need to stop drinking, and was able to actually stick to her goals.

    Most children aren’t as lucky as I was, but it’s comforting to hear from people who stand up and say with pride that their parents made mistakes, but they are still standing tall.

  35. I’m so glad you are not an alcoholic –
    I do believe that I am more glad you don’t keep your toenail clippings in jars.
    Be proud of yourself – for both!

  36. My parents are straight arrows with addictions to grouchiness and Judge Judy but both of their fathers were alcoholics. My brother is an alcoholic as were all of my uncles and great-uncles. I did a fair amount of drinking when I was younger but I hardly touch the stuff now. I think I’m safe but I worry so much about my boys.

  37. This was an awesome post! And I don’t know… Princess of Power might just be applicable here. I loved your honesty and commitment. Those are just some of the many things that you ARE. Now, all you can do is try to keep that other shoe in the air. One day at a time.

  38. Great read Aunt Becky! My mom is the daughter of an alcoholic and she DID NOT jump into that pool and broke the cycle. She also broke the cycle of childhood sexual (beyond horrific) abuse and is a LOVING, NURTURING, ENCOURAGING, AMAZING Mom! We are the authors of our lives and your authorship is friggin funny! Never ever let anyone lump you in with ANYONE! EVAH!!!!

    1. I confess I feel similar.. My family and my fraternal fore bearers are riddled with depression. My husband’s father and mother both battled with depression.
      My brother committed suicide 20 years ago. My FIL tried 2x. His mother killed herself, as did his father. My other brother attempted; my cousin blew his head off this past summer. Three other cousins battle with bi-polar disease daily.

      I truly believe alcohol and depression go together. The depressed individual self medicating.. trying to feel better.

      Not giving excuses to anyone but in my experience seems to be sadly true. Sometimes alcohol becomes the magic potion that keeps those severely depressed ‘together’.

      Which is why I so frequently stick my nose out and encourage people who are depressed to seek help. Nothing to be ashamed of.. Better seek help than kill yourself through suicide or deadly life habits.

  39. Bexter and Dexter – I LOVE you both – love your new name!!

    I am not an alcoholic and neither are my parents – they were tetotallers by religion. Then one of my cousins became a doctor and a few years later a drug addict and is now ‘recovering’ or ‘recovered’ and runs an addiction clinic. He told us we can have the addictive tendancy gene, even though we come from a long line of tetotallers. I may or may not be screwed – I think I won’t worry. . . takes sip of wine.

    I still love you, even if you would rather be Becky than Bexter.

  40. You are your own person Becky, and you write your own story. And for what I’ve seen so far, you do a damn good job writing it. You’ve got nothing to worry about my friend. If the other shoe starts to drop, I trust your athletic son to kick it away before it hits the ground.

  41. Hi, I am Becca, and I am not an alcoholic either. I totally get living with the idea of the other shoe dropping, because on top of the alcoholism that runs rampant in my family; organic type mental illnesses are tossed right on top of it, isn’t that always the case, so much self medicating amongst alcoholics.


  42. Wow. Amazing post. I come from a long line of folks with MAJOR depression/mental illness and I keep waiting for that shoe to drop. I also feel guilty everyday that for whatever reason I’ve managed to dodge that bullet so far.

  43. Oh, my dear Becks.

    It is entirely possible that for you, the other shoe will NOT drop. It’s perfectly sensible to be cautious, of course.

    I love being able to call you my friend.

    Love, One Of The Girls For Whom The Shoe Dropped (But She Later Used It To Kick Ass)!

  44. You are full of the awesome for being so open and honest with us! It breaks my heart to see how many people have been effected by alcoholism and substance abuse. There’s too much pain in the world and too many wounds that cannot be healed by conventional means. I think laughter is the best medicine and your blog makes me laugh every day!

  45. Wow. That’s tough … as are you, Becky.

    My mother was/is clinically depressed and in denial. She spends hours watering her houseplants and watching Perry Mason reruns, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy. My father has no insight into her illness and believes “righteous” people don’t have those types of illnesses because Jesus fixes everything. So my mother can’t be ill because that would mean she’s not righteous. It’s painful to watch so I don’t.

    After lots of years of observation, I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion every family has its dysfunction and we are more a product of our own choices than our upbringing. You are breaking the cycle, Becky. Princess of Power indeed!

    P.S. I still like fantasizing about my mom as a bong-totin’ hippie … beats the hell out of clinically depressed, self-righteous, and in denial.

  46. My dad was an alcoholic and he died from it ultimately. Very sad. And wouldn’t you know there are 3 of us kids and one of us, my sister, is addicted to booze. I totally believe that waiting for the shoe to drop is a logical thing.

  47. I, too, find myself waiting for that shoe. When I was prescribed narcotics for pain, (the biggest of which was for Dilaudid and I KNOW you know about Dilaudid, given the nursing background and what not) I was INCREDIBLY worried about developing a problem. I grew up with an alcoholic step-father and my biological father (lovingly referred to as Bio-Dad) has BIG TIME issues with hard drugs. I suffer from the emotional bullshit, I blame myself for EVERYTHING and the self esteem is not the greatest. Nor are my social skills, for that matter.

    I count myself as being INCREDIBLY fortunate to not have any hard core issues. Sure I have to count the number of times I pack my cigarettes (5 smacks in 1 group of 5) and the number of times I rinse out my mouthwash lid (5 times). And yeah, I have to have the volume on the TV at a number that ends with either a 0 or a 5 (hmm… Might have a touch of OCD?), but I over came a drinking problem in my early 20s and can drink a beer or a glass of wine with out NEEDING to have a billionty of them. I also was able to stop taking my pain medication with out incident. Hell, after at LEAST 6 months of taking Dilaudid every night, I didn’t even have any withdrawal symptoms. I am very, VERY lucky.

    Yet, every day, I worry about whether or not I’m gonna find myself in the bottom of that hole, trying to claw my way out. If that day ever DOES come, I hope that at least 1 of the very few people who really, truly know me, will help me through it.

  48. Your name is Becky and you are way freakin rad! My dad was an alcoholic (I say was because he’s dead, but not from booze) and I drink but I do my best to watch how much and on what occasions. Keep doing your thing Becky and I will keep reading it!!!

  49. You, Aunt Becky, are a phenomenally amazing woman, mother, and human being. And I have to say I was delighted to know you before this post, now, I’m honored.

  50. I only had one alcoholic parent, but he really tried take it up a notch. You know, hiding from the law, getting arrested in front of my brother who was 4. Ahhhh good times. I too fear waking up addicted. I know I have tendency to addiction, thus I avoid many things. I want better for my kids than I ever had.

  51. i, too, wait for the shoe. my dad died of alcoholism after an intervention, inpatient treatment, and before that, two years sober through aa. he relapsed almost as soon as he got out of rehab, and no one picked up on it because he lived alone. He finally ended up not going to the dr. for something that could have been fixed if he had, and died an ugly and painful death. i can’t help but think that it was not as ugly as the life he was living though. he knew we all loved him, and would do anything to help him, but i had to cut most ties with him after that intervention didn’t work, for my kids’ sake. it’s such a lonely thing to be a child of an alcoholic, and i thank god for my mom every day-she made our lives as happy and normal as possible. even now, though, it’s weird to run into people who never had ANY IDEA that my successful, pharmacist dad was an alcoholic who made his daughter feel inferior every day. i still, whenever i’m happy, feel that someone is going to come along and take it away from me, and something bad is going to happen any minute. it sucks and i hate it. i just keep on keepin’ on, and do my best to be a good mom. there aren’t many people who understand it, that’s for sure-so thanks beck…i don’t feel so alone anymore.

  52. I think your awareness of the problem will help keep the other shoe from dropping. At least that’s what I keep telling myself to keep my other shoe from crashing to the floor. Big props to you, my friend. Hugs, too.

  53. A well written post with many impassioned responses. I guess this is an issue that hits home for a lot of people. I’m proud of you for all that you’ve accomplished, personally and professionally. It’s hard not to feel resentful, as though you got screwed out of better parents and a better childhood. My mom still talks that way, and her dad quit drinking before I was born, but it never undid the damage.

    You’re giving your kids more than you got. I hope that helps.

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