Family Weekend Sets Me Apart
Family Weekend on college campuses everywhere is an age old tradition where family members visit for the whole weekend and participate in activities and tailgating designed to bring students and their families closer. I've heard it's fun and both families and their students love it. This weekend happens to be the weekend I dread the most because this closeness and fun can't happen for me. Fact of life.
I Have To Leave Town
This is the weekend that I run away to another city to pretend family Weekend doesn't exist. I've never celebrated this collegiate right of passage because I don't have a family to celebrate with. Well, technically yes I have a family. While my father has passed away, all my siblings and mother are alive, but we're not alive in terms of relationships.
Why Family Weekend Would Be A Disaster
If i were to bring my family to family weekend, (not that any of them would because we don't speak) my siblings would be arguing about some political topic that doesn't matter, one of them might retreat into another world and stare at the phone the whole time. My mother (and best friend) would most likely stand and smile in the hope that some natural disaster would strike so that it would be over. That's sad.
What About Me
And then there's me. Embarrassed beyond anything and confused about why my family lacks the simple social grace to survive one weekend with my friends' families. Why does it feel like I'm the only person at my school who's family doesn't jump at the opportunity to be together and light heartedly catch up on recent events in each other’s lives? It's hard to accept why we're different.
Addiction Has Molded Us
My family is different from the happy ones of Family Weekend because the disease of alcoholism has so deeply effected my family dynamic that our relationships are broken. Right now it seems there is no hope in recovering those relationships. I know I will never have that perfectly candid picture of the whole family smiling and laughing like my friends do. And I know that no family is really perfect, but other families, call them normies, can at least others can fake it for one weekend.
I Feel Alone
Am I alone in this? It sure feels like it. I can't tell my friends about this. It's another secret that children of alcoholics have to keep. Why share something that makes me ashamed and set apart? But we have to start talking about it, or else no one will ever know what it's like to have a family that isn't together not because we want it that way, but because something broke us and we can't mend. Someday I hope I can come to terms with the reality of my broken family, but not this year. This is my senior year and I will spend my last college Family Weekend with anyone except my family. The truth I have to hold on to is that each one of my family members is on a journey as tough as mine, and not being together isn't a personal attack on me. If they were all in a much better place in their lives, I'm sure they would love to have fun together and support me at the same time.
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