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Atlas & Alice | Issue 3, Spring 2015

Perhaps. What’s Coming My daughter hides the Wii remote. She’s only six, but already she knows how to hoard, to protect, to make sure that no one touches what is hers. My daughter is obsessed with TV. As soon as she wakes up, the TV goes on. When she comes home from school, she rushes through her homework to get back to the TV. If she can’t watch it, if we forbid her, she is relentless about asking us – can I watch later? Can I watch tomorrow? When can I watch again? Mommy, I’ll just watch a little while. My husband and I are recovering drug addicts. We watch this behavior and it scares us to death. She is greedy with food. She cannot wait her turn. If she loses a game, she bursts into tears and refuses to play again. If she cannot be immediately gratified, she doesn’t want it anymore, or rages, or finds a way to manipulate someone else to get it for her. She lies. She cheats at games. I am sixteen years clean. It has taken me this long to have children. For many years, I was afraid. I didn’t want to have them because I was damaged. My DNA held a curse I wouldn’t wish on anyone, the propensity to use something that made me feel good until it made me feel bad: Hostess Cupcakes, video games, cigarettes, men, alcohol, drugs. I didn’t want to watch my child go through what I had, to suffer the degradation, the shame, the powerlessness over substances. Now my daughter is powerless over TV. I wish I knew what to do. I talk to her about letting go. My husband and I take her to church so she can learn to trust and love God. We pray at the table, and whenever we have a problem. We let her know she has choices. We love her madly, endlessly. We don’t smoke. We show affection. We sign her up for soccer, swim lessons, take her camping. And still, she shows the symptoms, the signs, already. I listen to other mothers in meetings, which I attend faithfully. Some of them have children who are using actively, some have children in jail. Some have lost one or two children already, often to the same drug. I have never used heroin or crack. Now there are more terrible drugs, bath salts and meth. Who knows what will be available when she grows up? I think about the mothers who share in meetings about their sons, their little boys going to prison for years on end. Three strikes and you’re out. Many of them used while their children were still young, locking themselves in bathrooms or bedrooms while outside they called and begged to be fed, or played with or taken outside. Sometimes I say, well of course those children are using now. They are just doing what their parents did. My daughter has never seen me use drugs. She doesn’t even know my history. We tell her we go to meetings to talk about our feelings, and it’s true. But I rarely talk about this feeling, this terror in the pit of my stomach. Will she find alcohol, drugs? Will she die of an overdose before she is 25? There was a small part of me that believed I used drugs as a sort of selfmedication against the abuse I suffered as a child. I had a whole host of reasons 84

Profile for Atlas and Alice Literary Magazine

Atlas and Alice Literary Magazine  

Issue 3 | Spring 2015

Atlas and Alice Literary Magazine  

Issue 3 | Spring 2015

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