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"The Text I Never Sent" by Jenny Deupree

Gary Miller

Dear Mom & Dad.  It has become very clear to me that both of you have a problem with alcohol. I knew about Mom since I was 23. A school friend, after Mom had drifted in and out of the room, asked “How long has your mother had an alcohol problem?” Bam! The lights went on. I knew there was something wrong, I just didn’t know what it was. I remember cleaning off a table from breakfast, and there was a cup of tea left at your place. So I took a sip. It wasn’t tea, it was bourbon. Dad, I thought Mom was the alcoholic and you were the sober one.  She got sloppy all the time. I only saw you sloppy once. I had come home from college, the bus took me from the airport to a hotel downtown where you were supposed to pick me up.  I waited and waited and finally you staggered through the door and fell down in front of me with your head in my lap. I got you up, to the car, took the keys away from you, said “No, I’ll drive.”  I never said the word “drunk” in your presence. I always said things like “Mom’s not too good.”  When the “Children of Alcoholics” information came out in 1984, your 5 children immediately became the Deupree ACOA group.