My name is Darby. I am an alcoholic.
Actually, my name isn’t Darby — that’s just the name that Laird Harrison used in his book about our childhood. But this also isn’t an AA meeting; in fact I don’t know who is reading this, so I might as well keep this fake name to protect the shreds of privacy that are left to me while making my one important point.
My parents’ experiment in group marriage or polyamory or whatever you want to call it did not drive me to drink.
I drove me to drink.
It seems a little weird that “Adrienne,” being a doctor, doesn’t realize this but alcoholism is a disease. A certain number of people have a gene that makes them vulnerable to becoming alcoholic. If they never have a drink, they’ll do fine. But once they start drinking, they can’t stop.
I was a precocious girl. At 10 years old, I wondered what was this thing that grownups were so excited about. I went from drinking out of curiosity to drinking to be cool to drinking because I couldn’t stop.
The group marriage wasn’t to blame — if anything it kept drinks out of my hands since I suddenly had twice as many parents monitoring my affairs. Ending that marriage didn’t help, either.
My life took a dive afterwards. There isn’t space here to describe the abusive boyfriends, the jobs from which I got fired, or the time I shut the garage door and got into my car with the engine running. Let’s just say I had to hit the bottom before I could see how much I needed help.
I am writing this in the hope that someone will read it and wake up before they sink that low. If you are that person, my advice to you is to pray. Find other people who are going through the same thing, and lean on them, but also understand that they, too, will need the help of God, a higher power, the life force, whatever you want to call it.
Also, do not blame your parents. Agreed?