14 Comments

  1. Anonymous PNW guy
    Anonymous PNW guy April 8, 2016 at 12:03 pm | | Reply

    Another great story that I’m going to use to start conversations, thank you.

    So much of this story rang true for me, my mother was an angry alcoholic. We had many days where you would come home from school knowing that there was no phone, no heat, and no food. I always had to try to be the first person home so that in case my mom was blacked out in he kitchen, I could move her so that my sister or brother wouldn’t have to see it. She was basically a 19 year old college kid at a party school. You couldn’t count on anything other than you couldn’t count on her.

    I also never let anyone in to what was happening because there was no point. They all had two parents that cared if they missed class, didn’t deliver papers on schedule, or had a bad grade. I brought someone over once in high school and walked into my mom trying to talk to the remote control like it was a telephone. My friend thought that was hilarious until she launched the remote at them and yelled at them for draining the battery on the cordless.

    There wasn’t really any “feeling safe”. I couldn’t feel that way in my room because in a rage my mom broke the doors off the hinges in every room. I didn’t feel all that safe in school because I was a super angry kid who passed classes but was always suspended for yelling at a teacher or fighting someone. I mostly just played hours and hours of football, basketball, and baseball and tried to stay away from everything as much as possible.

    I hope Jesse can let someone in. I’ve found that animals are very helpful. I’ve gone through a lot of very low times where the only thing that stopped the darkness from taking over was that my dog dropped his leash in my lap and wagged his butt at me like a goof. It also makes sure you’re out and about and doing things.

  2. Robin
    Robin April 8, 2016 at 12:31 pm | | Reply

    My extended family was full of alcoholics. Back then it wasn’t talked about but alluded to. No one relative ever sought help. Addiction is a horrible, painful thing, and for me it wasn’t in my immediate family. I can’t imagine being a young child like Jesse. Bless you Jesse.

  3. Meghan
    Meghan April 8, 2016 at 1:12 pm | | Reply

    Another amazing story Erica. I hope that Jesse knows that she is a remarkable young woman that has people rooting for her.

  4. Jill
    Jill April 8, 2016 at 4:48 pm | | Reply

    This story is a beautiful example of resiliency and hope in the midst of brutally terrifying circumstances. Jesse, you are not alone, and you have given countless other people like yourself a message of hope we all need to hear. Erica, thank you for yet another profoundly moving episode.

  5. Anon
    Anon April 9, 2016 at 12:35 am | | Reply

    Dear Jesse,
    It hurts and it continues to hurt for some time but, you’re on the right path. We never have to be like our parents and we owe them nothing once they take so much from us. Be safe and do good.

  6. Bess
    Bess April 9, 2016 at 4:18 pm | | Reply

    Erica–beautiful interview— and Wow!–what a courageous and articulate and strong young woman Jesse is. I wish her all the luck in the world. Talk about resilience and faith in what is possible. Thank you. Bess

  7. Sage
    Sage April 9, 2016 at 7:37 pm | | Reply

    Jesse and Erica,

    This was beautiful, honest, and hopeful. Jesse is articulate and deep, and once again, Erica, you were just in the background letting her speak. I’m excited for Jesse to go to college and create her own world, and I imagine she will find her people… the ones who will get her and appreciate her truth.

    I can’t help but also comment that Jesse wants a house with lots of windows, and this photo is an eye looking straight ahead at her future, and in the middle of her eye is a great reflection of the window lighting her, with a great shadow of the photographer. Someone who sees and hears her.

    I was worried about listening to this one, and it ended up making me happy because Jesse has a bright future and knows it.

  8. Tim
    Tim April 10, 2016 at 8:44 am | | Reply

    Erica, What a beautiful and powerful interview. Here is to hoping that Jesse can break the cycle of addiction in her family. She certainly seems to have an incredible head on her shoulders and an extraordinarily mature insight into the forces she is facing. Thank you!

  9. Paul Falcone
    Paul Falcone April 11, 2016 at 10:54 am | | Reply

    I came from a home without any outward problems, no alcohol or drugs, just a father with a hidden past of jail time. My mother never explained his fits of anger but pitted us five kids against one another. Tension would build, he would explode and the house would be wrecked but right after that was the best time because the worst had already happened and he was quiet, worn out. But then the conspires would start building in his head that THEY were going to find him and put him back in jail and on it went. It would have been something very special if there was someone who could have said “you don’t deserve this.” As a kid you assume that you are bad and nothing makes sense in the world, just random violence happens and you hope to find cover. Now, older, there is still the feeling that no one understands this cycle and you are alone with it, carrying a deep black hole where your heart is, afraid of relationships thinking that they could go bad at any time. My mothers favorite saying was,”Good things happen to good people,” but when they go don’t you assume that it is because you are not “Good people.” So you need to find your goodness and help others find theirs.

  10. Lynn M
    Lynn M April 12, 2016 at 8:58 am | | Reply

    Erica, thanks for giving Jesse a voice. Another excellent piece.

    Jesse, you are on the right track! Don’t worry – at college you will find people who love and accept you and all the things in your past. Maybe you will even find people who share your experiences. You are strong, but know it’s ok to not always be strong – and at those times you need help, ask for it. Thanks for sharing your story, and good luck. We are rooting for you.

  11. Lisa
    Lisa April 15, 2016 at 8:01 pm | | Reply

    My first Rumblestrip interview. Jackpot. I serve on the Board of the Turning Point Center of Chittenden County, which provides a safe space and supports for people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. But the families, and the children impacted. There is so much more that needs to be done. So sad that Jesse has had to give up her childhood, but glad that she is excited about the freedom that awaits her.

  12. C
    C July 1, 2016 at 6:56 pm | | Reply

    Jesse, I hope you read these comments. Like many people I am the child of addicts and alcoholics. My father burned himself up in a blaze of drugs and alcohol when he was 36 and I was 11, and my mother was drunk for much of my adult life, until a friend of hers and I made her go to a rehab center where she actually sobered up and has stayed that way. I’d like to tell you that your mother’s and grandmother’s diseases don’t damn you to any particular fate. You don’t become an addict just because your parents are addicts. Maybe some people are more susceptible to addictions than others, but addiction happens because of a series of choices that proceed until the person loses his or her ability to choose. The more you are aware of how that process happens in people close to you, the better armed you are against making those choices yourself. You seem to understand that already. You are already making choices to bring you to a different reality.

    I’d also tell you to remember that your mother and her disease are not the same. It is easy to confuse the two sometimes. The disease makes your mother do things that she otherwise wouldn’t. I think it’s important to keep that in mind.

  13. Cynthia
    Cynthia October 3, 2016 at 9:33 pm | | Reply

    Dear Jesse,

    Run, don’t walk to an Alanon/ Alateen meeting near you. Every day of the week all over the world, you WILL find people who love and understand you there. It doesn’t matter that the addiction is something other than alcohol, the skills you will learn there, and the beauty that you will find there among friends who know your story before you ever tell it will amaze you. Just go to an Alanon discussion meeting and listen a few times. It sounds wrong, that your mother and grandmother have addictions, and you need to go for help, but addiction is a family disease. The skills you learned to survive in your family of origin are not useful or healthy moving forward with your one wild and wonderful life. If going to a meeting is too scary at first, then get a copy of How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics and start reading it. Do it for yourself and your future children and grandchildren. You can end the cycle of addiction in your family. I know because I have been where you are. Al-Anon and the support of a good therapist have helped me heal. I wish for you the peace that I found in Alanon.

  14. Iona
    Iona December 29, 2016 at 12:39 am | | Reply

    Dearest Jesse,

    I have no words of wisdom for you. I just wanted to wish you the very best with my sincere hope that you find a tribe of people you can trust. You are far wiser than your high school age suggests.

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