Lessons and Directions
for the Child of an Alcoholic Parent
Get a sturdy lock box.
This is where you will hide the bulk of household pills,
while reminding him for the fifth time of the day,
that he needs to take his dose
of the ones he is supposed to be on.
Get him to bed.
This is when you will check
how many bottles of alcohol are on the shelf,
while comparing them to last week’s,
and dumping them down the drain
when there is too much missing.
Get a list.
Bars open, liquor store hours, gas stations that don’t card,
Local AA connections, counselors, Grandpa’s phone number,
cheap apartments for sale,
Collect the resources to survive,
whether it’s you or him first.
Get an alibi.
When the school guidance counselor
pulls you in for the third time,
and asks you,
“Everything okay at home?”,
Tell her you were only crying
because you were embarrassed
from being picked up from school sick,
not because he came in drunkenly screaming
to sign you out.
Get some sleep.
This is important,
because you will spend too many nights,
awake until 4 in the morning,
too scared to go to sleep before him,
and when he finally does,
count them again.
The hidden pills,
the prescription pills,
the bottles of liquor,
You will wonder
if it would just be easier
to join him,
Allison Fox is an undergraduate English major with a minor in Creative Writing at Kent State University.