A couple years ago I shared my story about growing up as the child of an alcoholic. After years spent screaming into journals, wrestling with how to move beyond the mess and the pain, it was cathartic. But something incredibly unexpected happened after the story was published.

My inbox exploded with messages from readers all over the world who shared their stories, in shock that mine sounded so similar. My tribe. These people knew exactly what I had been through and had felt it all in their own way.

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A request from your chronically ill friend: what I need when we talk about my sickness.

When I meet new people, I often struggle to explain what I need. This is it.

When I was 14, I woke up with a fat face.

I was sick with a fever higher than I had ever felt. My face felt like a sumo wrestler had crammed a cantaloupe into my ear.

My mom took me to the emergency room in the closest town to our family’s remote lake house in North Carolina. Receptionists shooed me in, nurses injected butt shots, and doctors gave me doe-eyed stares. They had no idea what was wrong with me.

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Family

These 11 childhood cliches are still totally on point.

If we follow the voice from childhood still ringing in our heads, we might do better at adulting.

Did your parents set boundaries for you when you were a kid? Mine did.

But if you were anything like me as a kid, you questioned all of it. I wondered why I couldn't stay up all night at a sleepover, or why I couldn't eat a bowl of Fruit Loops at bedtime. (My mom always said, “You think you’re hungry, but you’re really just tired. Go to bed.” Thanks, Mom.)

Me and my mom. Photo courtesy of the author, used with permission.

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9 more things people don't tell you about loving an alcoholic.

We're all in this fight together. You are not alone.

It seems like almost everyone has had some experience navigating the complicated waters of loving an addict.

Previously, I shared my story about growing up with an alcoholic parent. I confessed that I grew up as a child of an addict, and I shared a lot of honest and raw details about my life.

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