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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Family

What to do when you're the child of an alcoholic

My dad was an addict, and growing up with him taught me a lot.

alcoholism, kids and alcoholism, alcoholic parents
Photo with permission from writer Ashley Tieperman.

Ashley Tieperman and her father.


There was never just one moment in my family when we “found out" that my dad was an addict.

I think I always knew, but I never saw him actually drinking. Usually, he downed a fifth of vodka before he came home from work or hid tiny bottles in the garage and bathroom cabinets.


My name is Ashley, and I am the child of an addict. As a kid, I cried when our family dinner reservation shrunk from four to three after a man with glassy eyes stumbled through the door. I didn't guzzle the vodka, but I felt the heartbreak of missed birthdays. I feel like I should weigh 500 pounds from all the “I'm sorry" chocolate donuts. I had to grow up quicker, but it made me into the person I am today.

addiction, coping, 12 step programs, recovery

Me and my dad.

Photo with permission from writer Ashley Tieperman.

I spent many years shouting into journals about why this was happening to me. But this is the thing that no one will tell you about loving someone who has an addiction: it will force you to see the world through different eyes.

Here are some things I've learned:

1. When your family's yelling about burnt toast, they're probably also yelling about something else.

My family yelled about everything — and nothing — to avoid the messy stuff. We all handled my dad's addiction differently. My brother devoured sports. My mom took bubble baths. I slammed doors and slammed boyfriends for not understanding my family's secrets.

Regardless of the preferred coping mechanism, everyone feels pain differently.

2. Your "knight in shining armor" can't fix this.

Boyfriends became my great escape when I was young. But when I expected them to rescue me from the pain I grew up with, it never worked out. No matter how strapping they looked galloping in on those white horses, they couldn't save me or fix anything.

In the end, I realized that I had to find healing on my own before I could build a strong relationship.

3. “Don't tell anyone" is a normal phase.

When my dad punched holes in the wall, my mom covered them up with artwork. I wanted to rip the artwork down to expose all the holes, especially as a bratty teenager. But eventually I realized that it wasn't my choice. My parents had bills to pay and jobs to keep. I've learned it's common to cover up for dysfunction in your family, especially when it feels like the world expects perfection.

4. Friends probably won't get it, but you'll need them anyway.

Bulldozed by broken promises, I remember collapsing on a friend's couch from the crippling pain of unmet expectations. I hyperventilated. Things felt uncontrollable and hopeless. My friend rubbed my back and just listened.

These are the kinds of friends I will keep forever, the ones who crawled down into the dark places with me and didn't make me get back up until I was ready.

5. You can't fix addiction, but you can help.

When I was a teenager, I called a family meeting. I started by playing a Switchfoot song: “This is your life. Are you who you want to be?"

Let's skip to the punchline: It didn't work.

It wasn't just me. Nothing anyone did worked. My dad had to lose a lot — mostly himself — before he hit that place they call “rock bottom." And, in all honesty, I hate that label because “rock bottom" isn't just a one-and-done kind of place.

What can you do while you wait for someone to actually want to get help? Sometimes, you just wait. And you hope. And you pray. And you love. And you mostly just wait.

6. Recovery is awkward.

When a counselor gave me scripted lines to follow if my dad relapsed, I wanted to shred those “1-2-3 easy steps" into a million pieces.

For me, there was nothing easy about my dad's recovery. My whole family had to learn steps to a new dance when my dad went into recovery. The healing dance felt like shuffling and awkwardly stepping on toes. It was uncomfortable; new words, like trust and respect, take time to sink in. And that awkwardness is also OK.

7. I still can't talk about addiction in the past tense.

Nothing about an addict's life happens linearly. I learned that early on. My dad cycled through 12-step programs again and again, to the point where I just wanted to hurl whenever anyone tried to talk about it. And then we finally reached a point where it felt like recovery stuck.

But even now, I'll never say, “My dad used to deal with addiction." My whole family continues to wrestle with the highs and lows of life with an addict every single day.

8. Happy hours and wedding receptions aren't easy to attend.

My family will also probably never clink glasses of red wine or stock the fridge full of beer. I'm convinced happy hours and wedding receptions will get easier, but they might not. People get offended when my dad orders a Diet Coke instead of their fine whisky.

Plus, there's the paranoia factor. Surrounded by flowing liquor, I hate watching my dad crawl out of his skin, tempted to look “normal" and tackle small talk with people we barely know. I've learned that this fear will probably last for a while, and it's because I care.

9. If you close your eyes, the world doesn't just “get prettier."

With constant fear of the unknown, sometimes our world is not a pretty place. I remember watching the breaking news on 9/11 and feeling the terror of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers as if I was there.

My dad numbed the anxiety of these dark days with vodka, but this didn't paint a prettier world for him when he woke up the next day. I've dealt with the fear of the unknown with the help of boys, booze, and bad dancing on pool tables. Life hurts for everyone, and I think we all have to decide how we're going to handle the darkness.

10. Rip off the sign on your back that reads: “KICK ME. MY LIFE SUCKS."

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see only my broken journey. In some twisted way, I'm comforted by the dysfunction because it's kept me company for so long. It's easy to let the shadow of my family's past follow me around and choose to drown in the darkness.

But every day, I'm learning to turn on the light. I have to write the next chapter in my recovery story, but I can't climb that mountain with all this crap weighing me down.

11. It's OK to forgive, too.

Some people have given me sucky advice about how I should write an anthem on daddy bashing, or how to hit the delete button on the things that shaped my story.

Instead, my dad and I are both learning to celebrate the little things, like the day that he could change my flat tire. On that day, I didn't have to wonder if he was too drunk to come help me.

I can't forget all the dark nights of my childhood.

But I've learned that for my own well-being, I can't harbor bitterness until I explode.

Instead, I can love my dad, day by day, and learn to trust in the New Dad — the one with clearer eyes and a full heart. The one who rescues me when I call.


This article was written by Ashley Tieperman and originally appeared on 04.27.16

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Pop Culture

Nicole Kidman shares the unconventional marriage rule she has with husband Keith Urban

They've had this communication rule since the very beginning of their 18 year relationship.

Keith Urban (left) Nicole Kidman (right)

Long before Nicole Kidman began her long-term relationship with AMC theaters, she was committed to husband and country singer Keith Urban. The two have happily been together since 2006—which is a good run for any modern day marriage, but most certainly a Hollywood one.

And perhaps their nearly decades-long success can be partially attributed to one surprising communication rule: no texting.

While appearing on the Something To Talk About podcast in 2023, Kidman shared that she was the one who initiated the unconventional agreement.

"We never text each other, can you believe that? We started out that way – I was like, 'If you want to get a hold of me, call me…"I wasn't really a texter.,” the “Moulin Rouge” actress shared.

She added that while Urban did attempt texting her a few items early on, he eventually switched when Kidman wasn’t very responsive. And now, 18 years later, they only call each other.

“We just do voice to voice or skin to skin, as we always say. We talk all the time and we FaceTime but we just don’t text because I feel like texting can be misrepresentative at times…I don’t want that between my lover and I,” she told Parade

.

There are, of course, some pros and cons to calling over texting. Research has shown that people who call feelmore connected to one another vs. texting, with the voice being an integral component of bonding. As our society becomes increasingly more distant and lonely, finding those moments might be more important than ever.

At the same time, calling can invoke a lot more anxiety compared to texting, which could lead someone to not communicating at all. Also, I don’t know about you, but the thought of having to call my partner for mundane things like “don’t forget the eggs” would drive me crazy.

But regardless of whether or not you adopt Kidman and Urban’s no-texting rule, perhaps the bigger takeaway is that relationship longevity depends on being able to establish your own rules. One that feels good and that each partner is able to stick to. Especially when it comes to communication.

As Urban himself told E! News at the CMT Music Awards, "I have no advice for anybody,You guys figure out whatever works for you…We're figuring it out. You figure it out. Everybody's different. There's no one size fits all."

Luckily, there are many ways to have good text hygiene, without having to do away with it completely. Very Well Mind suggests to avoid texting too many questions, and to be respectful of your partner's schedule (probably best to not text them while they’re sleeping just to say “hey,” for example). Nor should texting be used to argue or deal with conflict. Lastly, probably save the lengthy, in-depth conversations for a phone call. Fifteen heart emojis are totally fine though.


This article originally appeared on 4.17.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Family

Mom teaches daughter a perfect lesson after she threw her new pencil case in the trash

"I truly believe changing your perception & just being grateful can turn around any situation in life."

Photo from Pexels.

Getting lessons are usually not so fun.

Kids can seem pretty unappreciative at times. Parents often sacrifice a lot to give their child the best, just to have it thrown in their face, or in the bin. This is something that Haley Hassell recently discovered when she went to three different stores to get her daughter the latest trendy pencil case.

When Hassell gave her daughter the pencil case, she threw it in the bin complaining that everyone already had it. That's when Hassell decided to teach her daughter the perfect lesson.


In a Facebook post, Hassell explained:

"[Daughter] learned a tough love lesson today... I went to 3 different stores to get that LOL pencil box you see in the trash there. When I surprised her with it this afternoon (just knowing she would be ecstatic) she stared at it and threw it in the trash and slammed the bedroom door. She yelled 'that's stupid, everyone in my class has that..I don't want it anymore!'"

"OK So by this time there was probably smoke coming out of my ears and I'm trying real hard not to completely lose it on this kid that I have worked so hard to completely take care of financially on my own & make sure she always gets what she needs and then some. BUT I thought I had always taught her to be grateful & know how lucky she was but apparently sis needed a small wake up call!"

"SO before completely going Madea mad on my child I check myself and say, 'okay that's fine, let me go get the one you're going to use.' Came back with her new pencil box, which is the Ziploc bag. She lost her mind! Suddenly the LOL Box she just trashed was good enough and the Ziploc bag was horrible...but it's too late for all that."

Yes, Hassell gave her daughter a Ziplock bag as a pencil case since she didn't appreciate the LOL one.

"I told her to get the LOL out of the trash and we would be finding a child to give it to tomorrow..one whose mommy and daddies don't have money for any school supplies or someone who may not even have a mommy or daddy."

"I explained to her she's not entitled to anything special and she is taking for granted how lucky she is. So for now she will be using a Ziploc bag & will personally be delivering the nice box to a child that could benefit from it. Maybe I overreact sometimes but I would've done anything to have all the things she does as a child. I truly believe changing your perception & just being grateful can turn around any situation in life.”

Commenters seemed to love the punishment, with one user writing: "I'm down for this. Yes it'd be easier to give in, but sometimes you gotta teach them the principle of the matter."

While another added: "I think you responded appropriately. Maybe she can earn the one she decides she wants at some point."

Others were less receptive of the idea, with a commenter writing: "I guess I pretty much interact with my child on a regular basis, you know, take them with me when buying stuff for THEM so I know what they want. I talk to my child and care about their feelings. I don't fear monger them. But hey, good job being a monster mom!"

Personally, I fully support mom on this one and think it's important to teach kids to appreciate what they have. If you don't, they'll most likely turn into terrible adults.

This article originally appeared on 8.24.19

via wakaflockafloccar / TikTok

It's amazing to consider just how quickly the world has changed over the past 11 months. If you were to have told someone in February 2020 that the entire country would be on some form of lockdown, nearly everyone would be wearing a mask, and half a million people were going to die due to a virus, no one would have believed you.

Yet, here we are.

PPE masks were the last thing on Leah Holland of Georgetown, Kentucky's mind on March 4, 2020, when she got a tattoo inspired by the words of a close friend.



"We were just talking about things we admire about each other and he said, 'You courageously and radically refuse to wear a mask,' like meaning that I'm undeniably myself. I thought that was a really poetic way of saying that," Holland told Fox 13.

So, she had "courageously & radically refuse to wear a mask" tattooed on her left forearm. It's a beautiful sentiment about Leah's dedication to being her true self. It's also a reminder for Leah to remain true to herself throughout her life.

However, the tattoo would come to have a very different meaning just two days later when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kentucky.

"It basically looked like I'm totally, you know, anti-mask or whatever, which is not the case," said Holland.

Now, she was embarrassed to be seen with the tattoo for fear she'd be associated with the anti-maskers who either deny the existence of the virus or refuse to wear a mask to protect others. Either way, it's a bad look.

So Leah started wearing long-sleeve shirts and cardigan sweaters whenever in public to cover up the tattoo.

On Monday, TikTok users asked each other to share their "dumbest tattoo" and she was pretty sure she had the winner.

In her video, she talks about how her tattoo was about "not pretending to be something you're not," but then revealed it to show how — after a historical twist — it made her out to be someone she isn't.

"I just kind of wanted people to laugh with me because I think it's funny now, too," said Holland.

Plenty of people on TikTok laughed along with her with one user suggesting she update the tattoo with the phrase: "Hindsight is 2020."

"I was dying laughing. I'm like, I'm glad there are people that find this as funny as I think it is," said Holland.

"It will be a funny story to tell years from now," she said. "I don't think it will ever not be a funny story."

Unfortunately, even when the pandemic is over, Leah will still probably have to explain her tattoo. Because most won't soon forget the COVID-19 era in America and there's no doubt many will still feel passionate about those who refused to wear a mask.


This article originally appeared on 02.24.21

Family

Father takes daughter's bullying victim on a shopping trip to teach her a lesson

When Randy Smalls of South Carolina discovered that his teenage daughter was making fun of a classmate over her clothes and makeup, he took swift action.

Randy Smalls of South Carolina

Bullying is a huge problem. According to DoSomething.org, 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 in the United States are bullied during the school year, and approximately 160,000 teens have skipped school because of bullying.

So when Randy Smalls of South Carolina discovered that his teenage daughter was making fun of a classmate over her clothes and makeup, he took swift action.

Smalls instantly felt sympathy for Ryan Reese, a seventh-grader at Berkeley Middle School, having been bullied in his youth. So he took money meant for his daughter and went on a shopping spree with Ryan to get some new clothes and a makeover.


Smalls' wife and Ryan's mother Richauna Reese are friends, but they weren't aware of the bullying until recently. The families got on the phone after speaking to Ryan, and Smalls asked if he could take Ryan to buy new clothes and get a makeover at the beauty salon.

Smalls used money initially intended to buy his 13-year-old daughter some new clothes, but after learning about her bullying, he decided to spend the money on Ryan instead.

"I say, 'When you laugh along, you're co-signing the bullying," Smalls told Yahoo News.

"My daughter was upset, especially because she is into fashion," he said. "So she came with us and helped pick out Ryan's new clothes."

While his daughter was at church, Smalls took Ryan to the beauty salon and paid for twice-a-month appointments until the end of the year.

After hearing about the good gesture, local salons have also offered to keep Ryan looking stylish for the next few months.

Richauna, Ryan's mother, told Yahoo News that her daughter was struggling after the recent deaths of her father, grandfather, and aunt, as well as non-epileptic seizures caused by the stress.

The shopping trip has helped Ryan immensely. "I wasn't expecting it. I just started to cry. It (the bullying) was really sad for me because I had lost my grandpa, father, and aunt, and it really took me deep down in my depression," Ryan explained.

"This is the first time I have seen a parent take such a stance on bullying," Richauna added.

Smalls was overwhelmed by the response and says that it's helped his daughter see her mistake.

"I didn't expect for this to get big but I'm glad if other parents [can learn from it]," Smalls said. "My daughter learned her lesson."

"As parents, we have to take responsibility for what our children do," Smalls told ABC's Strahan, Sara, and Keke. "We can teach our children, but when they go and are around other children they can veer off a little bit. When situations like this happen, we have to take action and be the parent and not the friend."

And the pair seem to be getting along better for the experience. "They're cool now," Richauna said.

Watch to young girls break down the story in this adorable YouTube video:

This article originally appeared on 12.4.19

Family

Baby meets his dad's twin brother in an adorable viral video

Parenting is hard. Adult twins interacting with a baby? Hilarious.


Adult twins interacting with babies is pretty hilarious.

I know firsthand because I am a dad and a twin.

On my list of regrets as a dad, I'll place "not rolling video when our babies interacted with me and my identical twin" near the top of the list.

Thankfully, a dad shot some footage of his young son meeting his twin, and our lives are better because of it.


Images from Stephen Ratpojanakul's Facebook page.

Stephen Ratpojanakul (he's in the sweater ... I think) is a dad to a baby boy named Reed. Stephen also has a twin brother named Michael.

When baby Reed got confused figuring out who was who, I almost expected this dude to make a cameo appearance:

First, they both wore glasses.

Stephen Ratpojanakul (he's in the sweater ... I think) is a dad to a baby boy named Reed. Stephen also has a twin brother named Michael.

When baby Reed got confused figuring out who was who, I almost expected this dude to make a cameo appearance:

First, they both wore glasses.

And finally, they both took their glasses off. Baby Reed returned to the previous station.

True story: Parenting will crush you if you don't bring your sense of humor along.

Parents know how mentally and physically exhausting the job can be. It's also a job where many of us spend an inordinate amount of time second-guessing ourselves for the decisions we make.

The immense power of laughter is a great way to relax, boost our immune systems, and relieve stress. Sometimes, we laugh to keep from crying. And other times, we just laugh because our kids are absolutely hilarious.

Judging by the laughter and giggles, it's easy to tell that the twins truly love this little boy — and it's heartwarming to see all three of them enjoying some good times together.

All it takes is a smile for parents to know "you've got this."

The video is going viral — and don't be surprised if this becomes a twin trend.

With almost 34 twins per 1,000 live births in the U.S. today, there are more genetic lookalikes in the U.S. than ever before. Be warned, tiny babies — somewhere there are some adult twins plotting to have some innocent fun at your expense.

Without further ado, here's the video.


This article was written by Doyin Richards andoriginally appeared on 02.10.16.