Whether it was spending summer at her house, going shopping, or choosing my career, my aunt was the biggest influence in my life.
I lost that influence to alcohol.
She always drank socially, but about a year ago, her alcohol intake began increasing. I ignored it for several months; she couldn’t be an alcoholic.
Then one night last spring, she drove home drunk and hit the basketball pole in the driveway, where her husband and kids were playing. It was now obvious, she has an addiction.
My family knew my aunt and I were close. So when she didn’t listen to their concerns about her drinking, they asked me to talk to her. I was brutally honest, telling her that I could no longer look up to her because I did not want to be an alcoholic like her. My aunt was devastated.
I felt awful that day because I had really hurt her, but if it was the only way for her to realize she had a problem, it was worth it.
I went home thinking I was going to have my role model back, but my dreams were shattered when I discovered she went home, started drinking and was intoxicated less than one hour after our conversation. I felt so betrayed, and by the person that I once felt I could trust the most.
I have lost the special connection with my aunt, and I feel hurt. I no longer feel like her special niece. She acts like we are still close, but I know she no longer trusts me, because she will not admit to me that she is still drinking. I have been replaced by alcohol.
I want to be there for her when she is tempted to drink, but she does not want my support, because she does not believe that what she is doing is wrong. What hurts the most is that she is not trying to do anything to change her ways.
Over the summer, my aunt’s alcoholism has gotten worse. Her 10-year-old son had to put his drunken mother to bed in the middle of the afternoon. At her daughter’s 8th birthday party, she was too intoxicated to remember a single name of the twelve girls attending the party.
While it breaks my heart to admit that my aunt and former role model is an alcoholic, it hurts even worse to think of what a great, influential mother her children could have had if she had stayed away from alcohol.
Kristen Wilcox, a junior, is a pharmacy major at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is a good friend of managing editor Caleb Sanders.