Children don’t thrive in the home of an alcoholic; they merely survive, and often just barely. It’s a lonely, desolate existence, and tragically, it can spiral into even more darker depths.
This story follows the path of a boy’s traumatic life, whose dad, once an invincible Boston firefighter, created a tumultuous environment of uncertainty and fear due to his alcoholism and abuse. In vivid detail, the story illustrates how a family from a public housing project in South Boston experienced trauma and loss and how these events and community norms perpetuated substance use disorder.
First responders pay a significant emotional and physical cost, resulting in a closed culture in which brother firefighters only trust each other for support. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse becomes a powerful coping mechanism for the emotional challenges they face. First responders grapple with fear, untreated trauma, self-doubt, helplessness, disappointments, and shame. The job often changes them; sadly, they don’t see it. If they do, they do not have a solution. Repeated exposure to critical incidents affects their personalities, causing strained relationships with their families and often leaving them angry and distant. The result means more self-medication and alcohol dependency, with the family bearing the brunt of the burden.
This memoir powerfully recounts the traumatic experience of a boy raised in an alcoholic home, demonstrating how he struggles with alcoholism despite his resolute determination not to repeat his father’s behavior. The vivid, traumatic details and losses that this boy experienced come to life and place the reader in the family living room, allowing them to experience the painful reality of a child growing up with an active alcoholic.
Unfortunately, like many children raised in alcoholic homes exposed to the violence of an active alcoholic, the path has been paved. The decision to continue the cycle of alcoholism and all its painful regrets has been made despite one’s best efforts. However, there is hope and understanding as we follow this boy on his journey through addiction, recovery, and redemption.