Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published November 2013.

Letter from Finland

After a childhood corroded by alcohol, she turned to it as an adult to dull the misery

When I was a child, there was a lot of alcoholism in my family. By the time I was 15 years old, our family life was total chaos. Mom would work until late in the evening and when she got home, my dad would be drunk or passed out in the barn and the cows would be making a racket because he'd forgotten to milk them.

He sometimes would drive the tractor out into the woods and get lost and we have to look for him for hours. I was lucky to have a stubborn mom who kept some order in the house. However, I grew up not feeling very safe. Sometimes when my mom was working, Dad would leave us kids alone while he went out drinking.

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