From the December 2014 magazine.

Picture This

She couldn’t look back because she had fallen so far

A while back, my mom gave me a little sandwich baggie filled with a stack of photos. You know that stack ... the one a proud father carries around in his wallet ... the one that gets thicker with each passing year as the newest photo is added. The one he pulls for family and friends, with that look of pride twinkling in his eye as he says, “Look at how big our Chris is getting. Isn’t she precious?” Then he will regale everyone with hopes and dreams for little Chris. And what’s the most important of them? “We just hope she grows up to be happy.”

Well, that stack of dog-eared, cherished photos of little me sat facedown, untouched in the same spot for I don’t know how long. I couldn’t pick them up and face that the Chris in those photos had long ago drowned in a fifth of vodka. The pain of just reaching for those photos reminded me how much of a failure I had become. Sitting alone in a dark room, slugging back shots that no longer needed a chaser, wracked with shame and utter hopelessness, it was easier to ignore those photos than to deal with the fact that I had not grown up to be the happy, loving, carefree woman Mom and Dad had hoped and prayed for. No, I had grown up to be a liar—and an alcoholic.

-- Anonymous

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