From the September 2013 magazine.

September 2013: Back to School

Booze breath and bloodshot eyes? Not this year. Dad gets a passing grade

Back to School Night used to be the bane of my existence. I dreaded it. Every parent, neighbor and peer pushed into an auditorium—elbow to elbow—with nowhere to hide what you had been doing. Forced small talk with people probing. And me, with red, bloodshot eyes and flushed cheeks all too evident; my breath too easily checked. The loudness of my voice, my choice of words, and my general demeanor screamed, Alcoholic parent! Danger!

I tried to make it to Back to School Night (BTSN) when I was drinking, but some nights I couldn’t go out of fear, or because I was too drunk, or because I was firmly asked not to come by my wife or kids after they took a disgusted whiff of my breath and looked into my eyes.

-- Mark E.

Rocky Hill, New Jersey

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