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A Crack in the Armor

Her father's honesty about his own alcoholism gets her thinking

I was 19 years old and working at the local greeting card store. I was living at home and going to college. One day, my dad stopped by the store, a fairly uncommon occurrence. I'll never forget how he looked when he walked in, dark shades covering his eyes, pants a little tight around the middle, a shamed look on his face as he slipped his glasses off. The bags under his haunted eyes made him look far older than his early 40s. A desperate tone was in his voice as he asked, "Do you think I'm an alcoholic?"

I had never thought about it. Looking back, I guess I was in just as much denial as he was. I knew he and Mom had arguments about his drinking, but I'd always thought that was just her. I would hide in my room, immersed in biochemistry, anatomy, and calculus, trying hard to fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor and escaping this room, this life.

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