• Melanie Renken

Loving a Homewrecker

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Alcohol was my abuser, but I fell in love with it anyway.



It seems inexplicable.


How you do you fall in love with the very thing that made your father a stranger? That you know robbed him of any real life. That destroyed your family.


How do you fall in love with a homewrecker?


The answer is quite simple when you come to see what he saw: the homewrecker is the one thing that actually makes you feel at home.


It wasn't peer pressure that made me start. I didn't drink to fit in. I started drinking because, for a few precious hours, I didn't think about not fitting in.


Drinking offered a temporary reprieve from being straight-A, teacher's pet, overachiever, tall, awkward Melanie who couldn't let anyone down.


I drank because, quite simply, it made me feel happy. It made me feel love. I loved everyone when I was drinking, and I didn't obsess about whether they loved me back.

I started drinking because, for a few precious hours, I didn't think about not fitting in.

In college, the booze stopped the 1,000-mile-an-hour thoughts about how I was going to keep my scholarships, when I was going to get a boyfriend, and where next semester's rent was going to come from. So if I wasn't cramming for an exam or writing a paper, I was drinking. And by "drinking," I mean getting trashed.


But that's everyone's college story, right? Every college girl sticks her fingers down her throat to make room for more beer, doesn't she? All co-eds take road trips with only a 1.75-liter of vodka for company, don't they?


Our relationship changed after an incident toward the end of graduate school. I started drinking alone. I became the girl who sat at bars by herself. Who sat on her patio with a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes.


I just sat and tried not to think. Tried not to think about how moving to Dallas may not have been my best decision. Tried not to think about how single I was. Tried not to think about anything. Tried not to feel anything. I just wanted to feel quiet.


And so it went for the next thirteen years.


I drank to feel comfortable with clients.


I drank to ease the stress of family gatherings.


I drank to stop thinking about the really hard stuff for a few hours.


Like a lot of alcoholics I've met, I didn't drink to get drunk. I wanted that three-beer buzz, yes, but I never wanted to be wasted. Unfortunately, the booze didn't care what I wanted, so when I kept drinking after those three beers, I kept getting drunk.


Go figure.

When you can't remember what you said, what you did, or who you did it with, you assume the worst and hate yourself for what might have happened.

I used to gauge the previous night's drunk on whether I woke up with my make-up still on. After a while, the measure became how much I was able to remember. By the end, the blackouts came even on my more tame nights, so every drunk became a source of shame. When you can't remember what you said, what you did, or who you did it with, you assume

the worst and hate yourself for what might have happened.


It's hard to say why the morning of June 19, 2013 was my low. Nothing happened the previous night that hadn't happened before. But that morning, waking up on a business trip with a bucket of beer next to my bed and my heart beating out of my chest, I knew I was finished.


It wasn't a love affair any longer--it was a mutually abusive relationship. I abused alcohol and it abused me.


Like any relationship, when the bad outweighs the good, it's time to get out.


And so I did.


3 views

Recent Posts

See All