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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Renken

Letter to My Rugrat

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

No disease you have and no mistakes you make will ever make me love you less, but they will destroy you if you let them. Be on your guard.

Dear Rugrat,

You might be a drunk. Not right this second (God help us if you're toting vodka around in that R2-D2 backpack), but there's a chance it's in your future. You can thank Mommy's genes for that, but let's be honest--there's a chance it's in anyone's future.

I'm not telling you this to scare you--it's just something that I hope you stay aware of. You have to know your enemy.

So let me tell you about the enemy.

The enemy is not beer.

It's not wine.

It's not even the kid you'll meet down the road who tells you that you have to drink to fit in.

The enemy is the voice in your head that tells you that you need more.

"More" is the enemy.

More puts thousands of lives at risk when you drive home from what was supposed to just be a casual weeknight dinner with friends.

More gets you a pit stop on your way home from a Cardinals game, complete with ink-stained fingertips and an up-to-date photograph of yourself.

More leads to panic at receiving an e-mail from your boss the morning after a wedding, telling you that there are no hard feelings--and having no clue what he's talking about.

More courts you to the point that you "fall asleep" at a holiday party, and makes you the butt of jokes about that night for years to come.

All of these things are awful, Sweetheart, but the damage that More does goes so much further than what people can see from the outside. It's the damage it does to your heart and your mind that can really destroy you. Because you see, More isn't just about drinking too much. It's a disease of your spirit.

More will convince you that you are deficient. That you're missing whatever it is that the rest of the world has that enables them to go through life without getting overwhelmed, and without hating themselves.

More will tell you that you're a fraud. It will make you think that if everyone knew the real you, they would see that you're not worthy of their love and certainly not of their respect or admiration.

Know this: You are so worthy of love and everything good, no matter what More tries to tell you.

I will love you regardless of More. If you end up making the same mistakes I made, I will not love you less. If alcohol never touches your lips, I will not love you more. I will love you the same whether you end up in rehab or become a recovery counselor.

More has nothing to do with you and me, other than I will hate it if it hurts you.

Know that More does not define you. You are my rugrat--funny, smart, kind, and good. You are so good. More will make you do things that cause you to doubt that, but those things do not make you bad. They may hurt you and they may hurt others, but they do not make you any less good. When you start to believe otherwise, I pray that you will get help. I pray that you will decide that enough is enough.

If More does to you what it did to me, then your world is going to open up when you walk into a room of other people More tried to destroy.

You're going to realize that you never knew real happiness. You're going to find that joy is there for the taking.

God is going to become so much more than the inspiration for the Bible and some abstract idea of a father. You will embrace the fact that you are not God, and that God does not want or expect you to even try to play His part.

You're going to learn to let go--and with that, feel the weight of the world leave your shoulders. You will let go of trying to control people's feelings. You will let go of trying to make everyone like you. You will let go of thinking that you are responsible for everyone's happiness.

These are my promises to you: I will never think less of you because you are an alcoholic. If there comes a day when you think that your addiction is bigger than you, I will understand.

And if you aren't an alcoholic...I'll love you anyway.


The Most Grateful Mommy in the World

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