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Nicole Hipp

Dr. Lori Bedell

This I Believe Podcast

23 January 2019

Everyone has a story that they choose not to share; something they hold on to; a deep,

dark fear. I was born into an alcoholic family with two parents equally drenched in their own

poison, one Heineken and one Smirnoff. I grew up with the constant fear of getting off the bus

and walking home to find Dad in the basement drunk and Mom secretly sipping ‘the water we

weren’t supposed to share.’ This was my normal, I didn’t know any different, so I didn’t

complain.

November 25, 2011 will remain the day that changed my life. It was supposed to be a

happy night; it was Thanksgiving break and my family, and I were going to a wedding. The night

took a hard turn when the mother of the groom had a heart attack. My mother being a nurse and

father being a State Trooper, took over and each performed CPR until the ambulance arrived.

They were able to keep a pulse, but the mother lost her life on the ride to the hospital. This was

only strike one. My father had quite a lot to drink that night and this was the first time I

witnessed him this intoxicated. To my surprise, my mother was stone cold sober. On our way

home, my mother got pulled over by a local cop. My father got carried away, and needless to

say, my four-year-old sister and I witnessed our saturated father obtain tases, hits, and handcuffs.

Now at this point I knew this was not normal, and seeing a parent get arrested was not how my

classmates were spending their Thanksgiving break. In the months to follow, my father went to

rehab for thirty days over Christmas and New Year’s and that following March my mother left
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for rehab over my birthday and my sisters. Up until this point in time I thought I had a pretty

average life until I realized that it wasn’t. It wasn’t normal for a parent to forget about picking

their child up from school events on multiple occasions, for a parent to forget their child’s

birthday and to drive drunk to pick up a store-bought cake with the wrong name, and it certainly

wasn’t normal for a child to only be able to fall asleep to the sound of yelling. I developed a deep

hatred for both my parents. As our once inseparable relationship became purely silent, I grew as

a person. I realized that I didn’t need to consume alcohol or drugs to have fun. I found great

pleasure in doing the so called ‘right thing.’ After school activities and being involved in every

club offered became my saving grace. Sports became my escape from reality. I believe that past

experiences have the ability to shape who you are as a person. Although I have had to endure

hardships throughout my childhood, I believe that all of the difficulties shaped me into who I am

today.

I have lived through the tragedies of dealing with alcoholic parents, so the typical party

atmosphere that teenagers tend to prefer is definitely not my cup of tea. I learned to have fun

without the influence of drugs and alcohol. I find pleasure in the little things in life and

appreciate the positives. I also tend to be controlling of certain situations especially when it

comes to my health. Yes, it is hard to talk about my past experiences and childhood, yes I do not

have a great relationship with my parents, and yes I may be considered a ‘homebody’ in college,

but these hardships gave me insight to the real world problems at a young age. I learned to

manage my own money at a young age, how to cook and take of my baby sister at the age of

seven, and most importantly, I learned how to be independent by middle school. I believe in the

power of past experiences and not letting the negativity of my parents shape who I am today.

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