Rock Bottoms Up: A True Story About Addiction And Family


The good people of Kaiser Permanente did their magic, patched me up, healed me as best their medicines could, tossed me into a wheelchair, and foist me back into the cold world, rebuilt and reenergized. And most importantly, alcohol-free. My decade-plus career as an active alkie had come to an abrupt, terribly painful end. But I survived. Many people have not. Now, my uphill journey back to normalcy began. With a fresh start and the groggy reality I constructed around me shattered, I surveyed the damage I’d done over the years. Yikes.

As time passed and wounds healed, my world changed. My thoughts, clear and concise. My perspective, clean and reattached. My faith, tested and stronger than ever. And as a bonus to taking my life back, I realized that I had broken a chain. The chain of addiction, which unfortunately binds and blinds so many families it would be depressing and pointless to try and take a census. My mother, who hasn’t had a drink in many years, introduced me to it. Theoretically, I was supposed to do the same thing to mine by introducing them to some sort of addiction, further continuing the pattern of devastating enablement, but nope. The chain was broken. Realistically, I can’t stop my children from doing certain things, but it’s my job as a parent to empower them with all the information that I have acquired throughout my mistakes and missteps. Otherwise what’s the point in being their leader. Their role model. Their father.

This reflection stems from the recent reports that Bobbi Kristina, daughter of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, is near death due to an incident that allegedly involves drug abuse. She was found unresponsive in a bath tub, just like her mother when she died. Now that drugs have been found in her home, it appears that she has chosen a similar path as her mother (and father), by nature or by nuture. Foul play has been mentioned as well, which only further fuels the sad situation. None of us were there, so to jump to any conclusion would be pure speculation. No judgment here. But just maybe this could have been avoided by breaking the chain. It sounds much simpler than it is, but most things that carry any type of merit in real life do.

As adults, parents, and guardians, it is our responsibility and duty to spread knowledge. The knowledge that we picked up during our travels on this planet. Certain battles have been fought and lessons have been learned so that future generations need not engage in the same conflicts. Anything short of that would be enabling: the most backwards hustle of all time.

As for my own kids, the oldest ones lived through my nightmare with me. And as time passed, we mended our collective wounds as best we could. We talked, cried, laughed, hugged. Remember, alcoholism is absolutely a family disease. Hopefully they experienced it in high enough definition that they choose another direction to traverse in life when the time comes that they make all their own choices. As far as my end of the bargain, I did everything I could to break that chain.

I just pray it stays broken.

Words by Tony Grands
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