As I said in my last post, my memories from childhood were mostly happy. I was close with all my siblings, and although it would’ve been nice to have some space or privacy once in a while, especially when we were fighting, I wouldn’t trade any of siblings for anything in the world. I also think their help and support is a lot of what got me through my struggles with addiction, along with professional treatment, of course.
Looking back, I do remember instances where my parents worried about raising their kids in America rather than in Italy. They loved the opportunities of America, but they wanted their kids to grow up surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, the way they were when they were children. I never felt like I was missing out, though, because I had so many siblings and friends. My parents spoke English around us kids (but Italian to each other when they didn’t want us to understand them), but they seemed sad that we didn’t know their native language. Italian wasn’t offered in school, so most of us took Spanish or French. Each of us kids when we turned 16 received a plane ticket to Italy to spend time with our family there.
My parents also worried about other things in America, too, like gun violence and drugs. Their impression was that guns were way more popular and accessible in the US, and that drug abuse was rampant, especially in New York City. I would see them sitting in their matching armchairs watching the news in the evenings, clucking and worrying about all the violence and drugs that surrounded our home. I didn’t notice these things until I was a little older, but I hadn’t grown up in Italy and had nothing to compare it to. The edginess of life in America was all I knew.
I have so much guilt about what I put my family through when I was in the throes of addiction. I know my parents sacrificed so much to give my siblings and me the best life possible. I am thankful for them every day, and grateful that I was able to get better and take over their legacy.
Keep reading to find out how my addiction troubles began.