What We Don’t Choose

Kara - Foxborough, Massachusetts
Entered on December 25, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

In life, I believe it’s the things we don’t choose that make us who we are. For example our cities, neighborhoods and families aren’t chosen for us but they allow us to become the person we are. Not that I live in a bad neighborhood or city. I actually love the area I grew up in. If I were to choose where I could’ve lived all my life I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

On the other hand, if I could’ve chosen to change certain things about my family, I certainly would. Growing up in a family where alcoholism is a reoccurring theme isn’t the easiest thing to deal with. I can’t imagine what my life might’ve been like without my family members suffering from alcoholism. I’m in some ways thankful of the series of unfortunate events that alcohol has caused my family, because I’ve learned a great deal from it. I strongly believe that my family has made me the person that I am today.

I did not choose my family and I did not choose for alcoholism to be a part of my family. Ever since I was young, my life has been strongly affected by the disease. Some of my very close family members have nearly been killed by alcoholism. My grandfather, my mom’s dad, was brought to the hospital one night because he had a seizure. His heavy drinking was the cause of this seizure. It took the night that he nearly lost his life to get him to stop his drinking problem.

My other grandfather, my dad’s father, used to be a very mean drunk which never made sense to me since he was the ideal grandfather. When I was about the age of fourteen, his drinking began to take a toll on him. He had a stroke but it luckily didn’t kill him. However he did lose the ability to talk. Even though he was unable to talk, whenever I’d see him, it was as if nothing changed; his hugs were just as tight and his presence was just as warming. As the years progressed his health did the opposite.

It’s painful to watch the people you care about suffering from something that seems inevitable. However in my opinion alcoholism is something that can be prevented. Even my own parents have become victims of alcoholism, despite the fact that they’ve seen for themselves the consequences of the deathly disease. I know that being a witness of this negative chain reaction, will only help me break this pattern. The choices I make in the future are entirely on my shoulders. I plan to be a responsible, loving parent who would never cause family members the pain and sorrow of dealing with alcoholism.