Roundtable Q&A with Sheal & Larisa

Featured Interview

In honor of Alcohol Awareness month, Sheal & Larisa sit down and discuss the affect of growing up with addicts. This featured interview accompanies The House That Booze Built & Every Last Drop, which you can read via links below.

The House That Booze Built

Every Last Drop

Larisa Hunter

President

Larisa Hunter is the President of The Three Little Sisters LLC and author of several books. She is responsible for all the marketing materials, website design and general administration duties.

Question 1: Were you affected by an alcoholic family member as a child? An adult? Both?

As a child. My mother was an alcoholic and I believe my paternal grandmother was as well, most of my family ‘socially drank’ but sometimes bordered on excess. My mother was the most extreme, in that she would binge drink.

Question 2: How did it affect you?

I always felt like I was scared to go home. Afraid that home would be another pile of things that I had to deal with. I never understood my mom, and always felt like I had to be the grown up. Most of my childhood was trying to take care of my sisters so that they didn’t have to suffer from her lack of care. I was affected greatly in self esteem and also in my adult life, feeling a sense of keen awareness and paranoia about avoiding addiction of any kind.

Question 3: If you could tell someone something that would help them when dealing with an alcoholic family member, what would it be?

As hard as it is for me to say this, sometimes you can’t help them. There is a point for everyone in which you must decide if you need to let them go, sometimes there is no help for them, it’s not you, you are not responsible for their addiction, sometimes you have to learn when to say goodbye.

Question 4: What gives you the biggest joys and happiness in life, what would you say is your greatest achievement?

I think the fact that I survived a huge amount of abuse is my greatest achievement. Becoming a mom and a wife and of course now a publisher has made me happy. However, I struggle to keep that state, as I still have not conquered my self doubt. 

Question 5: When you wrote/collected “Title” what was going through your mind then, what about now?

Thinking about how booze took things from me was what I was thinking about. I thought about the pain and anguish people who suffer the loss from an addiction, and what that feels like. The reflection has allowed me to let go of some of my anger and disappointment.

Question 6: Is there anything else you would like people to know?

Don’t be afraid to cut an addict out of your life, don’t be afraid to go get help for yourself. Dealing with addiction is not just about the addiction itself, but the fallout from that disease. Know yourself and what you can cope with, and ensure that you practice self care.

Sheal Berube

Executive Co-Ordinator

Hi! I’m Sheal, I’m the executive coordinator of Three Little Sisters LLC (and publishing). I am a traditionally published and Indie published author. I’m also a college educated document technician.

What do I do at Three Little Sisters? I curate, I liaison, I edit, I layout and I art around. I am a Jane of all trades and run a tight office ship to keep everything running smoothly between our staff and authors.

I am also the owner and operator of the document tech business Black Cat Editing & Design. If you have a question about our publishing house and LLC, I’m the girl you want to see!

Question 1: Were you affected by an alcoholic family member as a child? An adult? Both?

Both. When I was a child I actually didn’t know outright that my father was a multi-user addict (he was not just an alcoholic, he was a drug addict and gambling addict as well) I kind of had an idea that something was wrong but didn’t have words or a description for it. It really hit home as an adult however, I had to disown him for the sake of my children. They didn’t deserve that kind of disrespect or emotional manipulation by someone who owed their grand children more than a dysfunctional grandfather.

Now in his 60s I don’t think he has it in him to ever change, it’s heart breaking that he won’t know his grand children (he has 11 of them) the way he should. My two youngest don’t even know him at all.

Question 2: How did it affect you?

What a loaded question, the one thing a daughter would have wanted from her father is her daddy. To be accepted by him, to be loved and cherished by her father. I was not his favorite. Not even close. He never met me halfway and I ended up having to give up, not something anyone ever wants to do with a family member.

My children don’t have a functional grand father. They will never know what it’s like to have one. He was never there emotionally for me, and he has never been for them. It took me a long time to stop “owning” his behaviors as my own failings as a daughter. I, for the longest time, thought I was the one who failed to meet the relationship expectations and blamed myself. Now, I know better but that was a hard and painfully soul wrenching lesson.

Question 3: If you could tell someone something that would help them when dealing with an alcoholic family member, what would it be?

It’s okay to not want to be around that person. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to say I’m not bailing you out, I’m not enabling you, I’m not helping you. It doesn’t make you the bad guy, it’s okay to do for you first before them. You don’t have to tolerate their behavior, you can still love them without enabling them to use you as their personal emotional punching bag. You deserve better, from yourself first and definitely from them.

They may not be able to give you better, but you can give yourself better. You are allowed to give yourself permission to say “no you can’t hurt me anymore”.

Question 4: What gives you the biggest joys and happiness in life, what would you say is your greatest achievement?

Greatest achievement. Married 20 years, 5 kids, a stable business with my husband and a stable publishing house with my girls ( love you both Larisa and Sarah). Stable and functional self. Love of good people, loving good people.

Question 5: When you wrote These Chains & Junked what was going through your mind then, what about now?

I wrote it more as a childhood sexual assault survivor, write what you know right. The alcoholism and addictions in both are as important as the survival of abuse. I wrote it in the male perspective because, and not to detract from the female experience, to show that women and men both experience sexual and physical violence and the consequences of those experiences can be as devastating as the experience itself. Surviving it all is what matters, including addiction (yours or theirs).

Now, same idea – one human being experiences pain and suffering as equally as any other human being. No one is less or more than anyone else and we should be coming together rather than pulling each other apart.

Question 6: Is there anything else you would like people to know?

You are never alone, you will never be alone. You have worth and value, you are loved by someone. You don’t need others to validate you, while it’s nice, you are a force to be reckoned with all on your own too. The best thing you could ever do for yourself is to truly lovingly accept every aspect of yourself, flaws and all. There is no such thing as failure, it doesn’t exist. The only terrible mistake is one not learned from.