People Can Change
Sabrina, Age 14, Aurora, OR
I was eight when the nightmare all began. My dad had been drinking and my mom was mad at my oldest brother, John, because he moved in with his real mom in Washington a day before his eighteenth birthday. My mom was sitting next to my dad talking bad about John, and that started to make my dad really angry. You could see the way he towered over my mom with his teeth clenched ready to begin yelling.
 
A few minutes later he began to yell, so then my sister took me into my parents’ room and made me cover my ears. I couldn’t take it anymore so I left the room with my sister trying to get me back inside and I saw my dad shove my mom into the stand-up speaker. Then I yelled, “Mom!” My dad didn’t seem to care and my grandma kept yelling at my dad telling him, “Stop!” but he wouldn’t listen.

My sister took me outside through the back door but my mom and dad were going out the front door and I had to make sure that my mom was okay. So then I ran around to the front of the house while my sister was yelling at me telling me to stop, but I couldn’t. I ran around to see them under the carport and my mom was pinned up against the car with my dad yelling in her face.

I was watching them yell at each other and my mom saw me and told me to go back inside, but I said no.  Then she tried to shove me back into the house but that seemed to make my dad even angrier. My dad then punched her because he didn’t like that she pushed me.  Then my mom kicked him and my dad hit her in the face so hard I felt like I was going to cry. I walked up to my dad and tried to push him away from my mom and then he hit me, a full on punch to my left eye. My dad then tried to apologize but I ran off to my room and cried myself to sleep.

The next morning I woke up, and got ready for my counselling appointment, my mom took me to my appointment and I talked to my counsellor Allison. Allison always talks about the same things: how I can manage my anger, how I can ensure her that I won't do anything to hurt myself.  The last question she asked me was how last night was. We sat there for about an hour, and I told her everything about my dad hitting me and my mom and him yelling. She told me that she was sorry to do this, but being a counsellor she must file a report about it.

She let me go outside and wait while she privately talked to my mom.  Then, after about twenty minutes, my mom came out and we went to the hospital to get my mom's ear checked out because ever since she was slapped she was having ringing sounds in her right ear. My mom was sent home with some medication and when we actually arrived home, the police were there talking to my dad, then my sister, then my mom, then me.

The old police man asked me everything that happened, so I told him the same thing that I had told my counsellor. He gave me a sticker and then left.  Two weeks later my dad was sentenced to four weekends in jail.  He also had to enrol in a class that helps him control his anger and, on Tuesday nights, an alcoholic class which helps him stop drinking.

These classes went on for six years and they are still currently happening, and about four months ago he was able to move back into our house.  My counsellor asked me if I’m afraid that he might pick up a bottle and everything will be like a replay.  To be honest, I said yes. My dad is currently working and is trying to avoid alcohol all together.  His classes will end around the end of this year, and he has not hit me or my mother at all since the last argument. I really think that people can change, but only if they truly want to because if you don’t set your mind and heart to something then you're most likely not willing to change.
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