Alcoholism or any other type of drug addiction doesn’t just affect the person who partakes of the drug, but other members of the family. The last time I had an argument with dad, he said he’d been drinking for the last thirty years. Long before my sisters and I were born. “It’s my money,” he’d argued.
Ever since that day, I leave the room whenever he starts fighting. It had not hit me, until my friend Susan pointed it out, that my parents are both adults and because of that I should just let them handle their own issues. It felt like a hard truth, but nowadays I’m always reminding myself that, whenever I find myself compelled to intervene.
Not arguing with dad takes lots of strength. He says very hurtful stuff that tempts one to give him a piece of their mind. Nonetheless, I always bite my tongue when I feel the urge to talk back. I will myself to forget the fact that he drinks more than his age permits and that he talks a lot of crap.
Last Friday when he came home from work (he comes home on weekends then leaves early Monday morning), he arrived around seven in the evening and went straight to the bedroom to drop his stuff off then left minutes later. My big sister tried convincing him to stay so we could catch up but he wouldn’t hear any of that.
He came home around four in the morning and didn’t go to sleep. At around five in the morning I heard him tell mom he was taking the car to the carwash. I imagined he was just making some lame excuse so he could go out drinking again. I’m not sure if he went or not because I drifted into slumber.
In the afternoon he emerged from the bedroom and he passed by the kitchen, where I was and said hi. Judging by how he was dressed I assumed he was leaving. I didn’t even know he was in the house. He looked so sleepy, drunk and worn out. I doubt he had slept.
“Are you leaving?” I asked.
“Yes,” he nodded, slipping into the shoes he had left near the door when he came in. Right then, my small sister came.
“You look so tired,” she noted.
“I am,” dad affirmed. “I didn’t sleep.”
“Then go sleep,” I suggested nicely.
“I don’t sleep.”
“You’re only exhausting yourself. It’s your body you are hurting.”
“Even where I stay, I don’t sleep.”
I didn’t want to argue with him, so I just went back to the kitchen. When mom came home in the evening she told us dad had gone to visit his elder brother. I wondered why he would go to his brother’s without letting us know, but then I was relieved because the entire time I thought he was somewhere in a bar drinking his wits away.
At around ten at night he came home. He didn’t appear drunk but I could tell he wasn’t sober either. When he came in he gave me his wallet, watch and car keys to take to take to their bedroom and he just crashed on the couch.
It was my small sister’s day to cook, but since she didn’t want to talk to dad she told me to ask him if he wanted anything. He didn’t say a word; he only waved his hand without looking my way. Relatively, I would term that polite. Normally he just barks rudely. I bet that is why my sister didn’t want to ask him.
He seemed bored. We didn’t know what to think as he’d just come from his brother’s and he wasn’t saying how his day was. We let him be. About an hour later he rose and went to bed. Mom said goodnight and followed him.
The next day he didn’t offer to tell us what had happened at his brother’s place, so we didn’t ask. With dad it’s kinda hard to tell what ticks him off, especially at times like that. Monday morning he didn’t go back to work as he had some financial issues to sort out; but when he came home late at night he started fighting. I was tired after a long day running errands, so I got up and went to bed.
Tuesday he left in the morning and came home again at night. Shortly before he came in, mom got a call from her sister-in-law (dad’s brother’s wife). I couldn’t get what she was saying but judging from mom’s dull responses I deduced it wasn’t the usual niceties they exchange.
When she hang up my sisters and I were only too eager to ask what she was saying. Turns out she-my aunt-was mad at dad for two main reasons: One, he had made her husband-dad’s brother- who is a recovering alcoholic drink. And because of that he had a very bad night.
Since my uncle has reached a point where his body can’t stand alcohol he throws up in his sleep and that makes it dangerous as he could choke to death. My aunt had nothing good to say about dad. Two, when dad started dancing he held her inappropriately, in her husband’s presence and for that she felt very disrespected.
About a fortnight ago dad insisted on taking us to see this new joint in town and since we were on our way home, we agreed, thinking it would only take a few minutes. Two bottles later and he was already hitting the dance floor.
Some other lady, who I assumed was already drunk, came and started making some risqué dance moves, trying to rub her groin against dad’s, but thankfully he pushed her away politely. I don’t know if it was because he knew we were watching but I was relieved.
I imagined how awful mom must have felt. If dad took those club moves to my uncle’s, I understand why my aunt felt disrespected.