Tag Archives: addiction

Family life, not meant for all? Part 3

Some people are clearly unmoved by children’s sentiments and if you ask me, it’s pretty unwise of a grown up to take offence when a child makes an innocent comment. Dad’s like that. He forgets that it’s commonly said, ‘if someone wants a really genuine answer or opinion on something, they should try picking a child’s mind’. They are honest, because they see the world through pure eyes; their emotions haven’t been coloured by biases yet.

They don’t see colour, or different religions… It’s no wonder Jesus said, that anyone who wants to get to heaven should be like a child. That said, dad didn’t dig deep into his conscience to see where he was erring as a parent. Instead, he felt comfortable telling himself all these years that my small sis was at fault for telling mom we should find a new dad.

There’s also a grudge he harbours against me because years ago, when I was only two years old, I ‘rejected’ him. As it is, my parents had parted ways when I was about six months old. Dad’s mom had been pressuring him to leave mom and find a girl from a wealthy family and somehow he had heeded to his mom’s advice.

For more than a year they were separated, so while I was growing up, I didn’t know dad. Eventually, he decided to get back with mom and when he came for us, I didn’t recognise him. So I ran. That precisely, was what he accuses me off. That I ran away from him, instead of running into his embrace. Now that I have an idea of how dad’s mind works, I try not to let that incident bother me.

When Saturday came, he left. I’m not sure whether he left for his brother’s, or he travelled back to his other house so he could prepare for work. Given that he’d gone back on a Saturday, it wasn’t hard to tell he couldn’t stand our presence.

Midweek, he sent mom some money. He didn’t call though. After assessing the situation, I told mom it would be better if she gave him back the keys; not because he deserved it, but because we should let nature take its course. We have tried our best. As it is, we can’t force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. If ever he changes for the better, hopefully he will, it will have to come from his heart. In the meantime we’ll just leave everything to God.

Earlier today, mom gave him back the keys. He was ecstatic. He even said he was going to church. He asked me if I needed a lift and I told him I’d already attended mass. He left. However, I wasn’t fully convinced he’d gone to church because the mass he purported to attend was half way through and the other would be starting in an hour’s time. I figured time would tell.

About two hours later, he came back. Mom asked him how mass was and he said he wasn’t from church. I felt disappointed he hadn’t been there but I also appreciated that he didn’t lie about it. Lately he’s become a pathological liar; guess that’s a characteristic of people getting into an advanced stage of drug addiction. His alcohol breath was a clear indication of where he’d been.

Five minutes later, he left again. Turns out he’d only come back for more money. As my big sis was on her way to get some items from some nearby supermarket, he offered to give her a lift and as she had spent the entire night up, working on a client’s research-related report, she just agreed.

While he was driving, he told her he was going to sell the car because he couldn’t use it when he wanted to see his mother. That admission rubbed me off the wrong way. I know, while he’s so fond of his mother, I can’t say the same of us. He treats us like we’re an obstacle; the greatest setback in his life.

A few days ago, I just found myself wondering why God would give an irresponsible man such as him a family to take care of, yet he seems so detached. As a brother and son, he may have been perfect but the way I see it, he just wasn’t cut out for married life. He seems to have picked the wrong vocation because as a husband and father he’s performed so poorly.

The only thing that gives me hope is the fact that God took a chance on him.  So maybe there’s something worth saving in him after all. Only time will tell.

Nothing good comes from drinking

risque dance moves

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.

Love you beer… The confrontation: Part 2

alcoholism

If something unsettles you, it’s better to address it and just get done with it, because waiting for it to happen is much worse… That’s what I was thinking the entire time I was watching dad. He’s really not the forgiving/forgetting type. Even if he doesn’t confront someone for something they did, he will eventually. I was waiting for the façade to come down; for him to finally confront me, problem is, I didn’t know how long it would take before he got tired of pretending everything was hunky-dory.

Two and a half hours later, he came back, visibly drunk. Mom had already gone to bed. He went straight to the bedroom. He didn’t ask for food, and no one asked if he was hungry. When he is drunk we prefer to let him be because talking to him would be opening sluice-gates to incessant carping. The night was too serene to ruin it with drunken ramblings.

Relieved that he was safely home, my sisters and I sat down to watch the fifth season of the vampire diaries. At eleven forty five, almost an hour later, dad walked into the living room and without a word he left the house.

At around two in the morning, my sisters went to bed and shortly after, mom woke up. She was stressed dad was out that late. Seeming distraught, she asked what time he had left. Seeing her so troubled reminded me what had led me to text dad on Tuesday morning; when he starts drinking, he can’t seem to stop, until he runs out of money.

By the time I went to bed at four, my old man was nowhere in sight. After saying my night prayers, I went to check on mom and found she had already gone to bed. Empathizing with her, I switched the lights off and went to bed.

Sunday morning, my alarm went off at seven forty five, and though I was sleepy, I knew I had to wake up to prep for church; however, sleep overpowered me and I drifted back into slumber, until my small sister came to wake me up at eight thirty. I didn’t have much time to prepare so I got up, prayed and got out of bed.

I didn’t know what time dad had come but my big sister told me he’d come in the morning. I wasn’t surprised; that seems to be something he is doing a lot lately. Mom had already left for the mid-morning mass, my big sister wanted to sleep in after a gruelling week interning and attending classes, and dad didn’t pick up when I tried calling him; he was in a deep sleep.

I took the car keys and asked my big sister to tell him I took the car. I knew he wouldn’t be too pleased but seeing as he couldn’t drive, I knew it was a necessary risk as my small sister and I were already getting late for church.

When we got back home later in the afternoon, dad had just woken up. He didn’t complain I had taken the car; instead he just greeted us, and left, again. He came back at around seven in the evening, took some more money and left again. He showed up two hours later, looking pretty much at ease.

Mom and I left to go sign in at the gate. It’s a security measure taken to keep tabs on all residents/non-residents, who come into the estate. When I drove in earlier, I hadn’t signed in because I had thought dad would, but then he didn’t. After signing in, we walked back to the house, and found loud music playing.

Other than the fact that it’s against estate policy, it was just too loud. I gestured to my dad, to turn the volume down.

“It’s too loud?” He shouted.

I nodded, and he acquiescently turned it down. A while later, he rose and left for the bedroom. Minutes later, he walked back to the living room, headed for the main door. Mom couldn’t take it anymore. She walked to him and asked him, evidently shocked, “You’re leaving again, at this time?”

“I’m not talking to you, unless you want us to fight,” he barked.

“Just tell us if there’s someone you can’t stand in this house. You’ve been drinking since you came. You spent the whole night out, and now you want to leave again.”

“I was listening to music and you said it was too loud, so now I’m leaving.” He threatened to hit her, but then mom told him if he dared she would call the cops on him. It wouldn’t be his first time to spend the night behind bars; eight year ago, he was at it, disrupting peace in the house when mom called the police and they took him away.

When the police came in that night I was at the verge of hitting him on the head with a soda bottle, in defence. I shudder at the thought of what could have happened had the police not showed up in time. It’s a dreadful night I try to forget.

Just like that, everything turned chaotic, everyone talking at the top of their voices, and finally dad managed to get whatever had been troubling him off his chest.

“You started this,” he yelled at me. “You are your mother’s accomplice. Don’t send me those silly texts again.”

“You need to get help dad,” I shouted. “You have a drinking problem.”

“I’ve had it with you,” he snarled.

Love you beer… The confrontation: Part 1

alcoholism 2

After texting dad, asking him to reconsider his love for beer, we didn’t get to talk and he never texted back. In preparation for his arrival, I wrote down a short essay, ‘Why I think you might have a drinking problem’, listing all the things he does that have led me to the conclusion he is an alcoholic, and furthermore attaching some receipt he’d drunkenly left lying around to support my findings.

It might sound extreme that I went to such an extent but I figured if he started accusing me of ‘calling him an alcoholic’, even though I hadn’t said it like that, he wouldn’t give me a chance to explain. On the other hand I also figured, if he didn’t rip the papers in anger, curiosity would get him to read them.

He had already asked mom to tell me to stop sending him silly texts, so I sought of had an inkling what mood he was in. I hoped to convince him my complaints weren’t just based on hearsay or things I had just concocted.

He was supposed to come home Friday evening but instead, he texted mom around eight at night, telling her he was in bed; he wasn’t coming. I know he gets lonely out there because he goes for a whole week without seeing us but somehow, as much as I empathized with him, I felt relieved he wasn’t coming.

It’s been a while since he failed to come home on weekend. The only time he doesn’t come is when he has so much work he needs to finish up in the office, especially after being on leave. So when mom told me he wasn’t coming, I imagined it had something to do with the text.

Based on previous incidents, I assumed it had gone two ways: either he had felt so ashamed that I had candidly pointed out he had a drinking problem and would try to make up for his shortcomings, or he had gotten so furious and would spend each minute of his time home threatening to snap my neck.

Well, I’m not sure he is capable of actually causing me such physical harm but nowadays there’s no telling what he can/can’t do when he’s under the influence. When the beer goes to his head he does crazy things. I hadn’t seen him since I texted him that Tuesday morning, but I knew things wouldn’t be all rainbows and unicorns when he came.

alcoholism 3

Saturday afternoon, my small sister told my big sister and me dad had called mom; he was on his way, coming home. I had imagined he would be coming the following weekend. Somehow I felt disappointed. The uncertainty made me tense up for a while, but then I reminded myself why I had sent him that text in the first place; he’s drinking a lot, and someone had to tell him.

While we were waiting for him, my big sister got a call from a friend; a lecturer she had grown to like had been MIA for a while. Reason being that he had been involved in an accident and no one knew of his whereabouts. Distressed, she called him up but his phone was off. That only had her more worried.

It was while I was comforting her, telling her not to worry and all, that dad came. When I opened the door, I didn’t know whether to smile or remain poker faced, but when I extended my hand, he pulled me and hugged me.

That, I had seen coming.

Surprised, I hugged him back. He had beer on his breath, so I assumed he had been drinking before he got home. But I didn’t care; he already knew what I felt about him binge-drinking, and that’s all that really mattered. My big sister was still feeling down and he tried finding out what was wrong with her, though she remained mum. He went straight to the bedroom and came out a few minutes later, before leaving again.

He came back almost two hours later with mom and left again right after. I couldn’t quite figure if he was happy or mad, though he seemed unperturbed; however, I knew there was a storm brewing underneath his cool exterior. It wouldn’t be long before he eventually flipped his lid…

Love you beer, till death…

i love my beer

If we had the power to turn lifeless things like beer into fully functional living things, I bet for so many people it would be a case of ‘till death do us part’.

There’s this day I was listening to the radio and the presenter was light-heartedly making the comparisons between a woman and a beer: it won’t complain when you touch another beer;

It won’t ask where you’ve been or who you’ve been with when you come home late.

You can take it anytime because it won’t give you excuses like, “It’s that time of the month.”

It won’t complain about you leaving the toilet seat up.

Beer doesn’t ask for commitment and won’t assume you’re in a relationship just because you had your way with it once.

You’re always assured you were the first one to have it.

When you go to a bar you know you can always pick up another beer and the one at home won’t complain if you go back with beer on your breath.

Beer doesn’t throw tantrums atleast once every month

It won’t replace you with dildos/vibrators and stuff…

The list was quite long but basically in a man’s perspective, a beer is way better than a woman. In a way, given all the things women are ‘accused’ of, beer would indeed seem better than a woman. However, nothing good comes easy.

love my beer

These same men who are 100% pro-beer forget the simple facts:

That a beer doesn’t prepare warm meals for the man, neither does it bestow him with the priceless gift of fatherhood. It doesn’t clean the house, do laundry or handle uncontrollable kids and that is why it will never get a headache.

In any case, it destroys what one has struggled so hard to build; relationships, a home and it indirectly demands for commitment by getting one into a defenceless addict, turning one into a pathological liar.

At the end of the day, if a man overindulges in the vice, not even the women he thinks so lowly of will want anything to do with him. There are many women who complain their husbands can’t ‘rise to the occasion’ because long-term love for the bottle tampered with their libido.

Ask my old man what kind of trouble he’s been getting into since he became best buddies with the bottle. I never thought he could ever tell a lie, but nowadays he breathes lies, spends nights out in bars, even on weekdays, drinks whatever little money he gets his hands on, picks fights with just about anyone and I have a feeling he has lost all respect among his peers.

The life he is leading now, if you ask me, is that downward spiral to self-destruction. He doesn’t want to admit that he is an addict and needs to get help. The last time I pointed the issue out, about three years ago, he got so pissed and threatened to snap my neck. After months of dread I finally overcame the fear and now I don’t really feel like I need to run for cover whenever I find myself in the same room with him.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to care about the thin ice he’s treading on. This past Monday he told mom he was on his way home (he works in a different town and only comes every weekend). By 1am Tuesday morning he still hadn’t arrived. Mom obviously started freaking out, imagining the worst. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I just took my phone and sent him an 11 pages text. It was long, but given that there’s so much I wanted to tell him, the characters didn’t even feel enough. He came home almost thirty minutes later but we didn’t talk. There was nothing infuriating in the text as I had tried to make it as sweet as possible but I knew he would get mad regardless .The ‘alcohol’ topic is one we don’t discuss freely for fear of getting him all disconcerted.

He went back to work Tuesday morning, and we still didn’t talk. Last night he called mom and after the usual ‘howdy’, he started complaining about the ‘silly’ text I sent him. Mom wasn’t in the mood to argue, so she just disconnected…

Dad’s coming home tomorrow God willing, and I’m only imagining what kind of hell he’ll raise because I ‘insulted’ him. When mom told me what dad was saying, I just told her, “I want to be in his good books, but if it means I’ll have to lie or keep the truth from him to get his love, then I don’t want it. If he doesn’t want me telling him things he doesn’t want to hear, then he should change his behaviour because I only tell him what I see.”

She didn’t say much, she just nodded in agreement.

Women might not be everything men want them to be, but then neither is beer. Everything, no matter how good it is, if taken in large amounts could be harmful. I have watched dad become an entirely different person because of the bottle.

Personally I love wine, but everytime I think of indulging, I remember what alcohol has done to my family and I get the ‘skull danger sign’ in my head… ‘Drink at your own risk’.