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A life in the Drunk Tank


 I recently read a blog that caused me to think deeply. I think that’s why I love blogging on WordPress as much as I do. I have come to meet many interesting people with very thought provoking blogs. This blog in particular made me think about the habits we acquire and nurture through the years. Sadly the ones we tend to nurture and feed the most are usually the bad ones like drug abuse and alcohol consumption.
So here I am thinking about what causes us to in essence mutilate our bodies from the inside out. There are many people who look great on the outside yet on the inside have been consumed by treacherous diseases with decisive endings. People who have begun innocently enough with either drinking socially, medicating themselves due to injury or just trying that weed for fun. I’m sure none of these people decided right there and then to be addicts. I believe life circumstances plus the feeling of freedom derived from substance drove them there.
I will tell you my first hand experience with substance abuse, you tell me what you think after.
I happened to be with a person who was addicted to alcohol for a very long time. He seems to be recovering now but for a very long time I was certain this person would die from his addiction. I. Still not sure on that front I just hope I am. I was there through the whole progression of this disease and I can certainly tell you that the person I first met before it took hold was not the person I knew at the beginning.
This person was a hard-working, fun-loving and innocent individual. He was very young and had great ambition to be great and do great things. What happened? I think life happened. I also think genetics and influence happened. Lack of family love and unity also happened and I think that had a great deal to do with his downfall.
Never in a million years did I ever believe the person I met would develop into someone suffering of alcoholism. Yes it’s true every time I visited his home his dad was drinking or drunk. Yes his brother was evidently a drunk as well but never did I think he would follow such wretched footsteps.
He was too smart. He wanted to get out, leave the area and the influence behind him and do great things. He went to the armed forces, graduated college with a 4.0 and his future shone like a star in the dark. Still, as I got to know him I realized he was like many of us a fractured soul. He told me once laughing that he knew that his mother didn’t love him. His grandma was all he had as a child, the only way he knew what love was but she had died when he was 14 leaving him lost. He was one of five children and now he felt he had to do it alone.
I tried to make sure he knew he had someone but I don’t think it ever really sunk in.
The progression was slow at first, a couple of beers with friends, a few at a family barbecue or a party. Two beers would do it at the beginning. The feeling of euphoria was accomplished lightly at first. Then there comes a time when you notice there are three to four beers on the table and it’s not just at parties anymore, now it’s for a movie while sitting on the couch and a few after work just because I’ve had a hard day. And so it begins. Suddenly he begins to feel better when he’s drinking Because it beats feeling any pain. It beats having to feel and deal with what’s really going on inside. It beats having to confront the daemons of a failing relationship. And so it continues. You try confronting them but they never have a problem. The person trying to save them is often depicted as the crazy one. That genie in the bottle is powerful and quite convincing so they make-believe they can stop, and they do, for a few days just to prove the concerned party wrong. But you’re not wrong.
Then a tragedy befalls them, a parent dies and the bottle becomes the consoling friend. I had lost the battle before I even knew I was in one. For fourteen years I was in one. Married to a disease I could not cure. Beside the ghost of a person I once swore I knew.
This disease tore me as much as anything could. Even the pain of being on dialysis now is no comparison to being involved in such a tragedy. Seeing my children in this destruction killed my soul in irrevocable ways to the point where anyone drinking brings me to panic. There was nothing to do but leave, let it go for the health of those who depended on me most as well as myself.
There is nothing like seeing someone deteriorate before your eyes. To see a transformation so complete as to make you certain you have never met that person before.
To this day I fear my sons drinking. It would kill me to see my children befall the tragedy their dad has gone through.
There were, I think many circumstances that drove this vehicle in his life but I also know that we have the strength to say no, to refuse to repeat the cycle. Perhaps I am being naive to some yet I do know this. I have suffered much and never did I think of nullifying my pain. Perhaps it’s as simple as some of us are stronger than others. That I don’t know. What I do know is that I pray for everyone suffering this whether they are the substance abuser or the one looking from the outside in for we deal with it just as deeply. I don’t know your pain or your sorrow. I only ask that if you love someone, that you give them a chance at life.
That you give yourself the same. You are worth the fight.