I didn’t know my father was an alcoholic until someone stood me in front of the tower of empties stacked across one wall and to the ceiling in my father’s living room. Alcohol was an integral part of my life and I thought it was normal. I was about 15 years old and I knew my dad was an awful human being but I didn’t clue into the destructive force of the alcohol until someone showed me the pile of empties I had lived with all my life and explained that there was this thing call alcoholism.
I stopped consuming drugs and alcohol two years after that. I was afraid of becoming my father. I got drunk a few times in university but each time I drank the fear of being like my father crept into my heart. I stopped drinking again. I didn’t drink again for several years. I now enjoy a find glass of wine with dinner or a cider on a hot summer’s day. I have learned I can enjoy wine with dinner and not be my father.
Alcoholism: Fact and Fiction
Fiction: You only have a problem with alcohol if you are drunk all the time.
Fact: My father held a full-time job teaching children. He was functional. Alcohol gave him permission to be cruel and violent but it didn’t stop him teaching or running the family farm.
Fiction: Alcoholics only hurt themselves.
Fact: My father hurt himself by drinking. It also stopped him from having healthy relationships with others. It interfered with his ability to be a loving, kind father with appropriate parenting skills. It also help him hide from taking responsibility for hurting others. He made me my first drink; taught me how to be hateful. It has taken many years for me to undo the harm he inflicted on me. Plus, it tore apart our family and I will always feel a sadness around not having a loving family around me.
If you find you need a drink to get you through the day. If you find you need a drink to unwind. If you find you need a drink to get you through a social event or a family gathering. If you reach for a bottle to soothe, comfort or deal with life, ask yourself what better solutions you can find. And ask for help.