Many people drink alcohol. For some, it is fine. For others, not so much. Let me begin by saying I have no problem with recreational drinking. As long as you are responsible about it.
However, there are some who can not be responsible. They set out with the intention of drinking only one. But they lack the willpower to stop after one. They pick up another, and then another. At some point they start to slur their words and become so off balance that they can’t walk. Yet they still don’t realize they are drunk.
Drunken people often assume one of two personalities. They either become so mellow and calm that they are relaxed and overly peaceful and agreeable, or they become combative and belligerent. I’ve never known either to be a good fit for a family.
An overly peaceful and agreeable drunk has a tendency to not remember what they agreed to the next day. I have seen them spend so much money agreeing to something that the family must go without necessities for months. They go broke due to one bender. I have even see single people agree to marry people they hardly know because they were drunk. Or if they are married, allow someone of the opposite sex to talk them into a one nighter that is inevitably discovered by the spouse, thus destroying a family.
If they are belligerent and combative they too have a whole slew of issues that can destroy a family. They put loved ones down when they are drunk. Or worse the become physically abusive. They will argue with anyone because they are never wrong and they are invincible.
Either way, when an alcoholic gets drunk they forget about everything but themselves and their alcohol. I once knew a man who had his kids for the weekend (he and his wife were separated) and he was driving around while he was drinking with his small children in the car. A family friend followed him hoping he would stop so he could hopefully get his keys or the kids so that they would be safe. The father pulled into his driveway, opened the car door, let his kids out, and before the friend could even get out of his truck the father sat back down and passed out.
It was well after dark. If the friend hasn’t showed up when he had any number of things could have happened to those kids. While separated the man and his wife had been trying to work things out for the sake of their family. After this incident however, the wife could not in good faith continue with the marriage. So for the sake of her daughters she divorced her husband. Yet another family destroyed by alcoholism.
Alcoholism destroys families in other ways too. Like when a drunk driver hits someone. Whether that someone is in a vehicle or walking. The victim can end up paralyzed, brain damaged, or dead. No matter which, their family is forever changed. Or what if the drunk driver is the one who is severely injured or dead? While they were the person in the wrong their family is still forever changed.
Let me be absolutely clear, I do drink occasionally. But I am responsible. I may have one or two drinks a year and I never drive after I have had a drink. Even one drink can affect your ability to drive. When I do drink I don’t drink fast. I sip my drink so that I don’t finish it and order another and then another. And, I think most importantly, I am informed. I know that alcoholism can run in the family. I do have an uncle who is an alcoholic so I am overly careful when I do decide to drink. I am also married to a recovering alcoholic. He has been sober for six years. I know first hand the damage alcoholism can do to a family.
If you are, or think you may be an alcoholic please get help. Talk to your doctor, clergy, or a family member or friend who you trust. Attend an AA meeting and ask them where you can get the help you need. It may save your life.
If you are a family member of an alcoholic please know you are not alone. Know also, you don’t have to do this alone. There are others of us out there. If you need to talk you can email me. I will listen and offer any advice I can. If I don’t have an answer I WILL dig until I have one. There is also an amazingly helpful group out there called ALANON. Google them. I promise you will be glad you did.
Until next time… live positively Wright!