Addiction - Choice or Not
Alcoholism run rampart in my family. My dad, older and wise, had his moments and we had ours. Picking him up off the pavement after he stumbled out of his car, or grab him as he rolled down the driving way when he fell. Then there was that little black dog he swerved to avoid and ended up hitting the wall of a laundry mat or parking in the driveway blaring his horn because he wanted someone to go for a ride with him. There was the time I hid his keys, man was he MAD at me. H was worried that God would be mad at him for not going to church and I told him he would be more upset about him hurting himself or others.
There are my brothers who share that lovely gene that says, come on now, feed me, I want a drink, give me alcohol. One of my brothers had that monkey on his back and dealt with a gambling addiction as well. He went on a road trip, along the way he lost his car, I think to pay a gambling debt. The family had no idea where he was. At one he called someone, he was trying to get back home from Las Vegas. He made journeyed across country without his car, drank far to much and lost all his money. His addiction to alcohol eventually cost him his life and caused much sadness for our family especially my parents. I used to get angry with him but years later I had a clearer understanding of what addiction was.
Another brother was saddled with the addiction to alcohol and cocaine. He struggled for years, even partaking after a heart attack that took 50 % of his heart function away. This cause turbulence at home, in his carpeting business and came inches away from ruining his marriage and his relationship with his children. I don't what exact issue turned him around, that irrelevant, the bottom line is he is alcohol and drug free. He made the final decision that enough was enough and has bee clean and sober, all on his own for about 5 yrs now. It may be a little longer. Another monkey down, a few more to go. We are all very proud, especially mom, his wife and his children.
And yet here's another story. I believe that his story as well as my other two brothers were a combination of our heridity make up and trying to deal with the aftermath of unwelcome trama. Trama has an odd way of manifesting inself in our lives without us realizing. Alcohol and drugs, enviorment and circumstances plagued him for many years. Failed relationships, in and out of AA then the last straw, the edge of a nervous breakdown, he hit rock bottom and has been clean and sober, not an easy feat for 8 years now. That's an estimation cause the time line doesn't matter. He fought the monkey on his back, the demons of addictions that have controlled his life and he is now in control. We are all extremely proud of him.
But, the fact is, there is clearly a coloration between our DNA, alcohol and the addictive personality. I myself was very careful when it came to drinking, only drinking maybe once or twice a year and for that matter sometimes it was over a year before I drank. However, when I did drink I usualy got drunk. It wasn't something I had to do, at least no then. In February 2008 i tried a drink, Canadian Club & Ginger Ale, from that moment on I was hooked. This caught me by complete surprise. There was no way I had a drinking problem, I've drank on and off for years. But there is was, staring me right in the face, I was an alcoholic because I could no longer drink in safety. Of course though, I had to enjoy my new found love before i gave it up or admitted that there was a real problem. Forget the fact that each afternoon at work I had little tremors because I was craving that drink or that pretty much every night I grab two nips and diet coke that I stashed in my bedroom. Later in the night I went to my room to " read ". I did read and also had a drink or two. This continued for 8 months and began to take a toll on my children especially my youngest. I began to let my bills pile up because that particular drink became more important. I guess from the very start I knew this wasn't normal yet didn't want to admit that it was a problem because it tasted so damn good. The reality for me was when my oldest two daughters had a mini intervention telling me that if I didn't stop drinking I wouldn't be allowed to see them or their families. Initially I said all the right things, knowing that I had no intention of stopping. That was until the night of August 9th when I was met at the door by my 14 year old daughter who simply stated, you promised you would stop drinking, I'm so disappointed in your, just go to bed and don't talk to me. Those words weighted heavy on my mind.
I woke the next morning ashamed yet encouraged knowing that today I was going to make a good good decision, I would be attending my first AA meeting. I called my youngest brother later that day to tell him what was going on. He was floored, I hid it pretty well from my family. When I told him what my demon drink was that lit the fire he said, you won't believe this, whiskey in any form is all our drinks of choice. Every one in my family from our Dad down, drink of choice is whiskey. I say the word is because, we are all, even if not drinking, alcoholics. That's a disease that never goes away. That invisable monkey, demon drink is always there ready to take control if we allow it.