Yes, it is!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Alcoholism Is a Terrible Disease

My heart is hurting tonight. What was supposed to be a fun gathering with family members, many of us from many states away, ended in disaster. The law even had to get involved. I really, REALLY wish certain of these family members, much loved by me, would get the help they desperately need.  This horrible disease has run rampant through generations of my family and it needs to stop. I determined long ago that it would stop with my little family and that my own children will continue when they have their own families. My hope is that my loved ones will finally realize this for their own families.

Some of my friends know that I grew up in an alcoholic and abusive home. There were times during my own childhood that I feared for my own life, wondering if I would even survive through childhood. There were situations that I was witness to that no child should ever experience.  As I became an adult, I developed a fearful view of alcohol, a view that potentially saved me from becoming an alcoholic. As many of us know, oftentimes, children from alcoholic homes continue that trend when they become teenagers and/or adults. I was so fearful of anything related to alcohol. Even the smell of beer would make me fearful and cause terrible anxiety. I sort of compare my response to the fight or flight syndrome. Even when I learned to be a responsible consumer of alcoholic drinks, I still could not tolerate the smell of beer. Being around others who drank more than a can of beer made me very uncomfortable.  To this day, I don't allow beer to be kept in my home. I don't know why being around and consuming other alcohol drinks doesn't bother me as much. Being around the beer really bothers me. That was the drink of choice in my home.

I know firsthand how alcoholism affects children. My children would never be witness to that. Or, at least, it was my intention to protect my children from witnessing the affects of that horrible disease. Unfortunately, my children got to witness tonight exactly what happens when people drink too much. Tempers started flying, horrible words were being hurled, it even started to become physical. I immediately told my kids to gather their things and go to the van. I told my young niece and her brother to wait by their Nana's car. Then I told my disabled cousin that I would be the one taking her home. My husband helped me get her and the wheelchair loaded into the van and we took her to her home.

What happened tonight brought back a lot of memories. It brought back feelings of shame, worthlessness, even guilt.  It makes me want to cry. I love these family members so much but I hate to see them following the same pattern that our ancestors followed. I hate that their own children are growing up with alcohol fueled parents.  I hate it. Hate. It!  My husband already knew how messed up my family is and now he knows even more. It's embarrassing, really.  After we took my disabled cousin home, my kids asked some questions about what they saw. Jackie seems to understand but Ben, being just 8 years old, doesn't quite understand, yet.

Alcoholism destroys! It destroys families. It destroys relationships. It can contribute to job loss, loss of so much. It destroys so much. Worst of all, alcoholism can kill. I've been hit by a drunk driver and I've been run off the road more than once by drunk drivers. As a child, I've been a passenger of a drunk driver. Thankfully, I survived all that. Unfortunately, too many people are killed by drunk drivers. My worst fear right now is that one of my family members will be that drunk driver one day. It's that bad. Just keeping it real and honest.  Because my heart is hurting and I feel at a loss about what to do to help my family members.