Usually I would write about my dad during the month of October and for some reason I never did. The story isn’t likely to change.
My dad was for most of the time I knew him an alcoholic who had serious high blood pressure issues, with a bad temper, and he ballooned in weight during the time I knew him. My dad just couldn’t stop drinking and unfortunately during my high school years he had a severe stroke that claimed his life. Primarily he just proved unwilling and on his own unable to really fight his demons.
My mother and I got to talking about him recently. She told her usual stories of how she knows he’d be drinking later. For example, he’d get really quiet and another thing he didn’t want to eat anything if he was in the mood to drink. Then she’d tell me about the crazy statements he’d like to make.
For example, on his high blood pressure medication “I don’t want to be taking medication the rest of my life”. When she found out that he took a drink after several months of attempting to go cold turkey “You don’t tell me what to do”. Both of those statements have me wondering if it was the man himself talking or was it the addiction?
I knew that my dad even when sober could be stubborn. Perhaps it was the man, but then I also realize he had a drinking problem and thus it could be his addiction talking. I’m somewhat glad that I could never truly understand addiction to understand the choices that he had made during the course of his life. I can only speculate and had on this blog why he turned to the bottle.
In light of his comment with regards to taking medication the rest of his life I thought about how would Hollywood portray this. I often imagine a man with a Rx bottle in one hand and the booze in the other. He’s looking at both unsure of what choice he’s going to make and is literally shaking at the choices. He knows he needs to take his medication, however, he wants alcohol yet he knows he can’t do both. This is the ultimate internal conflict.
In real life I know what choice he made and even to this day, there are still a few Rx bottles in our medicine cabinet for him. The medicine he failed to finish due to his alcoholism. A direct example of what happens when an addiction takes hold of someone and it costs them their life.
I learned more about my father’s family history in discussing this. My grandfather – he died before I was born – stayed away from alcohol because of his dad. And my dad took up his late grandfather’s bad habit (and of course I only speculate that it might’ve had something to do with his parents splitting when he was young).
Either way if my dad had really made a devoted effort to stop drinking or prove his determination to do so who knows what the future could’ve held. Perhaps he’d be sitting around retired especially if he had a pension coming from his time with the school district. Perhaps he would never have gained the weight he had. Perhaps my own life would be significantly different today.
Unfortunately these are things we’ll just never know today…