In my life, there were two people whom I loved dearly but were hard core alcoholics. With both of these people, I cannot begin to express the level of frustration that came with the inability to communicate with them while they were intoxicated. It also did not help that both of these people were “angry drunks”.
It is one thing to have a few drinks once in awhile, but it is entirely different when one must literally get intoxicated almost daily in order to survive. Most of us know by experience the routine of hidden bottles of booze associated with someone who is truly an alcoholic.
I will not divulge who the second person is, but I will freely say the first person was my father. Throughout the decade of the 1960’s, while I was at home attending elementary and middle school, I had to deal with my dad’s behavior on a daily basis. Although he worked for the Post Office, he spent most of his “free time” drinking regardless of the shift he was working.
My dad was a vibrant man with tons of energy. He loved to go bowling and golfing. Whether I wanted to or not, I learned at an early age how to bowl and play golf. I also learned to despise the times dad came along for he was always intoxicated. He used to have a couple of bottles of booze hidden in his golf bag and by about the 9th hole he was so drunk he couldn’t hit a good golf shot if his life depended on it.
Not only would he throw his gold clubs after a bad shot, he would yell and scream at me whenever I made a bad shot. Looking back, I am sure much of my inferiority complex that bedeviled me from 7th through 10th grade was because of the constant berating of my drunken father. It was drilled into me that I was no good at golf, bowling or even fishing. I was too young to understand it was the alcohol talking. I just knew I could not please my dad. It was through those years that I became a “mama’s boy” as my mom sought to keep me from becoming a total basket case.
When I was 16, I played in a junior golf tournament in Wichita and after the first day I was in 5th place. I played the best round of golf in my life. I was so excited for my name even appeared in the sports section of the paper. Instead of rejoicing , my dad yelled and screamed at me and told me I was a failure. The next day I shot a 104 and ended up near last place. I remember going home and weeping for hours.
Over the years, I was able to counsel and help many people with many problems but rarely could I help someone with a severe drinking problem. It is truly tragic that due to my personal experiences I felt powerless in helping someone who was addicted to drinking. In due time I learned how to help these people but it took many years of hard work to do so.
After my dad learned the Bible and devoted himself to God, he overcame his addiction and lived the last 20 years of life alcohol free. He turned into the most gentle and loving man on earth. God healed the relationship between he and I and for many years we were closer than one could imagine. For many years I would consider my dad my best friend in life.
Thank you for allowing me to share this. I don’t know fully why I was inspired to write this, but I have ot assume it was for someone out there who has given up home a loved one will ever change. Always remember that through diligent prayer and extreme patience, many times God is able to break through and turn around someone’s life. The relationship between my dad and I bears this out.