Before I begin today’s blog I would like to put in a disclaimer. Some of you may read this blog, or part of it, and click off angrily and never read another one. Maybe some who know me in person won’t want to speak to me again. Others will have strong opinions and vehemently disagree with me. Others will agree with every word I say because this is the life they are living. I just wanted to share some of my observations on the subject but by no means do I want to insult, accuse or condemn anyone. Having said that….here goes.
I’ve been reading a book this week that is a work of fiction. In the book the main character is a seventeen year old girl. Her mom was a single parent who died of an overdose of drugs and alcohol. The girl then goes to live with her grandfather, whom she had never met. As the plot unfolds we learn more about her life. She had worked from the age of twelve on to help support herself and her mom as her mother was often out of work due to her issues with alcohol.
Many nights rather than have her mom tucking her in, she was putting her mother to bed because she was passed out on the couch. Later, as she comes to know her grandfather he tells her that at one point in his life he had also had a problem with alcohol, as had his father before him. He is still tormented by the fact that he passed this along to his only child.
Y’all I know this was fiction. But as I read this book I found myself getting really angry. Not angry at people but angry at this enemy that is as old as time. Angry for all the families that have been affected and all the lives that have been ruined. Angry for the lives that have been lost and the things that never came to be because of it.
Although this character was fictional, this kind of scenario plays out every day in our country and many other countries, I’m sure. And often in worse ways. Domestic abuse, children left alone in cars outside of bars, children who carry on the family dysfunction. Families who are forced to keep secrets because they don’t want friends and neighbors to know what is going on in their lives.
If we were to be in a large audience and asked for a show of hands of those who had someone in their family or close friends effected by alcohol I think we would be stunned by how many people would raise their hands.
Often this curse is carried down through generations. Alcohol was an issue in my house growing up and we had relatives on both sides of my family who had problems. I saw first hand the effect of it. I also lost a cousin to a drunk driver so it affected my family in that way also.
My family was not alone. Years later I found out there were other extended family members with problems in their homes. There were also friends who had problems in their homes that they never talked about. Many times you could see these issues firsthand at parties or family gatherings. Or with neighbors where it was sometimes quite evident. Frightening for children especially.
I realize many of you may be responsible drinkers. You have a beer to relax after a hard day. Or it’s your culture to drink wine with meals. You would never think to get in a car and drive when you had too much to drink. Maybe this blog isn’t for you. Maybe you have never had anyone in your life with alcohol problems.
But what if your friends do? Maybe they drink with you because they see its not a problem in your life, but it might be in theirs. Maybe its something they struggle with when no one is watching. Maybe your children will continue your traditions but in their case circumstances in their lives may cause them to go down that road. Something to think about.
Noah was the first person mentioned in the Bible who planted a vineyard (Genesis 9:20-25). And he got drunk and was naked in his tent. Two of his sons covered his nakedness while one son saw him naked. Whatever happened with that son that day it caused Noah to curse his son’s family line. Alcoholism is still a curse in family lines today.
I knew alcoholism went back at least two generations in my family. I recently found out this was an issue even at least one more generation further back with one of my great grandparents. Who knows how many generations ago this curse started in my family? It’s not something people kept a record of.
Those roots of bitterness that I spoke of in my blog the other day, could it not be that many of these roots can spring up in children growing up in these situations? And would that not then effect the way that they react to others? And the way that they parent their families when they have them?
How many more generations do we want to have go through these things? How many more families will be split apart? How many more children with an absentee parent or perhaps a parent who is there physically but is emotionally unavailable? When will we decide enough is enough?
It’s heartbreaking to think there are some who are living right now in those kind of situations, and many more who are still trying to overcome the years they spent watching a loved one spiral down the drain.
I don’t expect my blog to change society. Alcohol is so ingrained in our culture today that only the Lord could bring about that kind of change. But maybe somewhere, someday if it causes one person to question themselves before they take that next drink its worth it. Maybe the person who has questioned themselves wondering if they drink too much. Or the one who has had loved ones tell them they are concerned with their drinking. Maybe the one who has noticed the look on their child’s face when they needed them, but instead of being there for them you yelled at or ignored them because you were busy drinking.
I’m sure there aren’t many people who set out to be alcoholics. No one gets up in the morning with the goal of alienating their loved ones or losing respect among their colleagues or friends. I doubt many purposely set out to cause heartache to their families.
Alcohol is a sneaky enemy. It starts out as your friend. So warm and fuzzy. A way to have fun and relax. But for some, with the stresses of life or perhaps genetic disposition it turns into something so much more. Something you think you can’t live without. Something that controls your whole life.
If any of this has rung a bell with you, please. Get help. As someone who decades after the fact still deals with some of these scars in my soul, I can tell you it’s not worth it. Nothing is worth the pain you may cause to those who love you.
If this blog has in any way offended any of you, my apologies. It was a difficult blog to write. I so often think it would be nice to write a lighthearted, helpful blog. But this is what poured out. Maybe you were meant to read this today. Just a thought.